8 June 2009 | Approved: 13 July 2009
Mayor Anderson called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:36 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Charlie Challstrom, Joe Clark, Georgette Cole, Sylvie Favret and Ted Kelly. Also in present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Town residents Chris Brown, Eric Gleason, Heather Hoerle, David Neumann, Paula Puglisi, Ed Roberts and David Stopak.
Approval of the Agenda
Joe Clark moved, Charlie Challstrom seconded that the Agenda for June 8, 2009 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Reverend Judy Young mentioned the variety show that will take place at the WGUMC on September 26, 2009. She also stated that since she is in Town all day, the Mayor and Council should feel free to call upon her if there was an emergency.
David Neumann came to discuss the long-time issue of the condition of houses that are being left abandoned. He gave a brief history concerning past use of Montgomery County for enforcement of these issues and then asked the Town Council to approach this problem from a different point of view. He asked that they consider the use of a residential structure and investigate some new wording in our Town Ordinances that would allow for proper residential use. He mentioned that the Long house (402 5th Avenue) is currently uninhabited and being used as a storage facility and he believes that to be an improper use of the building in the residential zone. David asked the Mayor to appoint a committee to research this issue. He went on to say that he does have a vested interest in this subject because of the proximity of his rental home. There was a discussion about enforcement, using the Town attorney, forming a sub-committee, the Town Charter, the State Code, Montgomery County permitting services enforcement, the County Livability Code and the fact that the home in question is not being lived in.
Approval of Minutes
Charlie Challstrom moved, Georgette Cole seconded that the Town Council minutes for April 13, 2009 be approved with minor edits. Vote: 5-0.
Georgette Cole moved, Charlie Challstrom seconded that the Town Council minutes for April 27, 2009 be approved. Vote: 5-0.
Approval of April 2009 Council Reports for Posting on the Website
Georgette Cole moved, Charlie Challstrom seconded that the reports from the Town Council for April 2009 be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 5-0.
Joe Clark moved, Georgette Cole seconded that the Treasurer’s report for April 2009 be accepted. There was a brief mention of the Town attorney’s fee for the write-in vote research. Vote: 5-0.
Georgette Cole moved, Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion to transfer funds to pay bills. Vote: 5-0.
Conservation Partnership Update Presentation
Town resident and Planning Commission member Eric Gleason brought forth a presentation about the idea of obtaining control of the LOS field by means of a conservation easement. Eric stated that the LOS field is not currently, and may never be, protected from development and that using the conservation easement could allow for such protection. There was a discussion about limitations, negotiations, funding partners, maintenance, use of this by other municipalities, trade-offs and setting up a meeting with some possible partners. Mayor Anderson thanked Eric for the presentation and asked if he would be willing to work on this. Eric agreed stating that help from two (2) Council members and a resident would be preferable. There was also a brief discussion about the value of our 100 acres of woods.
Council Discussion of Casey 6 and 7 – Town Position
Mayor Anderson gave some background on the two (2) parcels. He stated that Montgomery County would like the Town’s opinion of their plans to purchase these two (2) properties in order to have a place to move the service parks that are currently located near the Shady Grove Metro station. David Stopak, Heather Hoerle and Eric Gleason agreed that our previous reasonable approaches have only netted the Town a “bait & switch”, using the State Highway yard and the Urban Village at the Shady Grove Metro as examples.
David Stopak stated that the Town’s endorsement of this type of project hasn’t worked in the past. The ICC is polluting us and now the County wants to do the same thing. The Town needs to put up some resistance. Why would we approve such a thing?
Paula Puglisi asked what the Town would want there. Residential? Light Industrial?
Heather Hoerle stated that is would be crazy to accept this. Roberts Oxygen is a nightmare now. Imagine what more industrial times three would be like.
Joe Clark stated that there was a difference between just saying “no” and saying “no, because you’ve let us down and treated this Town badly”. There is no trust here.
Betsy Klinger stated that this position should be coordinated with the Shady Grove Civic Alliance as well.
Charlie Challstrom reminded folks that the Town has a history of fighting to protect neighbors and cited the incinerator battle of the late seventies/early eighties.
Bob Booher, Chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, stated that he agreed with David. The Town should take a strong stand now. He also expressed his concern about the last minute nature of the County’s request for a Town position.
Heather Hoerle expressed her frustration with Montgomery County’s lack of response to her 2007 letter about moving the proposed new part of Amity Drive.
Mayor Anderson asked the Council to look at his draft letter. A cogent response either supporting this purchase or not supporting this purchase must be done by Wednesday. He then initiated a discussion about the negative aspects of this purchase by the County. They are;
- Lack of connectivity to Metro
- Noise & pollution
- Lack of County response to the impacts on the Town
- Undermines the viability of the Urban Village at the Metro
- It is contrary to the Smart Growth model in any form
- It is the path of least political resistance
Mayor Anderson asked for a sense of the Council. The Council is in unanimous opposition of this plan. Darrell will write the letter, send it around for input via e-mail, finalize and send it out on Wednesday.
Modifying Building Coverage Standards for Residential Zones and Maximum Height Standard for Accessory Buildings – Continued Discussion: Charlie Challstrom reported that the PC/HPC work sessions continue. Much of the discussion concerns issues of restricting and expanding use. He presented a handout and suggested that working on this in pieces or steps might be the best way to go. The document should be considered step one (1) and he asked the Council to consider making a step forward. Mayor Anderson stated that he would like to see this move forward as well, and asked that it be placed on the agenda for the June 22nd meeting of the Town Council.
- Deer Park Bridge: Mayor Anderson brought up the closing of the bridge for repairs. There was a discussion about a Town traffic plan. It was decided to revisit this at the June 22nd meeting. This will be after the bridge has been closed for a few days.
In the aftermath of the Hayward/Lottero fire, Joe Clark asked about putting something in the Town Bulletin about safety. There was a brief discussion about how to use a fire extinguisher and the need for a demonstration. Joe will pursue this idea.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:26 p.m.