13 July 2015 | Approved: 10 August 2015
Mayor Joli McCathran called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:33 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Georgette Cole, Alison Faupel, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Bud O’Connor and Greg Silber. Also present were Planning Commission Chair Peter Nagrod, Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts, residents John Hutchinson, Vernon King, Barbara Raimondo and property owner Dennis Kane.
Approval of Agenda
The agenda was approved by general consensus.
John Hutchinson (319 Grove) inquired about the status of the proposed bike path connection. Mayor McCathran stated a meeting with representatives from the Town, the County and the Parks Department is scheduled for July 27th at Noon. The purpose is informational. The place is TBD. Steve Werts and Peter Nagrod will also attend this meeting.
Vernon King (108 Pine) expressed his deep concern and frustration with speeding in Town. He went on to say the signage means nothing and the offenders are residents and non-residents alike. In his opinion the situation is very dangerous. He urged to Mayor and Council to ask for enforcement from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). There was a discussion about the following:
- Better enforcement by MCPD
- Pruning to make signs more visible
- Using available technology such as portable radar
- Blocking off the road
- Reviewing recent recommendations from the traffic committee to see if these can be mined for further action
- Town will to solve the problem
Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts presented his Maryland Municipal League Employee of the Year plaque to the Mayor for display in the Council Room.
Approval of Minutes
Georgette Cole moved to approve the minutes from the June 8, 2015 meeting of the Town Council. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. The minutes were approved as amended. Vote: 6-0.
Permanent Easement Application – 409 5th Avenue – Status report
John McClelland reported the Planning Commission sent this application to the Town Council for action. The Commission agreed the Town attorney should write the easement agreement and decide if a metes and bounds document should be included. Mayor McCathran reported the Town attorney was consulted about inclusion of the metes and bounds document for this application. Her opinion was the resident must provide that document. Planning Commission chairman Peter Nagrod asked Mayor McCathran to have the Town attorney provide a legal definition of a metes and bounds survey. The Council discussed language in the current application which makes reference to the metes and bounds being created by a competent individual. Charlie Challstrom and Steve Werts assisted the applicant with measurements for his application which included pictures. The Planning Commission considered the application to be complete. Mayor McCathran will present all documents along with the Planning Commission interpretation of the language in question to the Town attorney for review.
Planning Commission Alternate
Mayor McCathran brought forth the appointment of Deborah Mehlferber for the position of alternate on the Planning Commission. Georgette Cole moved to approve the Mayor’s appointment. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Abandoned Properties – Discussion/Possible Actions
Historic Preservation Commission member David Stopak, Planning Commission member Brenda Gumula and Town Council member Bud O’Connor will serve on this task force. Mayor McCathran will put an advertisement for other volunteers (3 or 4) in the next Town Bulletin. The Council discussed a name for the task force and the potential pitfalls in trying to solve this problem.
- John McClelland asked for a discussion about the conditions drawn up to accompany the Public Ways & Property Permit application for 203 2nd Avenue. Condition #5 forbids working on Sunday which is contrary to the Town Ordinance. He is concerned there is no legal framework for the Planning Commission to overturn the ordinance by making this condition part of the permit. The Council discussed the original intent of the prohibition (access, proximity of homes to construction) and the inconsistency of the decision to include condition #5 in the permit application.
- John McClelland moved to amend the Public Ways & Property Permit by striking condition #5 from the agreement thus allowing work on Sundays from Noon – 6:00 p.m. Bud O’Connor seconded the motion. After more discussion, Mayor McCathran called the question and asked the Clerk to take a roll call vote; Cole – Aye, Faupel – Aye, Maskery – Aye, McClelland – Aye, O’Connor Aye, Silber – Aye. The motion passed.
Alison Faupel brought up the recent indecent exposure incident(s) at Maple Lake. She also reported two (2) cars had been vandalized in the parking lot. She asked the Council to consider additional security in the form of security guards or functional cameras. There was a discussion about the following:
- New cameras, dome-style
- Additional equipment
- Cost for equipment & installation
- Alison also reported the Lake Committee favored consideration of a range of deterrents.
- Greg Silber moved to approve spending up to $3,000 for the purchase of a good security system. Alison Faupel seconded the motion. Greg encouraged the use of professionals to do the installation. Bud O’Connor suggested the purchase of off-the shelf equipment with advice from a professional and use of volunteers to install. Since Bud is versed in this area, he offered to help with equipment purchase, position of cameras and set up. Steve Werts volunteered to do the installation. Vote: 6-0.
Another Lake item was brought to the attention of the Mayor and Council. One (1) of the lifeguards had to be let go. Consequently, substitutes are being sought. John Hutchinson is working with David Harmon on this.
- Georgette Cole moved to approve the July Council Reports for posting on the Town website. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
- Mayor McCathran reported the Maryland Municipal League (MML) Convention was full of good information including a Planning Commission forum which she attended and received certification in the Planning Commission training.
- Emergency Preparedness Committee – Mayor McCathran reported, to date, one (1) person signed up to serve on this committee. One (1) more solicitation will appear in the next Town Bulletin. If no additional volunteers step forward, the Council will no longer pursue establishing this Committee.
- MCPD Enforcement – Mayor McCathran reported knowledge of enforcement of weight regulations on Washington Grove Lane by Montgomery County Police Department. There were several signs needing installation at Mid-County Highway and two (2) at the intersection of Railroad Street, East Diamond Avenue and Washington Grove Lane. The MCPD insured the Mayor these are now installed.
- Town Council Reports – August 2015 pdf
- Audrey Maskery reported she gave the Town “Stadler Dollars” to Summer In The Parks to purchase plants for the front of the Town Hall. SITP will plant them. Audrey also reported PEPCO will be returning to remove some large logs left in Zoe Wadsworth Park as part of the line clearance project.
- The Town Clerk told the Mayor and Town Council that Mr. Bill Ballenger, our “Streetlight Man” of 25 + years, is very sick and will not return as a PEPCO sub-contractor. New people have been assigned to the job but are having a difficult time because of the4 lack of bulbs and parts for our street lighting fixtures.
- Steve Werts asked for guidance concerning the box that once house a streetlight at the end of Brown Street extended. Wires are taped off and the box needs attention to avoid damage. It was suggested the box be buried. Steve will look into this.
- Greg Silber asked about the process for getting back to residents who write to the Mayor and Council, specifically the recent correspondence from Don Henninger. Mayor McCathran stated she acknowledged receipt of the e-mail and Georgette and Audrey were putting at letter together to address Don’s concerns.
- Bud O’Connor expressed concern about the garage at 409 6th Avenue. The roof has completely fallen in. It was suggested Montgomery County Housing Code Enforcement should be called about this.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:53 p.m.