8 March 1999 | Approved: 12 April 1999
The meeting was called to order at 7:58 p.m. by Mayor Ann Briggs. In attendance were Councilors John Compton, Dave Gumula, Paris Pacchione, Nick Suzich, Carol Uhlendorf and Allen Winter. Town Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher and resident Charlie Challstrom also were present.
Approval of Minutes
Carol Uhlendorf moved, John Compton seconded, that the Town Council minutes of January 11, 1999 be approved. Vote: 6-0. Carol Uhlendorf moved, Nick Suzich seconded, that the Town Council minutes of February 8, 1999 be approved. Vote: 6-0. Allen Winter moved, Carol Uhlendorf seconded, that the minutes of the February 8, 1999 Executive Session be approved. Vote: 6-0.
John Compton moved, Carol Uhlendorf seconded, acceptance of the Treasurer’s report. Vote: 6-0. Dave Gumula moved, Carol Uhlendorf seconded, that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer funds, if necessary, to pay bills in March. Vote: 6-0.
Mayor Briggs announced the following:
- Sheila Joyner has been hired to organize the Town archives working nine hours per week.
- Ed Roberts has been hired to serve as Secretary for the Planning Commission.
- Employee evaluation forms have been reviewed by Dave Gumula.
- Breakfast to welcome new residents will be held March 20.
- Ride-On will complete bus stop improvements before May 15.
- No one has been found to direct Town choir; Music Weekend Friday night concert will have a different format.
- February deadline for filing a text amendment application has passed for the Prime Choice Caterers. Town Attorney Bill Roberts will write a letter requesting timetable.
- Grove web site continues to be upgraded. Council meeting minutes to be added soon.
- Challstroms have donated computer for use by archivist.
- New residents of Brown Street (500 block) will be sent a letter detailing the items to be completed as part of the Brown Street Station development.
- Ordinance No. 99-01 to Grant Non-Exclusive Cable Franchise to Starpower Communications, LLCJohn Compton moved, Carol Uhlendorf seconded, to introduce Ordinance No. 99-01, granting a non-exclusive cable franchise to Starpower Communications, LLC. Vote: 6-0. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance will be scheduled for Monday, April 12, before the next Council meeting. Mark Frederiksen will be asked to speak about the terms of the Starpower agreement which has been negotiated on the Town’s behalf.
John Compton reported that the Town hosted a meeting on February 17 with Montgomery County transportation staff and CSX Transportation staff to facilitate badly needed repairs to the railroad crossing. Drainage problems have worsened, creating problems for vehicles crossing the tracks and for trains. John said that once traffic detour plans have been prepared and approved, the crossing will be closed for two or three days, probably April 6-8.
Paris Pacchione reported on efforts underway to publish another special issue of the Town Bulletin. Eve Zibart would like to write a piece on the history of volunteerism in the Grove. Gaithersburg Gazette reporter Lori Launi was complimented on her article about the Grove’s history.
Carol Uhlendorf reported that Forestry Committee member Pete Kollasch has drawn a concept plan for pavers in the area immediately in front of McCathran Hall. The pattern of pavers mirrors the octagonal shape of the Hall.
Carol Uhlendorf announced that she has been nominated to represent the Municipal League on the committee charged with determining how the County will observe Year 2000.
Carol Uhlendorf reported that a petting zoo will come to Woodward Park on April 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. and that the Montgomery Village Community Band will perform at the gazebo on Sunday, May 16, followed by an ice cream social. Mayor Briggs introduced a proposal that the Town sponsor a series of four classical music concerts in the next fiscal year. Tanya Anisimova has volunteered to arrange for the Town to engage professional artists, and Alice Negin and Ann Briggs will coordinate publicity and ticket sales. The concert series will be similar to the Grove’s Mousetrap Concert series. The Town will guarantee the performers a minimum of $300 per performance with ticket sales anticipated to cover all Town costs. The Council expressed enthusiasm for the idea.
Nick Suzich reported that consideration will be given to moving the lake electric meter so that the meter could be read every month. The Town is looking for a source for barley bales to use for algae control. Maple Lake cleanup will be Saturday, April 24. Long Fence has provided an estimate of $9,000 for replacing the fence around the asphalt tennis court. Nick asked about the procedure for modifying the Town Woodward Park ordinance to allow greater flexibility in scheduling Town facilities while continuing to limit group permits.
Allen Winter presented a plan showing interlocking pavers used to resurface the access paths around McCathran Hall. The Council and Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher suggested changes to better accommodate occasional vehicular access. Several bid options were developed to allow the Town to stay within budget confines. There was disagreement over the use of gravel edging with John Compton and Dave Gumula expressing concerns about maintenance and appearance. Mary Challstrom reported that the Town had received a letter from the Maryland Historical Trust approving the project.
Allen Winter reported that he and Ed Roberts met to discuss public safety issues. Another meeting has been scheduled for March 31. Parking along Center Street between Hickory and Chestnut Roads has been a problem because of the narrow road. Allen and Paris Pacchione will ask residents not to block Chestnut Avenue and to park in the wider part of Center Street near Chestnut Road.
Paris Pacchione reported on several items which will necessitate change orders in the Maintenance Shop Addition project. Prior to County permit approval, an additional pedestrian door was required and excessive ground water caused inspectors to require deeper excavation for the footers. Jim Fletcher has purchased a sump pump to use at the shop. Paris reported that Jim Fletcher cut up and cleared a large tree which toppled into the intersection at Chestnut Road and Brown Street. Jim has also met with Bob Holston to arrange for fill dirt for Grove Road and the tennis court.
Paris Pacchione reported that the Street Light Committee met at the commercial corner after dark to assess the need for increased outdoor lighting. This action followed a request for security lighting by Post Office employees. The Committee noted that some existing fixtures did not work or had incorrect wattage. The Committee recommended fixture styles and light placement to minimize the impact on neighboring residents while improving the safety for after dark users of the parking area. After discussing these recommendations with Postmaster Debbie Berger, Mayor Briggs will send them to Steve Beck, the property owners’ representative.
Nick Suzich reported on a request from Summer in the Parks coordinators Ann Philips and Joli McCathran to increase the hourly rate paid to the lead teachers from $12.60 to $14.00 per hour. The two lead teachers are responsible for building a curriculum and parents have high expectations for a quality program. Joli and Ann believe that fully certified quality instructors will be attracted by the increased wage. The Council agreed to the rate increase with the understanding that an increase in user fees would be examined for next year.
Mary Challstrom reported that Manya Gussack would like to donate benches for the Town gazebo. Manya is the mother of Amy Gussack, 301 Ridge Road. Mayor Briggs referred this generous offer to the Memorials Committee for a recommendation.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.