18 May 2020 | Approved: 8 June 2020
No TC Report this month
The unprecedented emergency health crisis poses a challenge to all – individually and collectively. To protect ourselves and do our part to impede the spread of the coronavirus and COVID -19 disease, the Regular Meeting of the Town Council was held remotely. The meeting was recorded.
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, David Cosson, Marida Hines, Patty Klein, and Gray Yachup. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and residents Bob Booher, Georgette Cole, Jay Everhart, John Hutchinson, Robert Johnson, Joan Mahaffey, Virginia Quesada, and Bruce Rothrock.
Oaths of Office:
Mayor Compton gave the oath of office to newly elected Town Councilors David Cosson and Gray Yachup.
Approval of Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Patty Klein seconded the motion.
Action: Vote: 6-0, agenda approved as presented
Mayor’s Announcements – Testimony at the Public Hearing on the Shady Grove Master Plan – Minor Amendment:
Mayor Compton explained the Minor Amendment to the Shady Grove Master Plan was undertaken mainly to re-assess the limitation on development posed by the transportation-oriented staging requirements, as well as to examine the density in the immediate area of the Metro station. He made three (3) points in his testimony to the Planning Board: the reference for a bikeways connection be revised to read from Crabbs Branch to Washington Grove rather than to Brown Street specifically, that pedestrian safety on Oakmont Avenue be addressed, and that greater emphasis and clarity be added that address the consequences of not moving the MCPS school bus depot and that public amenities should not be sacrificed, but instead be shifted into any approved development plan. The Mayor and Council discussed the testimony.
Residents will be able to read the Mayor’s testimony on the Town website pdf.
Joan Mahaffey asked Mayor Compton if he knew of a second salt barn being constructed around the first one. She reported having seen a large white tent, a crane, and a large wall in the area.
Action: Mayor Compton will look into this.
Approval of Minutes:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the April 13, 2020 Town Council Meeting Minutes. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Charlie Challstrom and Patty Klein presented a few changes.
Action: Vote: 6-0, approved as amended.
FY2021 Council Responsibilities:
The Council areas of responsibilities for FY20-21 were discussed and assigned as follows:
- Darrell Anderson – Historic Preservation Commission, Lighting, Maintenance
- Charlie Challstrom – McCathran Hall, Planning Commission, Other (Montgomery Municipal Cable, Census Liaison, FEMA Floodplain Coordinator)
- David Cosson – Contracts, Stormwater Management, Woods
- Marida Hines – Communications, Dog Park, Recreation, Website
- Pat Klein – Emergency Preparedness & Safety, Maple Lake
- Gray Yachup – Forestry & Beautification (including Memorials), Playgrounds, Roads & Walkways, Shady Grove Crossing, Washington Grove Conservation Park
The Town website has been updated with this information.
The Mayor proposed re-appointing Gail Littlefield to the Historic Preservation Commission. The sense of the Council was a unanimous yes for Gail. He also stated there will be some appointments in June.
Treasurers Report 2020-April pdf
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the April 2020 Treasurer’s Report. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reported that Highway User and Cable Revenues will arrive late but everything else is on track. Action: Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Darrell Anderson moved to transfer $10K from savings to checking in order to pay bills. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Action: Vote: 6-0.
FY 2021 Budget Ordinance 2020-05 –Approval:
Charlie Challstrom moved to enact Budget Ordinance 2020-05 pdf. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Mayor Compton reminded the Council that approval of a budget and tax rate ordinance is a State requirement.
Action: Vote: 6-0, approved.
Reopening of Town Facilities: Town Hall, Office, Lake – Discussion:
Mayor Compton explained the current situation with use of Town facilities. They are not closed but use requires specific guidelines. Governor Hogan has announced the implementation of Phase 1 to begin opening the State. However, the opening of Montgomery, Prince Georges and Baltimore counties has been left up to County Executives to decide. Montgomery, and by default Washington Grove, will remain closed until we have a decline in cases and other metrics are met for a 14-day period. Mayor Compton suggested the Town leave everything the same for now but would like to have a plan in place when it is permissible to open Maple Lake.
Lake Committee Chairman John Hutchinson presented suggested guidelines for lake users. They are as follows:
- Bring your own face mask, hand sanitizer, wipes, or spray
- Provide your own chair and toys (marked with your name)
- Monitor your children for their safety – social distancing and not sharing toys
- Do not come to the lake if you are ill or uncomfortable with the situation
- Swim lessons are cancelled
- No plans for Party Permits
Gray Yachup suggested closing the dock as well because of the difficulties presented by social distancing. Hutch suggested not installing the diving board either. There was additional discussion about Governor Hogan’s rules for opening beaches (specifically use of blankets and towels) and the following specifics in the Town plan:
- Changing the word “should” to “will”
- Creating an enforcement plan
- Use of the Town Directory instead of a lake pass (for entrance)
- How to sanitize (bring your own)
- 6 ft. social distancing (more if windy)
- Face covering requirements
- County regulations
Action: Mayor Compton will have appropriate signs made for posting at the lake.
Proposal to Contract with Pepco for Streetlight Conversion to LED Bulbs: Discussion and Action:
Charlie Challstrom distributed a Washington Grove Streetlight Conversion cost comparison memo to the Mayor and Council. The proposed LED bulbs are screw-in and do not require the purchase of new fixtures. However Pepco in the near future may propose to the State to replace existing fixtures throughout the region. There was a discussion about the following:
- Projection for cost-recovery of the Pepco contract expense ($5280) in 18-months, based on current Pepco tariffs and bills to the Town.
- Authorization to use the proposed LED bulbs
- Benefits to keeping our old fixtures and/or at, least, being involved in choosing our fixtures
- RFP (request for proposal) not necessary because of Pepco’s ownership and maintenance of the fixtures in Town.
- Keeping Town lighting “the same”, no brighter
- Using the Historic District designation to help get what we want
- Doing a Lighting Study, like the Traffic Study done by Joseph Cutro in 2002
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve a Pepco LED installation contract. Darrell seconded the motion.
Action: Vote: 6-0. Approved.
Proclamation Declaring June 5, 2020 National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Washington Grove – Action and Discussion:
Mayor Compton explained that for the past five (5) years the first Friday in June has been recognized as National Gun Violence Awareness Day pdf. We could join other cities in recognition of this day. Some of the things we can do is wear orange, change lights on our buildings to orange, add orange lights to the Gazebo, and encourage residents to switch their outside lights to orange. This would be for the duration of the weekend. Patty Klein moved to approve the Proclamation. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion.
Action: Vote: 6-0.
Patty Klein inquired about live, amplified music in Woodward Park. Mayor Compton explained that resident Keith Gillis and some friends discussed jamming on the basketball court area. They discussed requirements for safety in the current COVID-19 crisis (masks, social distancing, number of people etc.), including that the music would stop and folks would go home if too many people showed up. Mayor Compton reported that to his knowledge they were completely compliant.
John Hutchinson reported a recent request for a party at the lake. He turned them down.
The next meeting on June 8th will start with a Public Hearing on Ordinance 2020-01; Amending Article XIII, “Application Of County Legislation” To Add Chapter 33b “Pesticides” As A County Law Applicable In The Town. Charlie will share a copy with all. Patty Klein reminded the Mayor and Council this was geared towards professional lawn care services who use pesticides.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 PM
Kathryn L. Lehman