Town Council Notes
Next meeting: Monday, September 10, 7:30 p.m., McCathran
The public is invited to attend. August Council actions included:
· agreed that Planning Commission should proceed to develop a project
description for surveying work with goal of recording correction plats for
blocks bounded by Chestnut Road, McCauley Street, Grove Road and Center
Thursday, September 6, Town Hall, 7:30.p.m.
Subject: Historic Preservation Commission
One mechanism to promote preservation of both the Town’s historic character and
architecturally significant structures is the creation of a Historic Preservation
Commission. An ordinance, drafted with the help of Town attorney Bill Roberts,
would create a Commission with advisory responsibilities.
The Commission would help property owners, the Planning Commission and the
Town Council address historic preservation issues by reviewing from a preservation
perspective plans submitted for building renovations, demolitions, variances,
subdivisions, zoning changes and changes in neighboring jurisdictions. The proposed
ordinance does not change the criteria for approving any of these activities, but does
require that the Historic Preservation Commission have an opportunity to comment
The proposed ordinance amends the Town Code of Ordinances for the purpose of:
· Establishing a Town Historic Preservation Commission to safeguard the
heritage of the Town by encouraging the preservation of the historic nature of
the Town and the elements of its cultural, social, economic and architectural
history; to stabilize and improve property values; to foster civic duty; to
strengthen the Town’s economy; and to promote the preservation and
appreciation of the historic nature of the Town as a whole and specific sites and
structures within the Town for the education and welfare of residents of the
Town, visitors thereto, and sojourners therein;
· Adopting provisions for the appointment of members of the Historic
Preservation Commission, including staggered terms for initial appointments;
· Requiring prior review and comment by the Historic Preservation Commission
on applications for certain building permits, variances, special exceptions,
subdivision plans, zoning reclassification of property, and revisions to the
Town’s Master Plan;
· Providing a source and repository of information, expertise and guidance
regarding issues of historic preservation within the Town; and
· Clarifying the existing Code of Ordinances to expressly include the demolition
of any or all of a structure as requiring a building permit from the Town.
Labor Day Potluck
Celebrate summer’s end by joining your friends and neighbors
at the Labor Day Potluck Supper which begins at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall. Table
service is provided, but please remember to bring your own drinks. An awards
presentation will follow for the weekend’s athletic events and one boy or girl whose
athletic excellence and sportsmanship best exemplify the Washington Grove Spirit will
achieve the distinction of SUPER GROVE.
You are cordially invited to attend a book signing and reception for A
History of the Woman’s Club of Washington Grove by Sylvia Tate Horan. Please join
us on Sunday, September 16, 2001 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at The Woman’s Clubhouse.
Wine and cheese will be served. RSVP to Joli McCathran by September 10. 301-869-
The Woman’s Club, which held its first meeting on July 29, 1926, is celebrating its
75th anniversary by pub lishing this history. The book reveals not only the interests and
activities of the women from the Club’s early years to the present, but also the
influence of the group on the Town. The author, Sylvia Tate Horan, has studied Club
minutes and the Town archives and has gathered photos and personal information from
members and neighbors to authenticate this valuable addition to our history. Copies are
available at the Town Office for $20.
Special Trash Collection
Saturday, September 29
Collection may include furniture, appliances (but not those with Freon), rugs, large
toys, small auto parts, etc. Materials may not include construction by-products, large
automotive parts, or tires. Items must be put at the curb by 7:00 a.m.
Maple Lake News
A reminder that there will not be any lifeguards at the lake as of
Saturday, August 25. They will be returning to school and we do not have any
substitutes. The lake will be open for swimming at your own risk. There has been a
problem with children using the area around the shed at the lake, including the cement
slab at the entrance, for bathroom purposes. Dodie Tippens will answer questions at
Civil War in Montgomery County
Long-time Grove resident Charles Jacobs will
be the featured speaker at the annual Woman’s Club PotLuck Dinner to be held on
Thursday, September 20 at 6:30 p.m. Mary Kay DuBois and Cynthia Werts, co-chairs.
Hazardous Materials Disposal
Sunday, September 9
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shady Grove Transfer Station
Planning Commission News
Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 4, 7:30 p.m.,
Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend.
Grove Singers begin Rehearsals
Tuesday, September 18
Kathy Lehman will direct the Grove Singers Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in
McCathran Hall. The Holiday Concert will be Saturday, December 15. All voices are
needed and encouraged to join the fun! Questions? Call Kathy at 301-926-1253.
Mousetrap Concert Series
Sundays, 3:00 p.m.
October 28, 2001
Pro Musica Choral Ensemble
November 18, 2001
Zurab Ninua, Tenor
March 17, 2002
Lumina String Quartet
April 14, 2002
Juliette Kang, violin
Thomas Kraines, cello
Adult tickets: 4 Concert Series ($50)
single concert ($15)
Children (under 12): 4 Concert Series ($40)
single concert ($12.50)
Programs recommended for children only 7 and older. Call Alice
Negin (301-926-2858) or Ann Briggs (301-926-6347). Tickets are
going fast! Seating is limited.
Town Forester Begins Resident Education Program
Dan Landry, Town Forester, began visiting residents on August 22 to discuss the
health of their trees. This effort is part of the Town’s program, as recommended by the
report of the Tree Advisory Committee, to educate and advise residents on steps they
can take to protect the Town tree canopy. Dan also has been working on a long-term
plan for trees on Town property, which will include an inventory of Town trees to help
in managing and replacing the Town tree canopy. The next scheduled day of visits will
occur on September 9th, when Mr. Landry will visit those residents originally
scheduled for August 12 that was rained out.
When a visit is scheduled, residents are asked to prepare questions for Mr. Landry
before the scheduled time, and are asked to sign a “Town Forester Visit Sheet” that
explains the educational nature of the visit. The visits are scheduled in 30-minute
blocks to allow for all questions to be addressed. If you would like to have a visit from
Mr. Landry, we are scheduling two days in September. The dates below may be the last
for a few months, depending on the weather and leaf- fall.
The two dates are Sunday, September 16, 12:00-6:00 p.m. and Monday, September
24, 4:00-7:00 p.m. If you would like to place your name in the lottery for these two
days please call Darrell Anderson at 301-963-8555 or email at
[email protected] by September 7. Leave a message telling the date and
general time (early or late) you would like a visit. Anyone who signed up in August but
did not have a visit will be given priority for September; however, you still need to
sign up to say that you will be available on those days. The schedule will be distributed
by September 12.
If you are going to erect a building or structure (including fences),
make structural alterations to, or move any existing building or other structure, you
must first obtain a building permit from the Washington Grove Planning Commission.
The Town zoning ordinance governs setbacks, lot coverage, and height. Applications
are available at the Town Office at 301-926-2256. Please allow at least 10 days for
review by the Commission. Call John McClelland at 301-963-3328 if you have
questions about zoning code requirements. Interior renovations, which involve
electrical, plumbing, or load-bearing changes, generally require a County permit. The
Town must first sign off all applications for County-required building permits.
Building Permits Issued
Evans, 317 Brown Street, fence
Menge, 336 Ridge Road, new house
Rent the Woman’s Club House!
Planning a surprise birthday bash, family reunion,
graduation gala, wedding reception, planning session or business meeting . . . consider
the charming wooded setting, spacious main room, screened porch, kitchen and
restroom facilities of the Woman’s Club House. For information or reservations call
Kitty Vogan at 301-840-9416. Heat and air conditioning!!
Come Sing Along!
The Mom’s Club of Great Seneca will host music time for
children at McCathran Hall on Wednesday, September 12 at 10:30 a.m. All Grove
children are invited to participate. Please call Lawren Selby at 301-963-7073 for more
information or if you plan to attend.
To Ralph Hurst for his drawings and help with the bid proposal for replacing the
Maple Lake dock
To Betsy Klinger for shooting wonderful digital photos of the Grove capturing the feel
To the many “Summer in the Parks” parents who go the extra mile in an already
busy July to create a truly wonderful program for Grove children.
To Linda Baim and Co for action-packed weeks of tennis instruction with
considerable doses of hilarity.
The Acorn Library
The Acorn Library is a free, self-service children’s library in Washington Grove. It
contains over 2,400 volumes including toddler books, picture books, easy readers,
fiction, poetry, humor, anthologies, reference books, science, history, biography,
sports, and holiday books. There is also a large collection of children’s magazines that
are available to be used and cut up for school projects, etc.
Where: The library is housed, courtesy of the Klinger family, in two rooms of a greenroofed
garage near the corner of Center Street and Maple Road. Look for the Acorn
Library sign hanging from the windowbox. When: Acorn Library is self-serve and is
available for use at any hour on any day of the year. If you find the door locked, there
is an easy-to-remember code that opens the lock. Call Betsy at 301-977-3517 if you
need the code. If you have trouble with the doorknob, pull it toward you and turn hard
to the right.
Checking out: If you are a new user, you may borrow three books at a time. You will
find a file box of index cards on the desk. List your name and phone number on one
and use it to record the date and the names of books you borrow whenever you visit.
Strike through the titles you have returned. There is no due date, just a limit on the
number of borrowed books you may hold from the library at one time. Regular visitors
may borrow six books.
Questions or Donations? Call Betsy Klinger at 301-977-3517 or E-mail to
Deadline for Next Bulletin
Monday, September 10
Applicant Sought for Board of Zoning Appeals
If you are interested in serving on the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals, please call
Mayor John Compton at 301-330-8264. The Board is authorized to grant variances
from strict application of certain zoning regulations, and to hear and decide requests for
Special Exceptions. The Board consists of three members and an alternate, all
appointed for three-year terms.
Community Service Day Volunteers to Tackle Washington Grove Lane Trash
Amy Porter, Woman’s Club volunteer coordinator, has a plan to clean the trash from
the part of Washington Grove Lane that is within Town boundaries. Save Saturday,
October 27, Community Service Day, to help kick off this campaign!
Four or five teams of adults and young adults will be supplied with equipment to do
the job. Thereafter, one of the five teams, on a rotating basis, will be asked to commit
to spending several hours just once a year to keep the roadway clean of trash. Of
course, additional volunteers will always be welcome. Please call Amy at 301-977-
6768 if you would like to help.
Community and Neighborhood Initiative Grants
The Montgomery County
Regional Services Centers are offering a grant program to community groups who can
use some financial support in the achievement of a community program or initiative.
The maximum grant can be up to $2,500 per entity per year. The application deadline
is November 2 and the application can be downloaded from the Internet at
www.emontgomery.org/grant/grantappdirection.html. Funds are very limited and are
intended for new projects that will benefit the community. Copies of the application
form are available at the Town Office.
Check Out the Town Website!
Coordinator Diana Talbert and volunteers have
been working hard to make the Town’s website attractive and user friendly.
Wednesday, September 5, 7:30 p.m. Town Hall Council Room
Casey Fields Development Issues Status Report
In early August, the Oxbridge
Group filed a pre-preliminary plan with Park and Planning entitled “Casey Property at
Mill Creek”. The plan is very similar to the one presented previously with dense
clustered housing in the residentially zoned part of the Casey property. Town
representatives have met with planning staff and will participate in meetings with the
Development Review Committee.
Mayor and Council Meet with Oxbridge Group
On July 25, Mayor John Compton and the Town Council met with representatives of The Oxbridge Group,
contract purchasers of the 65-acre parcel along Ridge Road currently owned by the
Casey Trust. William Chen, the Town’s advocate in development of the Casey tract,
and Stephen Kaufman, representing developer Sami Totah of Oxbridge, arranged the
The purpose of this meeting was to view a revised residential
development plan proposed for the Casey field. The pre-preliminary plan, which Mr.
Kaufman indicated could be filed as early as the next day, was not different in any
substantial way from the previous plan. Steve Gang described the plan that calls for
162 dwelling units, a combination of 141 single-family homes and 21 townhouses
clustered on about 50 acres of the 65-acre tract. The plan shows a junior soccer field
and tot lot next to Ridge Road, and a tennis court and basketball court next to the
townhouses in the subdivision’s interior. Mr. Totah reported that the single-family
homes are expected to sell for $400,000 to $500,000. The single- family homes will
have garages behind with a distance of 30 feet between garages. Paved width of alleys
will be 14 feet.
Mr. Kaufman listed the following advantages to Washington Grove if
the Town were to annex the new subdivision prior to development: more compatible
infrastructure because County road construction requirements would not be applicable;
more control over the configuration of Amity Drive through the subdivision; lots of
new residents and accompanying increase in property tax revenue; flexibility in lot size
to trade smaller lot sizes for additional recreation or open space. Mr. Kaufman did not
know whether the requirement to build some moderately priced dwelling units would
apply if the land were developed under Washington Grove’s zoning code. Advantages
to the developer would be lower costs to develop infrastructure and ease of project
acceptance. Disadvantages to the Town would include the developer’s desire to
maintain the proposed high density and the likelihood that the Town’s legal and
engineering expenses connected with the development would greatly exceed the
revenue generated from fees paid to the Town by the developer.
Mr. Kaufman stated that he had not spoken to Barbara Sears,
an attorney practicing with Linowes and Blocher, about the plans of her client KSI.
Town representatives had learned from County planning staff that Ms. Sears represents
a potential buyer of the Casey industrial parcel who is interested in getting a special
exception from the County Board of Zoning Appeals to permit mixed- use productivity
housing on the industrial parcel. If the industrial parcel were to be developed, then
Crabbs Branch Way would be extended to connect with Amity Drive.
When asked about the roads and alleys running
perpendicular to Ridge Road in the upper field indicating a desire line for connection to
Washington Grove, planner Steve Gang defended the plan stating that planners today
like connectivity between communities. Town representatives asked about the “paper
connections” to Ridge Road shown on the plan. Mr. Gang asserted that County
planners would require at least one emergency access connection to Ridge Road.
Mayor Compton suggested that Amity Drive be redesigned to be even more circuitous
to moderate speeding and cut-through traffic. Bill Chen asked if Amity Drive could be
“plugged” in the middle.
Intercounty Connector Reservation
The land held in reservation by the State was
released from reservation in June 2001. There was some discussion about whether the
plan for dense residential development close to Washington Grove could be flipped to
have the development occur on the property formerly held in reserve closer to “The
Grove” shopping center, leaving more open space near Washington Grove. Mr. Totah
emphasized that if he were to submit a development plan to the County for the land
formerly held in reserve, a previously agreed-upon alternative cluster plan would be
necessary to be used in the event the initial plan was rejected.
“Active Adult” Housing
The possibility of up to 50% of the development being
devoted to “active adult” housing was raised by Mr. Totah. This housing was described
as single-family dwelling units that included a ground- floor bedroom. One of the
occupants of these houses must be 55 years or older and this requirement runs with the
land from owner to owner.
Peggy Odick stressed that the Town’s major concerns remain
density, recreation, open space, and access to Ridge Road. Sami Totah said that a 50-
foot strip of land along Ridge Road could be conveyed to Washington Grove and
dedicated to public use. He said that he would sell the Town additional land for full
market value. Tricia Knox stated that the Town would like the entire length of Ridge
Road to be buffered from the impact of development. Darrell Anderson expressed
concern that the historic nature of the Town could be damaged by incompatible
development. Sami Totah reported that he had not yet chosen a name for the
development. According to Oxb ridge, a homeowner’s association would be responsible
for maintenance of new recreation facilities and the development would be too small to
support a community building. Oxbridge was asked to consider a swimming pool in the
interior of the development. Mr. Kaufman stated that the Oxbridge Group would keep
an open dialog with both the Town and members of the Greater Shady Grove Civic
Alliance to help resolve obstacles to development.
URGENT! Individual Letters to Planning Board Needed Now
Letters to the Planning Board opposing the Oxbridge development plan that threatens the historic
character of Washington Grove and its uniqueness in the County are needed now. The
plan’s grossly incompatible architectural scale and high-density neo-urban community
lacks sufficient recreational facilities. Its physical layout shows streets perpendicular to
Ridge Road with “paper” connections to Ridge Road, setting up an ambiguous
relationship with the Town. Washington Grove is seeking an undeveloped buffer along
all of Ridge Road. The plan is entitled Casey Property at Mill Creek, Plan No. 702004.
Letters may be addressed to: Honorable Arthur Holmes, Jr., Chairman, Montgomery
County Planning Board, M-NCPPC, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910-
3760. If you have questions, please call the Town Office at 301-926-2256.
About 900 Residential Units Proposed for Casey Industrial Tract
On August 16th Mr. Bruce Knapp of KSI Services Inc. discussed their development concept with
town representatives (including the Mayor, Councilperson Peggy Odick, Planning
Commission Chairman John McClelland, Dave Stopak and our attorney Bill Chen).
KSI has contracted to purchase the land from the Casey Trust for as much as $19
million. They intend to apply for a special exception use as allowed by the County in
the I1 zone for “Productivity Housing”, where at least 35% of the units must be
affordable to families with incomes below the County median income (this is not lowincome
housing). Of the 40+ acres, 20+ were deemed developable with the remainder
wetlands and streambeds to be left as open space. The plan described was entirely
residential, and featured extension of Crabbs Branch Way to the Oxbridge (Sami
Totah) Casey development which would access all units. Over 550 apartment units
were planned on the 13 acre-tract between Shady Grove Rd., Crabbs Branch and I370;
and on the 7+ buildable acres north of I370 would be placed 70-100 townhomes along
I370, 172 multi- family apartment units adjacent to Robert’s Oxygen and the railroad
tracks, and south of Brown St would be about 80 units for the “active” elderly. Mr.
Knapp said they planned to submit the plan to Park and Planning in September.
Information on KSI is available at [email protected]
Website Coordinator: [email protected]
Town Hall: Center Street & Chestnut Road, Washington Grove
Office Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Closed Wednesday mornings
Hall Scheduler Jenny Long 301-869-3824
Maintenance: Jim Fletcher 301-963-5850
Street Light Out: Vicki Erhart 301-208-9442
Building Permits: John McClelland 301-963-3328
County Animal Control: 301-279-1066
County Police Non-Emergency: 301-279-8000