19 February 2018 | Approved: 12 March 2018
Mayor Joli McCathran called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:31 p.m. In attendance were Council Members John Compton, Pat Klein, Audrey Maskery, John McClelland, Shelley Winkler and Treasurer Mary Challstrom. Also in attendance were Historic Preservation Commission Chair Bob Booher, and residents Charlie Challstrom, Georgette Cole, Dave Cosson, Larry French, Bruce Rothrock, Jane Seegal, Sharon Sisson, Rico Sturniolo and District 39 candidate Gabriel Asavaro. Property owners Dennis Kane and Donna Shriner were also in attendance. Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey arrived at 8:10 p.m.
Approval of Agenda:
Pat Klein moved to approve the agenda. Shelly Winkler seconded the motion. John McClelland requested the addition of three (3) draft ordinances addressing the sale of surplus land specific to 315 Grove Avenue, 409 5th Avenue and 15 The Circle. Mayor McCathran said only the procedural ordinance was approved to move forward but the three (3) ordinances could be discussed under Item 7 (Ordinance to Establish a Process for Sale of Surplus Properties for Main Buildings constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove). Vote: 5-0, approved.
District 39 Candidate Gabriel Asavaro introduced himself and distributed some information about his platform.
Approval of Minutes:
Audrey Maskery moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on January 8, 2018 and post them to the website. Pat Klein seconded the motion.
Vote: 4-0, approved, as amended. Shelley Winkler abstained.
Pat Klein moved to approve the minutes from the Special Town Council meeting on November 27, 2017 and January 4, 2018 and post them to the website. Additional edits were made.
Vote: 5-0 (11/27/17 minutes), as amended.
Vote: 4-0 (1/4/18), as amended, John McClelland abstained.
Treasurers Report 2017-January pdf
The Treasurer’s Report for February was accepted by general consensus. The Budget Work Session is scheduled for March 26, 2018.
Shelley Winkler moved to transfer $5K from savings to checking to pay bills. Pat Klein seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Ordinance to Establish a Process for Sale of Surplus Properties for Main Buildings constructed in Part on Land Owned by the Town of Washington Grove:
Mayor McCathran reviewed the background for this item and opened the floor for discussion. There was a discussion about the following:
- Use of the term “surplus land”
- Use of January 2018 as the date constructed or limit to historic homes
- Permanent Easement at 203 2nd Avenue in place
- Concerns that land sales would create strangely-shaped municipal rights-of-way lines
- Applying restrictions to land sales specific to each property
- Removing main buildings and specific properties from the proposed ordinance
- Preservation input
- HPC documentation same for both easement and sale
- Enforcement of covenants
- Writing covenant restrictions into a general enabling ordinance
- The need to add language about percentage of lot coverage to proposed ordinance
- Developing a formula to help determine allowable size of parcels to be sold
Mayor McCathran stated it was obvious no decisions would be made at this meeting as the discussion could continue for a long time and thought a work session should be scheduled.
15 The Circle Easement – Vote for Approval:
It was reported the home is under contract. Mayor McCathran stated current owner Taunton Paine wants to put the permanent easement in place. Joli will contact the homeowner to determine if he is ready for the Council to address approval of the ordinance as currently written.
Emergency Preparedness Committee – Generator Request for Proposal (RFP):
Thanks were given to Dave Cosson for his work on the RFP documentation for the purchase of a generator. Thanks were also given to Steve Werts and John McClelland for their input and attendance at the recent EPC meeting. The following items were discussed:
- Scope of work/specifics
- Cost – the large portion being installation regardless of the generator size
- Evaluation of potential needs
- Transfer circuits
- Specific areas to power
- Continuity of government operations
- Being good stewards of the building
- Professional liability
- Noise screening compatible with the building
In conclusion, Dave will send the draft of the RFP to Mayor McCathran who will then send it to the Town attorney for legal review.
Street Sign Standards – Report from HPC:
The street sign rehabilitation group continues to work on Town signs using a process they created. Approval of a set of standards (letter height,
length of sign etc.) and of examples of the signs before they are re-installed should be done by the HPC. The spread sheet of sign work was also reviewed.
Bike Path Meeting with Gaithersburg:
Mayor McCathran reported she, Shelley Winkler and Greg Silber met with Gaithersburg City staff about the bike path. She stated that the Gaithersburg staff were helpful in describing their process, starting soon, for studying bike path locations and that they would be open to continued communication with the Town as their studies progress. Gaithersburg is also interested in providing bike connections to the Shady Grove Metro. The City will be working with a consultant. A thoughtful discussion included:
- engaging with the County about location before a site study is begun is premature
- engaging with the County about location now is proactive
- engaging with the County about location in tandem with the County’s work on a site study would be most helpful.
Additional statements included the importance of forming a Town position now in terms of potential locations within the Town, using Oakmont Avenue for a dedicated path to Gaithersburg and to the Metro and whether or not to use Town roads.
M-NCPPC Bile Path Draft Testimony:
John Compton reported he attended the Bikeways Master Plan Hearing where he testified in support of a higher priority for the site study. There was a discussion about protocol when speaking as a member of the Council, as some Council members said they did not receive the proposed testimony in time to review it and that in their view the testimony included items that they did not approve as representing the current position of the Council.
Set Public Hearing Date for Local Map Amendment – Rezoning for East Woods:
The hearing will take place on March 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM.
Potential Topics for Discussion at Joint Work Session, February 26, 2018:
Potential topics for discussion are the Planning Commission’s proposed Ordinance 2018-02 (Sale of Surplus Land), Rentals and Registration Process and Enforcement, Multi-Family Dwelling Units and Accessory Dwelling Units.
John McClelland moved to approve and post the Council Reports. Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. John McClelland distributed additional information concerning McCathran Hall. Shelley Winkler encouraged the Council to review their areas of responsibility on the Town website and make certain there are procedures for those commissions/committees/volunteers to regularly review and update their respective web pages. . Pat Klein reported the Dog Park site known as 3A has some problems with the proximity to the road and tree removal. This will be adjusted a bit and she will have more next month. Vote: 5-0, as amended.
Mayor McCathran reported the following:
201 Washington Grove Lane – Upon inspection, Montgomery County found the possibility of overcrowding and ingress/egress violations in the basement and untagged automobiles on the property.
Block 11 – There was a complaint about ice causing a dangerous situation on the brick walkway leading to #8 and #6 The Circle and 203 2nd Avenue. The Mayor offered to have the bricks removed and add gravel. The offer was declined.
Daylily Lane: A meeting took place with Montgomery County concerning the salting of this road by Montgomery County snow removal crews. Mayor McCathran put in a work order with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation for the installation of clearer road signs at Washington Grove Lane and Daylily Lane.
Maintenance: Audrey Maskery reported Maintenance Supervisor will retire at some point and asked the Council to start thinking about hiring another full-time person to shadow Steve in order to train a new person for the position. This would be similar to an apprentice position. She will review budget numbers with Steve.
Recording Meetings: Audrey Maskery requested the Council consider recording their meetings.
There being no further business, the regular meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
TC REPORTS – March 2018
MAPLE LAKE – Patrice Klein
The Lake Committee held its first meeting of the season on February 22, 2018. The Lake will open on Memorial Day weekend (5/26-28) and continue on weekends until school ends on June 12th when it will open full time through the summer.
Lake clean-up: Scheduled on Saturday April 21th at 10:00 AM in conjunction with the Woods Committee’s West Woods Clean-up event. Notices will be posted in the March and April Town Bulletins.
Maintenance: The bubbler near the dock will be fixed and a new ladder with handrails will be installed on the dock. Water-sealer will be applied to the dock and bridge. Any holes in the fence around the lake will be repaired including a large hole caused by tree damage on the far side. Coliform testing will be conducted monthly in June through August by Water Testing Labs. Algae and pond week control will be conducted every 3 weeks by NatureWorksCWA beginning in May.
Safety: The committee agreed to explore arranging for a security guard company to patrol the lake in the spring. MCPD is also willing to patrol the lake area during their patrol rounds.
Lifeguards and swim lessons: At least 2 guards from last year are available but several more life guards still are needed. Last year’s swim instructor has some limited availability this season but discussions are underway to accommodate the swim lessons schedules.
Proposed Lake Budget FY2019:
- Salaries (lifeguards and swim instructor) – $17 K
- Supplies $1 K ; Electric pump/air compressor – $800
- Water testing & treatment – $4.5 K
- Storm drain channel/ entrance bridge – $7.5 K
- Lake security – TBD
The Lake Committee will continue to meet monthly on the 3rd Thursday. Next meeting is scheduled on March 15, 2018.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & SAFETY – Patrice Klein
Generator Update: The final draft RFP which includes comments from the Town Hall liaison was forwarded to the Town Council for discussion at the February 19 Council meeting.
FY 2019 Budget Items: The Committee submitted the following Proposed FY 2019 Budget: Town Hall Generator ($13,000), Fire hydrant marking ($500), Emergency Communications ($3,000), and Neighborhood Watch ($700).
Fire Hydrant Marking: WSSC will be contacted for suggestions on marking hydrants for easy location by emergency responders, and also for permission to mark the hydrants in Town.
County Hazard Mitigation Meeting: Two EPC members attended the Hazard Mitigation Planning Meeting hosted by the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) on February 6 in Gaithersburg. An earlier “Kick-Off Meeting” was held on December 14, 2017 with municipalities to work collectively on the Hazard Mitigation Plan 2018. Since no Town representatives attended that earlier meeting, EPC members worked directly with OEMHS representative, Michael Boldosser, on a Risk Assessment Exercise to evaluate and rank previously profiled hazards. EPC will follow up to draft the “Evaluation of Identified Hazards and Risks” and the “Capability Assessment Survey” and share those drafts with other Committee members and the Mayor. The EPC will be represented at the March 28th meeting with the Mayor and Michael Boldosser.
Proposed Street Light: Committee members evaluated the adequacy of street lighting in the vicinity of the Railroad Street/Grove Road intersection and nearby crosswalk in regards to Town resident crossing safety to/from the MARC commuter trains during low ambient light conditions. There is no effective street lighting at the crosswalk and associated bus stops. The Committee recommends a new street light on a new pole be installed at the crosswalk.
The next EPC meeting will be held on March 22, 2018.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Next Forestry and Beautification meeting 13 March 2018
Several trees were lost during the last wind storm; one of the victims a large Oak growing on the corner of Grove Avenue and Oak Street. Fortunately the falling tree did not hit any property, or the Stewartia growing in close proximity, a Star Magnolia lost a limb but will recover. Another casualties a Black Locus on the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Center Street, and two Pines both on private property one on Grove Avenue and another on Pine Avenue.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Removal of branches and other debris from wind storm taken to dump. Large limbs cut in lengths and left for use of Town residence. Footers dug and concrete poured for new playground equipment. Met with sales rep from the playground company to discuss a problem with the new teeter totter (center poles split). Two new poles will be supplied by the playground company.
The Old Council Room floor replacement was completed. Old table in the Council Room is in the process of refurbishment.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – Joli A. McCathran
In February, the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League met with County Executive Isaiah Leggett to discuss local concerns. Discussion included the 311 Montgomery County system, local road issues, and the upcoming County elections.
On March 7, I along with approximately 100 other Mayors throughout Maryland, testified in support of the restoration of highway user revenue fund to municipalities before the State Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The message was well received, and we strongly supported urged the Committee to bring these bills to the Senate for a full vote. We also testified the same message before the House Environmental and Transportation Committee in February with the same number of municipal officials.
I was invited by Councilmember Sidney Katz, along with the mayors of Gaithersburg and Rockville, to attend a vigil honoring the students who were victims of the mass school shooting in the Parkland, Florida. The turn-out was good and hopefully brought more attention for school safety not only locally but nationwide.
PLANNING COMMISSION – John McClelland
123 Washington Grove Ln – Addition – approved. Bob Booher also reported that the front of the home was retained in its current form (second story not added) after the owner and design builder met with the HPC and incorporated the HPC’s recommendation.
203 2nd Ave Easement:
- PC reviewed approved building plans and easement documents. Two treads were included on the east side of the porch with one of those treads outside of the easement land area. During the home construction, the foundation setbacks and the height of the structure were measured and verified for conformance.
- Ralph Hurst said that two courses of cinder block were added so a 4’-5’ crawl space was converted into a 6’-7’ basement – which also raised the porch floor elevation. Stairs and railings were then added on the west side of the porch (without an adjusted building permit/plans) and extended onto Town land outside of the easement.
- The HPC inspected the completed project in 2017 and awarded the WG renovation award.
- Bob Booher (HPC chair) stated that the purpose of the easement was to preserve the relationship of the parcel to the historic district, scale, use and compatibility… the HPC is less concerned with lines, boundaries and borders. He suggested a modification to the easement to allow the newly constructed stairs and railings vs. altering the original porch design.
- Joli McCathran (Mayor who lives across 2nd Ave) said the “pre fire” cottage had the same ridge height and porch roof height as the neighboring cottage (315 Grove Ave) but is now significantly higher. She also stated that when the Town retains ownership (i.e. easement) it has more control and can take legal action/go to court if necessary.
- After much deliberation the PC agreed to add ongoing and final building inspections (including pictures) as part of the building permit application/approval process.
- The PC also agreed that the current stairs require modification. The top tread or two will be cut into the porch (as the porch extends 15” past the side of the home), the ground elevation/grading will be raised and a natural granite/stone will be located at the base of the stairs. These actions will return the stairs to the original approved plan projections (although on the west side vs. the east side) and retain the original porch design.
Draft Ordinances for the Disposal of Certain Property and Abandonment of Its Public Use:
- The three (3) companion draft ordinances (15 The Circle, 315 Grove Ave and 409 5th Ave) were approved for presentation to the TC.
- The PC understands that these three draft ordinances were previously sent to the Town attorney for review and comment.
WSSC Sewer Pipe Repair:
Sewer lines will be relined, repaired or replaced throughout the Town. WSSC will be working on man holes and “bursting out” 6” pipe to 8” pipe. Digging in the avenues and/or roadways will be kept to a minimum and hopefully not significantly disturbed. The Town will continue to request public ways and property permits, however, it is believed that utility companies and their subs are exempt from these types of permits according to the MD constitution and/or state statute.
Rentals (entire home and/or rooms): At the joint meeting of the TC, PC and HPC the Town attorney said an updated rental registration form/process, developed for another jurisdiction, will be provided to assist the Town in developing its own. Once received the work to develop a rental registration procedure will begin.
Local Map Amendment (East Woods): Appropriate notifications according to the map amendment process have been sent.
House Records Project: Fourteen more properties have been completed bringing the total to 178.
Work Session: Master Plan work session is scheduled for April 18, 2018
MCCATHRAN HALL – John McClelland
Council Table: The antique piano base is being converted into a multipurpose table. It can be continued in its current form, spread apart into a “V” shape for council, commission, committee meetings or separated into 2 serving tables. The finishing touches are under way with completion scheduled within the month.
Termites: Stage one of the termite treatment is being scheduled. The process involves trench rod injection around the perimeter (inside and outside), hollow block injection and drill/treat/patch cement slabs (a/c pad & kitchen stairs) as well as the slate area. Stage two will be done after the I-beam and footer reconstruction is completed under the Main Hall.
Generator: The RFP provided by the Emergency Preparedness Committee (David Cosson) was emailed to the Mayor on February 14, 2018 and resent on 3/8/2018 – so the Mayor could forward to the Town attorney for review.
WOODS COMMITTEE – Greg Silber
The Committee is hosting an Arbor Day event on Saturday 21 April, 10:00-noon (rain date, Sunday 22 April). Help is needed and volunteers are welcome! The event is being held on the same day as the annual Lake clean-up and volunteers will work on both projects. Work in the Woods will focus on trash removal and manual removal of non-native plants. Coffee/donuts are provided.
A boundary survey and re-platting of the Town’s “East Woods” as a single parcel has been completed. An “Application for Local Map Amendment” requesting Forest and Recreational Zoning for the Town’s East Woods has been forwarded by the Woods Committee to the Planning Commission for their acceptance and filing. Public hearing on the Amendment is set for 12 March.
The Committee is making plans to review and provide input to relevant sections of the Town’s Master Plan which is currently under revision. A Woods Committee work group has been formed for this purpose. The Committee also continues to explore ways to manage the deer population, and is in the process of assessing its current projects, including treatment of encroaching non-native vegetation in the Town Woods. The Committee has submitted its budget for FY19 project funding for Council consideration.
The next Committee meeting will be Monday 2 April at 7:30.
CONTRACTS – Greg Silber
The Council will review bids for a new refuse and recycling collection contract at its March meeting.
RECREATION – Shelley Winkler
A St. Patrick’s Day Ceili dance will be held in McCathran Hall on Friday evening, March 9, including a potluck supper, at no charge for Town residents, while donations for the musicians are welcome.
Reminder that a “Reptiles Alive” program for all ages has been scheduled for Sunday, April 15 at 2pm, in McCathran Hall.
Summer in the Parks enrollment is open and applications are due April 30. This is important as staff needs are filled based on numbers of children expected.
WEBSITE – Shelley Winkler
Nothing new to report.
Have Council members been able to include this on respective committee/commission’s agendas (from last month’s report): Please ask that the relevant web pages be reviewed by each of your committees/commissions/volunteer groups on a regular basis, and to include its review on that basis in the operations of the group. Perhaps each group can include this on an upcoming agenda to formalize who has responsibility for reviewing the relevant pages, and to determine the frequency of review and revision.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Shelley Winkler
We are recommending that the funds available for contracted road work be used in the next fiscal year, with the addition of next year’s road funds, in order to achieve some economy of scale as roads and speed hump are repaired. Although bids will come in with unit pricing, including a much larger job should give the Town some benefit.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – John Compton
Meetings. The regular monthly meeting was held February 20, 2018. The next regular meeting will be March 20, 2018.
Reviews: Revised plans for additions and alterations to 123 Washington Grove Lane were discussed with the owners and their architect Bryce Blair. Their project was scaled back to include an addition at the rear only, incorporated relevant HPC suggestions from last month, and were considered fitting to the historic context. The review will be forwarded by Mimi Styles.
Expansion of our National Register Nomination: Wendy Harris met with the Consultants who plan to review background material through March and begin house surveys and boundary expansion in April.
15 the Circle Easement: No response to the full easement package had been received from the owner as of this meeting.
Street Sign Rehabilitation Project: A spreadsheet for reporting status of the project with current information, prepared by John Compton and Susan Van Nostrand was presented (previously provided to the TC). Plans are to update it monthly. The TC would like a summary of the design standards to define the goals for managing the process into the future. The HPC will develop this document with Susan’s help.
Archives: The 2017 Archivist annual report was reviewed for the HPC by Pat Patula. A proposed budget for FY 2019 was discussed. One of the items was improvement of the environmental conditions in the archive room to better reflect the state standards. It was agreed that Pat would meet with Steve Werts to ascertain what could be done and try to include funds in the budget for that work.
HPC 2019 Budget. The budget spreadsheet was reviewed and values approved for forwarding to the town Council. Increases were recommended for the Archivist and Equipment and Supplies that included some of the work recommended by the Archivist.
The Tour of Washington Grove for Preservation Maryland was recommended for May. Bob will confer with Chris Kirtz who is organizing the event.
Design Guidelines: Mimi reported the group will be adding a map, info on the woods, forest reserve, streets and walkways, signs, fences, windows and doors, to the outline for the document.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – John Compton
The annual spring meadow mowing took place the week of February 26.
SHADY GROVE SECTOR MASTER PLAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE – John Compton
(This MNCPPC committee is charged with monitoring development in the Shady Grove Metro Master Plan area. As a committee member, I will be reporting on matters of interest to the Town and Town Council.)
Meetings: None this month. The next meeting of the Advisory Committee will be sometime this spring. Any interested residents are welcome to attend and should contact me for information.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – John Compton
Nothing to report
PLAYGROUNDS – John Compton
Installation of the new climbing piece by Steve Werts continues as time allows.