11 September 2006 | Approved: 16 October 2006
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Georgette Cole, Kathie Evans, Betsy Klinger, and David Stopak. Also present were; Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, Sarah Steel, The Rev. Judy Young, Vernon King, Britt Garoni, Bill Garoni, Diane Garoni, John Tomlin, Bruce Rothrock, George Paine, Maureen Neumann, Mariah Neumann, and Henry Mergner.
The Reverend Judy Young from the Washington Grove United Methodist Church came to introduce herself to the Mayor and Council. She talked about her plans for an ecumenical service at Thanksgiving and about planning a fund raiser to help with the distribution of Thanksgiving meals to needy Gaithersburg residents. She also talked about the updated website and a new form for use of the facilities.
Ten-year resident Britt Garoni came to discuss a rat problem and the never-ending exterior projects associated with 213 Washington Grove Lane. Britt has exterminated at least 10 rats in his yard this summer. He believes that they are coming from 213 W.G. Lane because the yard, in its current state, is a prime environment for rodents. Britt quoted Article II, Section 2 from the Town’s Code of Ordinances and then asked for help from the Mayor and Council. He also stated that he approached his neighbors about the construction project a couple of years ago but nothing has changes. Mayor Compton asked Britt to talk to his neighbors again, this time mentioning the rats, and report back to the Council next month. The Town will follow up with a letter after Britt reports the results of his conversation.
Maureen Neumann and her daughter Mariah came to voice their continued concerns and frustrations with the 100 McCauley Street residents. There are still problems with the dogs jumping the fence and with various ordinance violations. Maureen asked the Mayor and Council for enforcement and she urged them to hire a Code Enforcement Officer. Henry Mergner (104 Maple Rd.) gave a brief synopsis of two (2) incidents with the dogs at 100 McCauley Street. A discussion about enforcement, animal control, new ordinances, and a code enforcement officer ensued. Kathie Evans volunteered to take on the issue of finding a code enforcement officer and an appropriate job description that would suit the Town’s needs.
Patricia Deely, Town Fire Board representative, passed along the concern of another member about the fact that Ridge Road is closed at the bottom of the hill. John Tomlin gave a brief history. There was a brief discussion about property ownership and a gate. It was suggested that the new section of Amity Drive would help with this issue.
Vernon King came to ask the Mayor and Council to install speed humps on Grove Road from Brown Street to, at least, Center Street. He stated that residents and visitors just don’t care and that a tragedy will happen if the Town does nothing. A discussion about the size of the speed limit signs, the placement of speed humps, and the style of speed humps ensued. Jim Fletcher was asked to paint “hold back” lines at all the intersections.
Approval of Minutes
Darrell Anderson moved, Georgette Cole seconded that the Town Council minutes of August 14, 2006 be approved as amended. Vote: 6-0.
Kathie Evans moved, Linda Baim seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for August be accepted. Vote: 6-0.
Mary Challstrom asked that the Mayor and Council discuss the light pole on Brown Street extended that has been knocked down for the fourth time. A discussion about the placement of the light pole, barriers for the light pole and the need for the light pole ensued.
Jim Fletcher gave the Maintenance Report and reported about a meeting with WSSC concerning the 4th Avenue/McCauley Street water main replacement project. There was a discussion about what to do if the drilling project produced excessive amounts of drilling material. Jim suggested a couple of places for storage of the biodegradable bi-product that would be removed upon completion of the project. He will keep everyone informed. Kathie Evans asked about the drainage from Brown Street to Railroad Street. A discussion about when and how to clear the drainage ditches ensued. Jim asked if he would be asked to rent the equipment and do this swale. Mayor Compton stated that the Town might be able to hire an outside operator.
Darrell Anderson reported that the Commission discussed a new form/procedure for changes in the Town Ordinances, the placement of propane tanks along with safety issues of these tanks, the extension of the ordinance violation deadline, the Town Master Plan, and the new “chuck wagon” business at the Commercial Corner.
Darrell Anderson reported that there was no Municipal League meeting in September. Regular contact with State delegates has been maintained regarding Town issues.
Linda Baim reported that the Lake Committee met on Sept. 7th to discuss vandalism and intrusion by non-Grove residents which reached an unprecedented peak this summer. Repeatedly the lock was stolen, the fence was cut, and the new combination was known within days. The lifeguards were spending too much time patrolling the offenders rather than focusing on swimmer’s safety. The Committee gave recommendations to the Mayor and Council and is asking for additional input and help with these problem.
Forestry & Beautification
Georgette Cole reported that Ann Briggs was pursuing the other folks involved in the bus stop project concerning plantings, benches and fences. Although contacts have been made, everything is still pending. A representative from Montgomery County’s Dept. of Public Works and Transportation responded to Ann’s inquiries about signage at Hershey’s for commuter parking. It was stated that since Hershey’s didn’t prohibit commuter parking all would stay the same. The Town may have to pursue this issue differently. Georgette also reported that the Stadler fall tree sale will start on September 14. Jim and Georgette will spend a generous half of the reforestation budget at this sale as trees planted in the fall have a better chance to successfully establish themselves. They will also purchase trees that will increase our species diversity as recommended in the current Urban Tree Management Plan.
Roads & Walkways
Georgette Cole reported that all of the Avenues radiating from The Circle are very restricted in clearance, especially for emergency vehicles. She suggested that residents be made aware of the actual walkway boundaries and encourage them to do some pruning.
Kathie Evans reported that the trash/recycling pickup has settled into a routine with no misses reported in the past three weeks. She also reported that residents have complained about the trucks spilling foul-smelling liquid onto the road and about the yard waste being disposed of with the regular trash.
Betsy Klinger reported that the Recreation Committee will meet on September 27th. The Rec.-sponsored ballroom dance instruction for the younger set began on Friday, September 8th.
Betsy Klinger reported that she continues to work with Montgomery County DPWT on the installation of the three paddle signs for W.G. Lane. She also reported that she spoke to Officer Tillery of the MCPD about trespassing (fire concerns & trash problems) in the lake woods. The Officer passed the information on to a bike patrol officer who will patrol the area as time allows. Betsy also gave a Neighborhood Watch report.
see Maintenance Report.
Historic Preservation Commission
David Stopak reported that the HPC did a review for a shed on 4th Avenue. The HPC also discussed the request to alter language in a land transfer deed by residents at 115 Chestnut Avenue. The HPC believes that allowing the use of transferred land for setback requirements, which is contrary to the language in the deed, would raise problems for many other properties. The HPC also reviewed and expressed concerns about the proposed Cluster Zoning and amendment to the Town Subdivision Ordinance.
Special Town Meeting Date
A qualified petition asking for a Special Town Meeting about the placement of speed humps was submitted by Sarah Steel. The Mayor and Council set the date of October 23, 2006 for the meeting.
Security at Maple Lake
A discussion about how quickly the gate combo seems to get distributed to non-Grove residents, the liability of unsupervised young children using Maple Lake, opening the Lake to other communities, and the continual cutting of the fence ensued. Mayor Compton suggested that the intruders should be caught in the act and that perhaps the Town should hire an off-duty police officer to do it. He also stated that the condition of the fence must be checked regularly and all holes fixed until cold weather arrives. There was more discussion about how the Town could successfully offer an open swim to residents of the nearby community.
Planning Commission Alternate
Mayor Compton nominated Joe Clark to fill the vacancy as alternate on the Planning Commission. Vote: 6-0.
Bow Hunter Decision
Linda Baim reviewed some of the County restrictions/rules concerning bow hunting. A discussion about how Mr. Swogger could be monitored, retrieval of wounded deer from Town property, bringing a weapon on to Town property to ease the suffering of the wounded animal (knife vs. bow), and the confusion that exists about State and County laws on this subject ensued. The Clerk left the room while further discussion continued. Linda Baim moved to give Mr. Swogger permission to come on Town Property to retrieve wounded deer as long as he has a license. David Stopak seconded the motion. Vote: 5-1. Georgette Cole volunteered to write the letter to Mr. Swogger.
Commercial Corner Complaint
Mayor Compton reviewed the issue; the Prime Choice Caterers had no license because they were not a permitted use per Town Ordinances. Discussion… The Clerk was asked to talk to Diana Kuentz (Twice Is Nice) and John McClelland (Allstate Insurance) about the complaints and then report back to the Mayor and Council.
- Casey Field: Mayor Compton attended a community presentation by Toll Brothers. This included the revised site plan which now shows the State Highway Administration storm water management pond, more townhouses and new placement of the MPDU’s. The new site plan will now have to abide by the new storm water management regulations and it will have to return to the Development Review Committee. The new dry river bed along the lower part of Ridge Road is unacceptable. Lower Ridge Road must be protected by well-thought out landscaping.
- Condemnation: Another court date has passed with no movement. M-NCPPC will oppose the condemnation.
- Inter-County Connector: Mayor Compton reviewed the State Highway informational meeting. Letters have gone out to SHA and Maryland Historic Trust concerning the design/build process and the level of impact on the Town. I-370 is the first phase of the ICC and should be considered such. Any other designation is disingenuous.
Linda Baim moved to adjourn, Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0
The meeting was adjourned at 11:52 p.m.