21 May 2012 | Approved: 11 June 2012
Mayor Cole called the Organizational Meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:31 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Joe Clark, Audrey Maskery, Joli McCathran, Bill Robertson, Greg Silber and David Young. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chairman Charlie Challstrom and residents Marilynn Frey, Howard Harary, Barbara Leng, Jim Leng, Marty Long, Carolyn Rapkievian and Wendy Weisbard.
Approval of Agenda
Bill Robertson moved, Joe Clark seconded that the agenda be approved. Mayor Cole added Election of Mayor Pro Tem, Approval of April Minutes, Approval of Treasurer’s Report and Approval of Council Reports to the meeting agenda. Vote: 6-0.
New Council Members Swearing In – Mayor Cole administered the Oath of Office to councilors Greg Silber and David Young.
Council Areas of Responsibilities for 2012-13:
- Joe Clark: Contracts; Recreation Committee; Website
- Audrey Maskery: Forestry & Beautification Committee; Memorials
- Joli McCathran: HPC, Meadow Committee; Playgrounds
- Bill Robertson: Maintenance; Roads & Walkways
- Greg Silber: Intergovernmental; Maple Lake; Safety
- David Young: McCathran Hall; Planning Commission
Election of Mayor Pro-Tem
Bill Robertson moved, Joe Clark seconded that Joli McCathran serve as Mayor Pro Tem. Vote: 6-0.
Approval of Minutes
Joli McCathran moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the Town Council minutes for March 12, 2012 be approved as amended. Vote: 4-0. (New Councilors Greg Silber and David Young abstained.)
Bill Robertson moved, Joli McCathran seconded that the Town Council minutes for April 9, 2012 be approved with one addition. Vote: 4-0. (New Councilors Greg Silber and David Young abstained.)
- Bill Robertson moved, Joli McCathran seconded that the Treasurer’s Report for April 2012 be accepted. The Treasurer fielded a few questions about legal expenses, Stadler’s Nursery and PEPCO bills. Vote: 6-0.
- Treasurers Report 2012-05 pdf
Discussion of Street Light Requests
Mayor Cole began the discussion with a brief history of the current difficult transition from incandescent to induction light bulbs. Bill Robertson began the discussion with the observation that requests for the removal of a street light (Cherry Ave.) seemed to happen quickly while the request to add a street light (Grove Rd.) has taken a long time. He also stated that he believed that the request to add a light on Grove Road should be done immediately. Wendy Weisbard and Howard Harary voiced their opinions about and dissatisfaction with the lack of action on their request for an additional street light on Grove Road. Mayor Cole apologized stating that it was an unfortunate series of events between PEPCO and the Town that caused the request to get lost in the shuffle. Wendy and Howard went on to discuss dark spots, fears, the need for trimming around the light near 113 Grove Ave., asymmetry in the Town process and their plan to light their own property. Bill Robertson stated that the Council has set a precedent by voting to remove the lights at Cherry Ave. and the Town Hall with only an unofficial poll of three (3) or four (4) homes around each light and not the entire Town. He proposed that the Town add the light requested by Wendy and Howard, prune around the light near 113 Grove and add the light proposed on Hickory Road near 208 Chestnut Avenue as soon as possible. Jim Leng gave anecdotal examples of why the Town needs dark spaces. He cited the Town’s uniqueness and his belief in the common sense of those who came before us who may have left the poles on Grove Road without lights for a reason. He encouraged the Council to take the time that they need to do this light bulb transition right. Carolyn Rapkievian spoke on behalf of the Outdoor Lighting Advisory Committee. She handed out two (2) documents; one (1) noting the accomplishments of the Committee so far and one (1) from the 2009 Town Master Plan which outlined a lighting plan. The current goal of the Committee was to present a formal plan in the fall. After a brief history of the Committee, she asked the Mayor and Council for guidance in how they should move forward. A discussion about residential lighting vs. street lighting, lowering the lights, shielding, the 2nd set of new bulbs, public safety, uniform lighting, and the Town’s responsibility to light the road, historic lighting and the character of the Town ensued. Greg Silber stated that a plan and process must be in place in order to deal with all requests fairly.
Bill Robertson moved to approve the installation of a street light on Grove Road near #119, on Hickory Road behind 208 Chestnut Ave. and the removal of the light in front of McCathran Hall. Joe Clark seconded the motion. There was an additional discussion about a Town lighting plan, a Town process, input from residents, safety, a lighting questionnaire, using a lighting consultant and the Outdoor Lighting Advisory Committee. It was also noted that the addition or removal of a street light is not just an issue for those residents around the light in question. It is an issue for all Town residents. The question was called. Vote: 4-2 (McCathran, Silber). At this point, Joe Clark had to leave the meeting. This approval comes with the understanding that these three (3) requests came in by the April 9, 2012 Council meeting, were bound over until the May Council meeting, and were acted upon tonight.
Joli McCathran made a motion that the Council take no further action on new requests to remove or add streetlights for three (3) months after the complete installation of the new (23watt) bulbs. Greg Silber seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Audrey Maskery moved, Bill Robertson seconded that the Council Reports for April 2012 be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 5-0.
- Town Council Reports – May 2012 pdf
- Mayor Cole announced that there would be a “Meet & Greet” with John Delaney (Democrat) at Growler’s on Thursday from 7 – 8:30 PM, the interviews for selecting a new Town attorney are underway and should be completed by Thursday and that the Deer Park Bridge Group would be meeting with Sharon Daboin from CSX on June 5th. Mayor Cole also cautioned the Council about e-mails being legally the same as paper documents and thus subject to the same rules in terms of the Freedom of Information Act. They are public information.
- Towne Crest Redevelopment – The Mayor and other Town representatives recently met with the Towne Crest Redevelopment team where they were presented with a new proposal. The proposal shows some attempt at scaling down, further attention to the required Daylily Lane setback and a reduction in the proposed zoning (from PD60 to PD44). Attorney David Brown will return on May 24, 2012 and the group will wait for his review before making any comments to the Towne Crest representatives. This second proposal is scheduled to go to the Montgomery County Planning Department sometime in early June preparatory to a Planning Board Review in July. The Washington Grove Planning Commission will send a preliminary draft review of the 2nd proposal to the Council after the June 6th meeting.
The Clerk had a few “housekeeping” chores to address in terms of additions to Council Handbooks.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:02 p.m.