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Next meeting: Monday, February 12 19, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the January meetings include:

  • awarding the contract updating/revising the historic district nomination to Robinson & Associates in the amount of $29,950.00.
  • Council support for testimony by John Compton at a Montgomery County public hearing on the shared use bike path where he will represent the Town’s current position.
  • approval of drafting an ordinance to provide a process for the transfer of Town properties to adjacent property owners consistent with the 1987 Sale of Surplus Property policy.

From the Mayor…

Special Town Council Meeting: The continuation of the Special Meeting of the Town Council to address the petition requesting the Mayor and Town Council “to declare as surplus parcels and sell the parcels according to the Town Policy for Sale of Surplus Land” was held on January 4, 2018. At this meeting a motion was made request an ordinance be prepared to provide a process for the transfer of Town properties to adjacent property owners consistent with the 1987 Sale of Surplus Property policy. The motion was seconded and carried by a 3 to 2 vote. This is considered a favorable action on the proposed petition.

Bike Path Planning: Mayor Joli McCathran and Council Members Greg Silber and Shelley Winkler met with the City of Gaithersburg executives and planning staff in regard to bike paths. The purpose was to learn of Gaithersburg’s plans for bikeways within its jurisdiction; and plans to align with County plans for constructing or extending bikeways planned by the County. Our intent was not to present any particular Town of Washington Grove position, only to learn of the City’s plans, roles, and processes; and how we might be involved particularly with a view toward ensuring Washington Grove’s positions and views regarding bikeways are fully represented in any ongoing plans and processes.

Among the main interests for Gaithersburg is to connect such areas, especially transportation hubs, as Montgomery Village, Lake Forest Mall, Mid-County Highway, etc. with MARC and Metro Stations. While no specific routes have been proposed, possibilities staff have discussed, and as identified in the 2017 Draft County Bicycle Master Plan, include bikeways;

  • connecting Amity Drive, through or near Washington Grove, to Piedmont Crossing and the Shady Grove Metro Station;
  • using various connections to Crabbs Branch for the same purpose;
  • using Oakmont Avenue, Railroad Street, the neighborhood streets of West Deer Park, possible locations along the railroad tracks, and/or Brown Street via Central Avenue and/or along Girard Street, for the same purpose;

Gaithersburg staff emphasized these are thoughts/possibilities only. Gaithersburg expects to report on results of its work in approximately one year.

Restoration of Highway User Revenue (HUR): As you may know, I am a member of the Maryland Municipal League’s (MML) Legislative Committee. We are making the restoration of Highway User Revenues our highest priority for the 2018 Legislative Session. MML has produced a 60-second Public Service Announcement. Please view at: 2018 HUR PSA #1.

The legislation for HUR restoration will be subject to a hearing in the House Environment and Transportation Committee on March 2nd at 1:00 p.m. in the Taylor House Office Building. Estimates due to the Town for FY-2018 is $29,294 and in FY-2019 is $29,799. We will only receive these funds if HUR funds are restored. Please consider contacting your State Delegation to support the restoration of HUR funds. Our District 39 Delegation is Senator Nancy King, Delegates Charles Barkley, Kirill Resnick, and Shane Robinson.

Joli A. McCathran, Mayor

Important Message for Washington Grove Taxpayers

Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State income tax paid by Town residents. Because our residents do not have mail delivered to street addresses, this presents a challenge for the State Comptroller’s office when attributing the taxes collected to Washington Grove. It is critical that all Washington Grove residents (including renters!) designate “Washington Grove.” For Maryland iFile, under “Name of county and incorporated city, town, or special taxing area in which you were a resident on the last day of the taxable period”, select “Montgomery, Washington Grove” from the drop down menu. This block is separate from the address blocks. Turbo Tax and H&R Block software also include drop down menus where you may select “Montgomery County” and then “Washington Grove.” Please share this information with your renters and your tax preparer if appropriate. This DOES NOT increase your taxes, but DOES help ensure that the Town receives its proper share of local income tax revenue. Thanks for your help! Questions, call Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498.

Shady Grove Metro Station

Do you want a second access to the platform at the Shady Grove Metro to relieve current peak hour crowding? Several alternative plans for this were floated by WMATA several years ago. But nothing further has happened! Should Metro upgrade the Shady Grove Metro station in other ways?

If you are concerned, consider dashing off comments to WMATA on priorities in their FY19 budget!!!

WMATA/METRO’s held a Public Hearing on January 31 regarding WMATA’s proposed FY19 Budget. They are very likely to have held the Public Record open for at least a week to Feb 7. You can provide comments to Metro via the following website: https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/budget/. Issues such as the Shady Grove Metro station limitations should be highlighted to WMATA.
John Compton
Town Council Member

Planning Commission News…

Next meeting: Wed, February 7, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
Modification to Building Permit Process
The Planning Commission is changing the building permit application deadline to 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.

Historic Preservation Commission News…

Next meeting: Tuesday, February 20, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.


By Wendy E. Harris
Historic Preservation Commission

For the past few months, the HPC (in consultation with the Maryland Historic Trust) has been developing a scope of work to prepare an updated and expanded National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Washington Grove Historic District. This January the Town awarded a contract to Robinson & Associates of Washington, D.C. who will now undertake this project. The contract will run for two years with a completion date of August 31, 2019.

The original nomination was finalized in the late 1970s, with the actual designation occurring in 1980. Although the National Register of Historic Places was created in 1966, it was quite slow to evolve. As a result, Washington Grove’s nomination document was very much a product of the “early days” in preparing historic district nominations. Since that time new concepts, standards, and criteria have been developed that were not considered in the original nomination, which for example, contained descriptions of only eight “representative” buildings, reflecting only a single period of significance (the Camp Meeting Era). The loosely defined boundaries of the original historic district were another problem. In fact, in one version of the nomination much of the West Woods was excluded from the historic district. Although designation as a historic district has proven valuable over the years, several of the original nomination’s omissions have hindered the Town in its efforts to protect its historic character. This became evident in 2013 when Preservation Maryland listed Washington Grove among the state’s most endangered historic places.

All of these issues, and others, will be addressed as Robinson & Associates revises the 1980 nomination. Over the years, the firm has completed historic preservation projects for the National Mall Historic District, Antietam National Battlefield, Appomattox Court House, Georgetown Historic District, and Shenandoah National Park. We are very excited about working with them. Washington Grove residents are encouraged to look for more descriptions of work on the historic district updating in upcoming issues of “The Town Bulletin.”

Recreation Committee News…

Next Meeting: Wed., April 18, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. This meeting is open to the public.

Swing Time Big Band to Play for Town Dance

Saturday, February 10, 2018 McCathran Hall, 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Dance Instructor Frank Stanek will give a dance lesson beginning at 7 p.m. All free of charge. Come to dance or listen and shake off those wintertime blues!

Sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee

Summer In The Parks

SITP 2018 Enrollment Form >> 

It’s that time of year when the Town of Washington Grove announces plans for yet another exciting July full of fun and adventure! For decades, Washington Grove’s SITP program has been a unique, unparalleled camp for children to spend their summer in a healthy, wholesome, outdoor environment. Come play games, make arts and crafts, spend time at Maple Lake, star in a Grove-worthy entertainment production, and best of all, make new friends. It all happens in the bucolic setting of Washington Grove, known best as the Town within a Forest.

Summer In The Parks is a comprehensive program for children entering Kindergarten up to children entering 8th Grade by September 2018. Many of the camp participants are children that live within the Town limits, but each summer children from outside the Grove also attend and share the magic. When the Grove children become too old to attend the camp, they often continue as volunteers or counselors to help teach the younger generation what they’ve been lucky enough to experience in previous summers.

Summer In The Parks is staffed by paid directors and camp counselors, as well as volunteers. This year the camp will take place from July 3 to July 26, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Campout on July 27. Campers begin each day at McCathran Hall.
All campers must have a completed registration form, waiver and payment mailed to address on the registration form.

Film Society News…

Join your neighbors on Sunday, February 11, at 7 PM, for an acclaimed movie from Sweden, My Life as a Dog. Ingemar, 12, is too much for his ailing mother to handle and is sent to country relatives. To fortify himself against life’s vicissitudes, he ponders the worse plight of Laika, the Soviet space dog. This coming of age movie is both sensitive and charming. Directed by Lasse Hallström, 1985, Sweden, Swedish with English subtitles,101 minutes. Tickets are $7 at the door.

Forestry & Beautification News…

Next Meeting: March 14, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.

Woman’s Club News…

Please join us on Saturday, February 17, 2018, for our Annual Chili Supper!
Wow, it’s time to pull out your favorite chili, corn bread or coleslaw receips for our ever popular Annual Chili Supper, Saturday February 17, 2018, starting at 6:00 PM at McCathran Hall.

We need both meat and vegetarian chili, mild, medium and hot! Plus, we need lots of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and guacamole! So, please contact Sylvia Appleby at 301-926-9094 ([email protected]) and let her know what you’ll be bringing. Sylvia will be reaching out to volunteers soon. This is a wonderful, family event for the whole Town, so please plan to join us.

Remember, if you haven’t sent in your 2018 dues yet, they are still a great bargain at $15! Make the check out to Washington Grove Woman’s Club and send to Cynthia Werts at Box 232, Washington Grove 20880 – or bring it to the Chili Supper. All women in Town are invited and encouraged to join!

Many thanks to everyone who contributed their time, energy, food and White Elephants to our annual January White Elephant Auction! The evening was both fun and successful, and we made over $1,600 to help support our 2018 projects!

Washington Grove Methodist Church News

You are cordially invited to join us on February 13th, at 6:00 PM, for our Annual Sausage and Pancakes Shrove Tuesday dinner. The men are cooking, so it should be delicious!

Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880. Rev. EunJoung Joo (301-947-0532).

Emergency Preparedness Committee

Next Meeting: Thursday, February 22, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend. We are also looking for new committee members. If you are interested in helping the Town be prepared for emergencies, please join us! Our recent discussions included topics such as an emergency generator for the Town Hall, installing reflective street signs, rebooting the neighborhood watch, and evaluating emergency communication systems.

Dog Park Work Group

The next scheduled meeting of the Dog Park Work Group will take place on FEBRUARY 10TH at 3:30 pm in McCathran Hall. Mark your calendars for the following 2018 meetings; Feb. 10th and March 3rd. All meetings begin at 3:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

Please, Don’t Feed the Wildlife

Acknowledging there are good, kind intentions to provide food to our ‘wild neighbor’ foxes, such actions often have negative consequences. Wild animals will become habituated to those food offerings and less wary of human presence. They will be emboldened to enter yards looking for ‘handouts’ even in the presence of domestic animals (dogs, cats) and people including children. This often leads to confrontations with other wildlife (e.g. raccoons), pets, and people. The bad outcomes include perception that the wild animal is demonstrating ‘unusual behavior’, promoting aggressive fights with animals (competing for food/territory), injuries to pets and people from bite wounds – and the subsequent capture/euthanasia of the wild animal (fox) for unwarranted rabies testing – or unnecessary and costly rabies post exposure treatment of people/pets.

In general, feeding wildlife is not advised. Encouraging wild animals to congregate at feeding stations, including bird feeders, has predisposed to transmission and spread of diseases such as rabies and canine distemper (raccoons, skunks, foxes), and mycoplasma conjunctivitis and salmonellosis (songbirds).

Our wild neighbors understand their natural world and how to survive in it. Natural predators (foxes) know how to hunt for their prey (small mammals, insects, birds) which are plentiful in our town. They need to teach their young to hunt as well – and not seek pet food.

Please do not feed the foxes and other wildlife – rather, appreciate their wildness, protect their habitat, and be happy they decided to live among us.
Pat Klein, MS VMD & Town Council Member

Joint Work Session Scheduled

The Town Council, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission will hold a joint work session on February 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall. The purpose of this work session is to discuss issues of mutual concerns. If you have items you wish to have these groups discuss together, please contact Mayor McCathran at [email protected] or 301-869-5358.

Budget Work Session

The Budget Work Session has been scheduled for Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.

Washington Grove Cares

Volunteer or request assistance
[email protected]

Woods Committee News…

Next Meeting: Monday, February 5, 2018; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. The Woods Committee meets on the first Monday of each month. The March meeting is March 5, 2018. Please join us!


Woods Committee Vision & Mission >> 

Woods Committee Vision

Washington Grove’s Forest Preserve is a diverse, multi-storied, self-sustaining ecology of native trees, shrubs and plants. Its hallmarks are a full canopy, a succession of native trees and a wide variety of native plants at every level of the forest. As a vibrant ecosystem it supports native plant species and habitat for native animal communities, continuously enhances the soil, and resists the invasion of non-native species.

Woods Committee Mission

The Woods Committee is charged with following the Forestry Stewardship Plan which was approved and adopted by the Town of Washington Grove in December 2015. This plan takes an integrated approach to forest health restoration and management of the town’s Forest Preserve which encompasses both the East and West Woods. The plan is intended to prevent further degradation of the Forest Preserve, to offer a roadmap for restoring and preserving it as a healthy, self-sustaining forest ecosystem, and to help ensure that its benefits are available to future generations.

Actions supporting the Mission include:

  • minimize over-browsing by deer
  • remove and control the spread of non-native invasive plants
  • plant native trees to fill holes in the canopy and reforest open areas
  • proactively protect native trees at all stages of growth to rebuild the natural succession
  • re-establish a healthy mid- and understory through regrowth and replanting
  • protect existing tree canopy, reforested areas, sensitive plant and animal habitats and other high-priority areas through education, signage and, if necessary, physical barriers
  • protect sensitive areas—federal and state-designated wetlands, streams and their buffers, 100-year flood plains, habitats of threatened and endangered species, and steep slopes—from the adverse effects of development and over-use
  • preserve the natural quiet and unique forest auditory experience which includes the presence of birdsong, movement in leaf litter, wind through trees and other woodland sounds as well as the absence of man-made noise pollution from motors and active recreation

Benefits of a Healthy Town Forest Preserve

  • Improves air quality and moderates temperature
  • Provides protected habitat for plants and wildlife in a region of diminishing habitat. Protection includes quiet for breeding and nesting, walkways that avoid nesting and breeding sites, and a healthy mid-story which many birds require.
  • Prevents erosion and water quality degradation of the headwaters of 3 significant waterways.
  • As a place of quiet, beauty, inspiration and sanctuary, it enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors and offers opportunities for passive recreation, exploration and discovery throughout the year
  • It is an important part of the town’s identity (A Town within a Forest), a contributing factor to the Washington Grove experience, and a setting that, in all likelihood, adds to the value of homes in town
  • Provides natural buffer from surrounding development.

Woods Preservation Accomplishments to Date


  • TC approved Forestry Stewardship Plan (Bill Bond report) describing the health status of East and West Woods and extent of impact by non-native invasive plants
  • WC formulated the WG integrated forest restoration plan for invasive plant control, deer population control, and reforestation with the goal of a self-sustaining healthy woods ecosystem containing a variety of native hardwood trees, plants, and wildlife; natural tree succession; and a full canopy with diverse understory. (See diagrams below)
  • WC volunteer activities included trail maintenance, trash removal, invasive plant mechanical removal, and native tree planting.
  • 2016
  • Town budget (FY2017) approved for non-native invasive plant control
  • WC assessed and mapped the impact of invasive plant in East Woods
  • WC prepared RFP for distribution to potential contractors
  • WC conducted on-site visits with potential contractors discussing mechanical and chemical methods
  • TC reviewed contractor bids and invited potential contractor to TC meeting to answer questions
  • WC volunteer activities included trail maintenance, trash removal, invasive plant mechanical removal, and native tree planting.


  • Invasive Plant Control, Inc. (IPC) representatives attended TC meeting to explain their procedures
  • TC unanimously approved IPC contract and scheduled an informational meeting for town residents
  • WC hosted informational meeting with IPC representatives for town residents in February 2017
  • IPC initiated first mechanical and chemical treatments on wisteria and Japanese honeysuckle in spring. Later treatments targeted stilt grass, mile-a-minute, and English ivy in summer and fall.
  • WC hosted second Informational meeting on ‘Saving the Woods’ for town residents in April 2017 presenting an overview of integrated forest restoration plan, invasive plant impacts and control methods, and deer population control options.
  • Town budget (FY2018) was approved to continue IPC contract
  • WC developed “Criteria for Decision-making” guide for objective long-range planning
  • WC co-sponsors ‘Hometown Habitat’ film with Recreation Committee to inform town residents on gardening with native plants.
  • WC volunteer activities included trail maintenance, trash removal, invasive plant mechanical removal, and native tree planting


  • WC will assess first year progress on invasive plant control in East Woods
  • Continue FY2018 IPC contract
  • WC volunteer activities included trail maintenance, trash removal, invasive plant mechanical removal, and native tree planting.

Town Elections Will Be Here Soon….

Town elections will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 4:00-7:00 PM. Any Town resident registered to vote in Montgomery County is qualified. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for two years immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for a one-year term as Mayor. Any qualified voter who has lived in Town for at least one year immediately preceding the election is eligible to run for Town Council.

This year there are four Council seats open: two three-year terms, one two-year term and one one-year term. The two shorter terms are completions following resignations. They represent an opportunity to get involved without the longer commitment normally required. Washington Grove is governed by citizen volunteers, and our democracy requires your participation! Please consider whether this might be a way for you to serve and contribute.

Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Chair, Meredith Horan, at PO Box 337, 127 Maple Ave. Absentee ballots are available from the same address upon written request explaining the voter’s unavailability during the election hours.


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