14 March 2005 | Approved: 11 April 2005
Mayor John Compton called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:38 p.m.. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land, John Tomlin, Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher. Town residents Charlie Challstrom, David Neumann, Georgette Cole, George Paine, Patrick Malone and John McClelland were also present. Gazette reporter Sara Stefanini was also in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
John Tomlin moved, David Stopak seconded, that the Town Council minutes of February 14, 2005 be approved. Vote: 6-0.
Jim Fletcher reported that he was working with Dan Landry (PEPCO) on the tree trimming along Chestnut Road. He gave permission to prune an "oriental honey suckle" across from 110 Grove Ave. but the pruning needed in between 110 Grove and 108 Grove has to be approved by the residents. Jim continues to monitor the WSSC water main replacement project. Jim also reported on the following issues;
- There were more alarm issues with the Town Hall. Jim has arranged for the phone line to be fixed and for the entire system to be flushed by Tenn ProTech.
- The tires that served as a home for many hornets last summer have been removed and a climbing wall will go up in its place.
- A Stang Plumbing truck got stuck at the intersection of Oak and Cherry Avenues. They made a big mess and promised to make it right.
- Resident at 108 Ridge Road complained about a Town tree that needed trimming. Charlie Musser will give an estimate. A discussion about trees and safety ensued.
- The brush trimming project along Ridge Road has started again. A discussion ensued about Verizon and Comcast tree trimming policies.
- A "field trip" with Linda Baim at the playground in Woodward Park to do a needs assessment of the area.
Darrell Anderson moved, John Tomlin seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for February be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Status of discussions with Washington Grove United Methodist Church
Mayor Compton began by asking Rev. Patrick Malone why we were having such difficulty getting a meeting scheduled with the appointed sub-committee and WGUMC. Rev. Malone stated that they needed more time and asked for that. He went on to say that the relationship between the church and the Town does not seem good and that is hurtful. He also stated that the WGUMC is not opening a school and that they have no plans for expansion. Mayor Compton stated that we could go one of two ways. We could simply pass the proposed ordinance as is, or we can continue the discussions and move forward. We should be able to come up with a compromise that is good for all parties. David Stopak would like to set the Town Meeting (June 11, 2005) as a goal for resolving this issue. A long discussion ensued resulting in an agreement to allow the WGUMC more time to work on their problems with the proposed ordinance, to set up meetings with the sub-committee and to set the Town Meeting as a deadline for resolution.
Building Permit Application Paperwork & Process
David Stopak stated that #2e on the first page was difficult. Tom Land suggested a change. John McClelland explained. The Mayor and Council would like #2e to explain why the information requested was needed. A lengthy discussion ensued. The change to #2e is as follows; "The square footage of the lot, existing/new primary structure, addition, detached structures and/or rear lot when applicable. Square footage applies to the footprint not the gross living area". Tom Land moved to approve the building permit application paperwork with the change to #2e and the Historic Preservation Commission pages. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Review Draft Ordinance Concerning the Collection of Fees for Various Applications, Permits and Petitions
Mayor Compton reviewed the issue. According to Town Attorney Bill Roberts, the fees should be set by ordinance and not by resolution. Mayor Compton would like input from the Planning Commission and re-visit this issue at the May meeting of the Town Council. There was discussion about the cost of a transcript for a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing and a brief mention of Municipal Infractions.
Tom Land reported that WM appears to have billed the Town for yard waste pickup but we aren’t sure that we received the service. Tom also said that he believes that because of the wet, cold weather, the Town should ask US Lawns to extend the deadline for spring leaf removal to April 10th. Tom will talk to the contractor. Maple Lake – The Lake Committee has started working on the goose poop problem and has been in contact with our lake consultant John Mudre. The next meeting is April 7th. Tom also reported that we have one returning lifeguard and are looking for more.
See item #4.
Historic Preservation Commission
David Stopak reported that most of the last HPC meeting was taken up with the Archives. Claire Cavicchi’s items will be kept together and called "The Cavicchi Collection". The contributing structures photo project continues and the hope is to be finished by the Mansionization Conference on April 9th. David also reported that David Neumann and Bob Booher have agreed to form a sub-committee to handle the FAR (Floor Area Ratio) idea in a different way.
Roads & Walkways
John Tomlin reported that road bids for paving repairs need to go out soon. John will work with the Clerk on this. Discussion… Intergovernmental – John Tomlin reported that the Municipal Aggregation bill for purchasing electricity did not pass, again.
Darrell Anderson reported the following;
- The Planning Commission determined that propane tanks should be treated as structures and be bound by appropriate setbacks, whether above or below ground. This will involve an ordinance change.
- The Planning Commission decided that all letters from the Commission should be sent from the Town office rather that from the Chair of the Planning Commission.
- The Planning Commission proposed a definition of the term "fence". Fence: a (man made) barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary.
The Planning Commission goes on record as being in disagreement with the Town Council on the enforcement of Town ordinances. The Commission feels that Town ordinances have been put into place based on history, common sense, and what is best to maintain a civil Town without infringing unduly on the rights of residents to have full use of their property. Enforcement of ordinances should reflect the Town’s philosophy. If an ordinance can not be enforced fairly and equally among all Town residents, that ordinance should be deleted. The Commission is asking for direction from the Council on this matter. Planning Commission Chairman John McClelland expressed his opinion about the enforcement of the Town ordinances at 103 Grove Ave. and 406 Grove Ave. The Planning Commission is frustrated. A lengthy discussion about a code enforcement officer, a municipal infractions ordinance, loop holes, and equal enforcement ensued.
Linda Baim reported that she and Jim Fletcher took a "field trip" through Woodward Park to assess the condition of our playground equipment. Linda asked if the basketball courts could be lined. A discussion about attractive nuisances occurred ending with the idea that Jim Fletcher should be asked to paint at least a free throw line.
Linda Baim asked how website manager Bill Saar can go forward with the funding for the website. She was told to tell Bill to turn in his receipts to Treasurer Mary Challstrom.
Betsy Klinger reported that the kids’ program (a magician) is all set for April 17th at 2:00p.m.. The Ice Cream Social, with music provided by the Swing Band, is a go for May. Betsy also reported that a New Years Eve bash is in the works for this year.
Betsy Klinger reported that Suzanne Cotrell put together a database for crimes reported to Neighborhood Watch on Microsoft Access.
Resident George Paine came to show pictures of another attractive nuisance; the tree house in the East Woods. George reported that out of Town young people are coming into the Grove, parking along Grove Road near 7th Avenue, and walking back to the tree house. After talking to Jim Fletcher, the Mayor will write a letter to the parents of the tree house "owner" and give a Town Council Minutes
- Casey Field Update – Mayor Compton reported that the PHED Committee’s discussion about a school on the Legacy Open Space field has waned. There are 3 other sites being considered in the Shady Grove Master Plan area.
- Shady Grove Master Plan: Mayor Compton reported that the current proposal leaves the Roberts Oxygen property zoned I-1. A better classification would be I-3. The County has agreed that any use of the property should have to go through a site review.
- Deer Park Bridge – Mayor Compton reported that there was currently little activity on this subject. A joint meeting with Gaithersburg, Washington Grove and DPWT should happen soon. The Mayor also reported that efforts to downgrade Oakmont from an arterial may be underway as well.
Mayor Compton proposed that the Town institute a "Volunteer of the Year" or "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" award at the Town Meeting this year. A discussion ensued resulting in the idea of creating a "Mayor’s Award". An announcement will go in the Town Bulletin asking for nominations. The Historic Preservation Commission will give an award for "Outstanding Preservation Project" of the year.
Mayor Compton announced that Summer In The Parks would like to do an afternoon session for middle school aged kids. There are budget implications but all agreed with the idea.
Darrell Anderson moved to adjourn. Tom Land seconded. Vote: 6-0.