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Town Council News

Next meeting: Monday, August 9, 2021, 7:30pm
The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM at bit.ly/WGCouncilMeeting
Meeting ID: 297 850 640
Password: 074385
Or dial-in to 301-715-8592

Actions at the July 2021 Meeting included:

New Speed Humps Under Consideration: Request for Public Input

Residents of the 400 block of Brown Street, and on lower Ridge Road (beyond the last curve) have expressed their concern over excessive vehicle speed on their streets and have asked the Town Council to consider installing speed humps on these road segments. The existing speed humps on Ridge Road, Grove Road, and Chestnut Road have proven effective at reducing the incidence of excessive speed on those streets. The Town Council is requesting public input concerning this request by September 13th.

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News from Grove Commissions

Historic Preservation Commission News

Next meeting: Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 7:30 pm.
The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM. For a copy of the Agenda, email Chairman Bob Booher ([email protected]).

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 344 019 9688

Housing Stock in Washington Grove as it Transitioned from Stockholder Association to Municipality and the Great Depression Yielded to World War II

The research of Robinson & Associates, Inc., in preparation of Washington Grove’s Updated and Expanded Historic District Nomination to the National Register is gratefully acknowledged.  It is the basis of the following.

Washington Grove’s initiative to seek incorporation as a municipality followed national trends. Starting in the early twentieth century, many camp meeting associations across the country began to transition into independent municipalities or transferred their assets to other local government entities. Although Washington Grove’s initial effort lost considerable momentum during the economic collapse of the Great Depression, the initiative was resumed in the mid-1930s. Finally, in 1937, the stockholders of the Washington Grove Association voted in favor of incorporation. The charter for the Town of Washington Grove became effective on May 30 of that year.

The Town’s first mayor, Irving (Roy) McCathran, and the citizens of Washington Grove were eager to put the deprivations of the Depression behind them. While the early municipal period saw a gradual decrease in the abandonment of properties and lots being listed for tax sale, deferred home maintenance that had started in the Depression continued to cause concern. In 1941, for example, two adjacent houses on Fourth Avenue that had not been occupied for several years were found to be “an actual and definitive menace to the health of the community” and nearly condemned. (The houses were ultimately preserved and, in the 1960s, were combined to become what is now 404 Fourth Avenue.) According to oral tradition, some houses in the Grove still retained canvas elements through the 1940s.

In an effort to increase municipal revenues and attract families to the community, the town began to sell off platted but unoccupied lots. As a result, Washington Grove experienced a boomlet of home improvements and new construction. Nationally, Minimal Traditional dwellings, which offered simplified versions of prewar Colonial Revival styles, were built in great numbers during this period, and this trend is reflected in Washington Grove.  (The inventory of Washington Grove homes included in the National Register nomination document identifies 22 homes in the Minimal Traditional style.)

The Minimal Traditional style was developed largely out of necessity. During the Great Depression, banks collapsed, mortgages piled up, and many Americans lost their means to purchase new homes, bringing the housing construction industry to a virtual standstill. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was established in 1934 under the New Deal programs of President Franklin Roosevelt to set standards for construction and insure loans banks made for home building. The FHA also produced their own technical bulletins on house design that proved influential. In fact, a number of these house plans were published in journals and pattern books in the 1930s and 1940s, promoting an economical take on the traditional house.

The FHA’s technical bulletin in 1940 was called Principles for Planning Small Houses, which laid out a number of recommendations for an economical, efficient home. Many of the basic forms and variations of what became the Minimal Traditional style were illustrated in the pamphlet. The FHA recommended simple compositions within limited variation in form. Unnecessary gables, dormers, and breaks in the roofline were to be avoided. Instead of adding ornamentation, character and variation could be achieved through the spacing and grouping of windows, use of materials, and design of minor details. “Porches, bay windows, and platform steps,” the bulletin states, “are useful as a means of making small houses more livable without adding greatly to their costs.” Efficient floor plans that maximized available space were advised, as higher building costs increased the difficulty in qualifying for FHA loan insurance.

During World War II, the relocation of workers for proximity to defense-related factories created an immediately pressing need for small houses that could be built quickly. Builder-developers constructed nearly 2.3 million homes, most in the Minimal Traditional style, for war and defense purposes between 1940 and 1945. Such small houses were also a response to the wartime reduction in the supply of building materials.

When World War II ended in 1945, the Minimal Traditional house again proved to be the solution to a pressing national need. Housing accommodation had to be provided for the 10 million returning soldiers and their families. Approximately 5.1 million new homes, many in the Minimal Traditional style, were built between 1946 and 1949. Because these houses continued to be promoted by the FHA, developers could get faster approval of loans for construction to start. Much of the postwar construction in emerging suburban communities like Levittown, New York, consisted of mass-produced Minimal Traditional-style houses. The World War II Cottage is a variation on the Minimal Traditional style. These houses were typically a single story, simple in form, and covered by a hipped roof.

Many Minimal Traditional-style houses were built in Washington Grove during this period and after World War II. Examples can be found on Washington Grove Lane, Ridge Road, and Pine Street. Examples of World War II Cottages are located at 108 Maple Avenue and 401 Brown Street. The latter, built in 1943, has a rectangular form under a moderately pitched, hip roof. These houses are representative of an important period of Washington Grove’s development, when the new municipal government supported residential growth that responded to the needs of American families. In their simplicity of form and affordability, these houses represented a continuity in design from the camp meeting era.

Note:  If you would like to see Washington Grove’s complete 2020 Updated and Expanded Historic District Nomination, follow this link  to the Maryland Historic Trust’s website.  The original historic district nomination, submitted in 1978, has been included as well at the end of the linked .pdf document. 

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Planning Commission News

Next meeting: Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM. As part of the Town’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, this Planning Commission Meeting will be conducted online, rather than in person.

Residents and the public can joining the Zoom videoconference at: https://zoom.us/j/781347688.
Meeting ID: 781 347 688
Or dial in to 301-715-8592 and following the audio instructions.

Building Permit Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit a building permit application for approval by the Planning Commission and review by the Historic Preservation Commission is the 2nd Wednesday of the month prior to the PC meeting at which the permit will be reviewed (this will be in the following month). This timing ensures the HPC will be able to complete a formal review before the PC meeting as this review is required for the PC to approve the permit in a timely fashion. If you are considering any renovation or building project at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process.

Permits Approved in July

  • 206 Chestnut Ave. – Demolish Shed
  • 203 2nd Ave. – Shed
  • 114 Ridge Road – 2nd Fl. Bathroom/Dormer
  • 326 Ridge Road – Deck

Public Ways and Property Permits (PW&PP) Approved in July

  • 404 Brown Street – Grass
  • 334 Ridge Road – New pole and service

2021 Comprehensive Plan

The 2021 DRAFT Comprehensive Plan (CP) for the Town of Washington Grove has been submitted for review to the Maryland Department of Planning.

A Public Hearing where residents may comment on the Plan has been scheduled for Thursday September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Residents are encouraged to review the plan and send comments to the Planning Commission if you have feedback. It’s about five weeks until the public hearing and the record will remain open for comments for at least 6 weeks after the hearing. The Planning Commission recently hosted representatives from the Maryland Department of Planning and the Maryland Historic Trust for a walking tour of the Town. We will get formal written feedback on our draft Comprehensive Plan from both of these agencies. We also expect feedback from the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Gaithersburg and Rockville Planning Commissions.

The next CP work session will be August 18 at 7:30 pm. REMOTE ACCESS ONLY.  As part of the Town’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, this Comprehensive Plan Work Session will be conducted online, rather than in person. The agenda will be posted at the Town office and on the Town web site the week before the meeting.

Work Session Access:
Residents and the public may access using Meeting ID: 781 347 688
By dialing in to:  301-715-8592 and following the audio instructions.
OR by joining the Zoom videoconference at:  https://zoom.us/j/781347688
Please make sure your name is associated with your zoom device in order to be admitted from the Waiting Room.

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News from Grove Committees and Task Forces

Border Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, August 12, 2021, 7:30 p.m., via ZOOM Videoconference.
This Committee meets the second Thursday of each month. All are welcome. Contact Peter Nagrod ([email protected]) for information on how to join the meeting.

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Emergency Preparedness Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Join the Zoom meeting by videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89199207143?pwd=aUVsTUpCbTRMWjdMdnZ1aEhLdGwrZz09
By Phone: 301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 875 0865 5177
Passcode: 312158

We are actively seeking new committee members. One committee goal is to promote a shared sense of preparedness, vigilance, and resilience to help strengthen our community. We welcome your input and ideas on how to achieve this and any other goals related to preparedness and safety. Please join us at our next meeting.

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Forestry and Beautification Committee (F&B) News

Forestry and Beautification Committee is on summer break. The next meeting will be Wednesday September 8 to plan for fall tree planting. Don’t forget, if you have a suggestion for where a new tree is needed, please contact one of the F&B Co-Chairs Georgette Cole ([email protected]) or Audrey Maskery ([email protected]) or our Council Liaison Barbara Raimondo ([email protected]).

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Lake Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, August 19, 2021, 7:30 pm at Maple Lake (NOT on Zoom)

An agenda will be posted at the Town Hall and distributed via a Grove Update email on Wednesday, August 18. Contact John Hutchinson at cell 240-997-5820 for assistance entering the Lake.  In case of inclement weather we can meet at the Town Hall.

New members are welcome and encouraged!  Call or e-mail John Hutchinson (240-997-5820 (cell); [email protected]) if you have any questions or suggestions or want to be put on the notification list.

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Lighting Committee News

The next meeting will take place in September via ZOOM Video Conferencing. We will continue to meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month. All are welcome to attend!

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Racial Equity Committee News

Next meeting: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 2:00 pm
All are welcome! Folks who would like to attend should email [email protected] to get the Zoom link. And more information on how to join the committee, our goals, past meeting minutes, and historical resources can be found here: https://linktr.ee/RacialEquityGrover.

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Recreation Committee News

Next meeting:  Wed, Sept. 1, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 844 7806 8374
Passcode: 558050

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Woods Committee News

Next meeting: Monday, August 2, 2021, 7:30 pm via Zoom Video Conference.
Join the Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82405334979?pwd=WG9YdVR1U2lSWDlXMHpWaFlyNzRXdz09
By Phone: 301 715 8592
Passcode: 80573

Our meetings are regularly held on the first Monday of each month.  The September meeting may be rescheduled due to Labor Day holidays. Details will be provided in the September Town Bulletin.

The Woods Committee is discussing the benefit to Town residents of posting trail signs at the East Woods trail entrances to better identify trail names and trail etiquette with markers such as ‘no bicycles’ and ‘dogs on leash’ to maintain trail safety.  Reminder: please stay on the walking trails to protect the understory vegetation and avoid tick populations in the underbrush which are abundant this season. Here is a timely news article from the Washington Post on tick encounters and tick-borne diseases for your information.

The Woods Committee will propose to the Town Council continuation of the deer management program in the East and West Woods with our volunteer Bow Hunter Fire Fighters of Maryland (BHFFMD) this Fall-Winter season.

Please contact Joan (240-631-8064) or Patty (301-977-8985) if you have any questions. Stay healthy and safe and enjoy the beauty of nature in our East and West Woods Preserves.

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Shared Use Bike Path Connection Task Force

Nine residents were appointed by the Mayor and Town Council to the Washington Grove Shared Use Bike Path Connection Task Force on July 12, as resolved by the Town Council in this Town Council motion adopted June 30.  View the list of members and the Task Force Evaluation Plan.

Meetings:  The first three working meetings of the Washington Grove Shared Use Bike Path Connection Task Force were held on July 19, July 21 and July 25, and plans are to meet weekly Monday evening meetings for the time being to work on developing the infrastructure needed for the Task Force to start shared use bike path connection evaluations. All meetings will be announced in a Grove Alert and will be posted on the Grove website.

The next working meeting will be Monday August 9 at 7:30. All meetings of the Task Force are open to the public to attend using Zoom videoconference software at
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81561620728?pwd=dHV3b0dicVFNQUcrSXZ1MGZheGQ1dz09.  (Dial-in: 301-715-8592, Meeting ID 815 6162 0728, Password 458225).

NOTE: Those attending the meeting must identify themselves verbally or by their connection name or they will not be allowed to remain at the meeting.  An opportunity for the public to speak at the Task Force working meetings is not anticipated because of the time constraints associated with the Task Force work.

Providing Public Comment to the Task Force
Verbal public presentations to the Task Force: The Task Force will hold two meetings where the public is invited to address the Task Force and provide verbal comments:
Wednesday, September 1 at 7:30 pm by Zoom, and Sunday, September 12 at 7:30 pm by Zoom.  The link for access is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81561620728?pwd=dHV3b0dicVFNQUcrSXZ1MGZheGQ1dz09.

Written input:  To facilitate the usefulness of such communications and with an eye towards obtaining evidence-based input, the Task Force is providing a standardized Input/Inquiry Form. Residents are encouraged to use this Form to provide comments, suggestions, and concerns, supported by factual references whenever possible. This will allow the Task Force to use resident input for evidenced-based evaluations of the various connector options.

Access to Task Force Resources and Records:  All Task Force meeting minutes and recordings, in addition to Task Force work and informational documents are being placed on the Shared Use Connector And Path To Metro page of the Town’s website. If you can’t find what you are looking for on that page, there is a link on the page to a folder in Google Drive that includes more documents, including incomplete working documents or documents in the draft stage.

News From Other Grove Organizations

Film Society News

An entertaining, thought-provoking look at No-Impact Living
What would it be like to live for a year and have zero impact on the environment? Watch a Manhattan-based family as they carry out this experiment:  tamping down their consumerism, swearing off plastic, turning off electricity, and only eating food grown locally.  No Impact Man is co-sponsored by the Film Society and the Sustainability Group.  Join your neighbors in McCathran Hall, Sept. 19, 7:30 pm to watch this provocative, often comical documentary, and then stay for a discussion about no-impact living.  Is it practical?  What could you give up to help lighten the load on the environment?  (WG and MoCo COVID requirements will be observed.)

Stay tuned for news about the upcoming Film Society 2021-2022 season to be held in McCathran Hall, beginning October 2021.

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Sustainability Group: Climate Action News 

Next meeting: Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 7:30 pm
Join Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3440199688

FREE Shade Trees
Planting trees is a key tool in the fight against global warming. Climate change is caused by an increase in greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. Trees help to reduce these gases by taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as wood (“carbon sequestration”). We also depend on trees and other plants to produce the oxygen that we breathe. Trees planted near your home can reduce energy used for cooling in the summer, and their roots reduce water runoff and erosion. Planting native species of trees supports local ecosystems, providing habitat and food for birds, mammals, and insects.

Would you like a FREE shade tree for your yard? Through the Tree Montgomery program, Montgomery County will help you select an appropriate shade tree, send people to plant the tree, and provide follow-up care and inspections. When installed, the trees will be more than 10 feet tall and they will eventually grow to more than 50 feet tall. Go to Tree Montgomery to learn more and to apply for a tree.

The county has already planted more than 3,700 shade trees; this is a popular program, and there is a waiting list for free trees. Kitty Seiferlein, a member of the Sustainability Group, reports that several years ago, as part of this program, a county arborist advised her family on tree selection and planted two young trees (a black gum and hackberry); both are doing well today. Although she had to wait a while after applying, she thought it was well worth the wait.

Other tree planting programs. If you don’t want to wait for a free shade tree from the County, here are a couple of options to help reduce the cost of new trees.

TIP: Protect young trees that sprout in a suitable place in your yard naturally. A little fence will save them from the mower and give them a chance to grow into big trees. It’s another way to acquire free trees.

Hold the Date
Sunday evening, Sept. 19, the Sustainability Group and the Film Society will screen No Impact Man in McCathran Hall. This entertaining, thought-provoking look at living with zero impact on the environment will be followed by a discussion of the themes and challenges described in the movie. More information to come in the September Bulletin. WG and MoCo COVID regulations observed.

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WG United Methodist Church (WGUMC) News

Washington Grove United Methodist Church is meeting at the church at 9:30 AM Sunday mornings!

We are again meeting at the Church, Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM. Weather permitting, we will be outside, under the maple tree. Otherwise, we’ll be socially distant in the sanctuary. Everyone should plan to wear a mask. If you prefer, you can still join us over Zoom. Please just contact Pastor Andrew Peck-McClain at [email protected] to be included.

WGKids! is a monthly gathering for children, a ministry of the Washington Grove UMC. We meet the fourth Sunday of the month on Zoom, from 4:00-4:30 p.m. We sing, learn about a Bible story, and make something kid crafty. Please email Pastor Andy with questions or to participate at [email protected].

We continue to collect non-perishable food donations to support the St. Martin’s food bank. Your contributions can be dropped off on the screened-in porch at Peggy Hansen’s house, 201 Chestnut Avenue, in Washington Grove, or bring them when you join us on Sunday mornings.

WGUMC is a Reconciling Congregation, which means we believe that each person is a precious creation of God and is of sacred worth. We welcome and celebrate persons of every gender identity, racial or ethnic background, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability into full participation in the life of this faith community. We celebrate the gift of love and affirm all loving relations and marriages. Our mission is To follow Jesus, worship God, and provide loving service to our community and the world. 

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Woman’s Club News

Stayed Tuned for our September Program
Former White House butler Alan DeValerio is coming to Washington Grove! He is going to give you the inside details about all the preparations involved in White House entertaining. Not only will he relate his first-hand experiences with history, but he will pass on the stories from those people that he worked with (like Eugene Allen, on whom the movie “The Butler” was based) who have been taking care of our First Families since the Franklin Roosevelt administration!

Alan will also display many of the White House artifacts (menus, programs, Christmas cards, personal photos, etc. ) that he has collected over the years. And after the program his book A History of Entertainment in the Modern White House will be available for purchase ($20) and signing.  This is a presentation that you won’t want to miss!

More information’s to come!

We’re Helping Out Where SNAP Leaves Off
As the desperate needs of those around us continue, we are collecting some of the much-needed items that SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) doesn’t pay for.  We are collecting these items for the apartment residents of the MoCo Coalition for the Homeless’s Archways Program and those who depend on the help of the Interfaith Works Food Hub:

  • Similac – especially the blue boxes of powder
  • Pedialyte – any flavor
  • Diapers – sizes 3 and up
  • Diaper wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Laundry detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer

Helping Archways Kids and Their Families
The six Archway families are in need of all of the non-SNAP necessities listed above, plus things like towels and wash clothes. We’re also asking for treats for the kids.  There are 13 children in the program, ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old and a 10 month old baby. Their social worker likes to bring them something when she does her visits.  The past two months we have had treats and non-snap items and books for the kids. Our goal is at least one treat and one non snap item a month.

The WGES Supply Closet Needs Restocking!
Many stores put back to school supplies on sale in August. One of the Club’s outreach programs is to keep the teachers supply closet well stocked. Without this community support, the teachers end up buying needed supplies for the less fortunate children out of their own pockets!

Treasure Chest Presents
While the less fortunate children of our county need essentials, they also need occasional treats in their lives, and we help provide these by collecting birthday presents and small Treasure Chest items such as party favors to be distributed through Interfaith Works.

Where to Drop Off Your Donations

Monetary donation checks should be made-out to the Woman’s Club with a notation in the Memo if you want it to go towards a specific project, such as:

  • Snap Plus
  • Archway or Shelter Projects
  • School Supplies
  • The Treasure Chest

All donations can be dropped off either in the boxes on the Clubhouse porch or in the painted can on Wendy Weisbard’s porch at 119 Grove Road.

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August Coming Events Calendar

(All meetings via ZOOM Conference unless otherwise indicated)

August 2 » Woods Committee 7:30 pm
August 2 » Shared Use Path Connection Task Force 7:30 pm
August 4 » Planning Commission 7:30 pm
August 5 » Swing Time Big Band rehearsal 7:00 pm Town Hall
August 9 » Town Council 7:30 pm
August 11 » Forestry & Beautification 7:30 pm
August 12 » Border Committee 7:30 pm
August 15 » Racial Equity Committee 7:30 pm
August 16 » Shared Use Path Connection Task Force 7:30 pm
August 17 » Historic Preservation Commission 7:30 pm
August 19 » Lake Committee AT MAPLE LAKE
August 19 » Swing Time Big Band rehearsal 7:00 pm Town Hall
August 26 » Emergency Preparedness & Safety 7:30 pm
Sept 1 » Recreation Committee 7:30 pm
Sept 2 » Public Hearing: 2021 Comprehensive Plan 7:30 pm 

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