8 October 2018 | Approved: 12 November 2018
Mayor Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:35 PM. In attendance were Council Members Darrell Anderson, Charlie Challstrom, Rob Gilmore, and Marida Hines. Pat Klein attended via telephone. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, and residents Joe Clark, Planning Commission member Georgette Cole, Lake Committee Chairman John Hutchinson, Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey, and Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts.
Approval of the Agenda:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the agenda. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Two additional items were proposed: Introduction of Ordinance 2018-13 amending Article X, Registration and Voting, and appointment of Margot Cavenagh to finish the remainder of Meredith Horan’s term on the Board of Election Supervisors.
Vote: 5-0. Approved as amended.
Joan Mahaffey – Joan reported the sections of fencing at Towne Crest which were taken out when a Town tree fell on it months ago have finally been replaced.
Approval of Minutes:
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the minutes of the Town Council meeting on September 10, 2018. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion. Councilor Gilmore moved that some additional details be added to Joan Mahaffey’s comments in Public Appearances.
Vote: 3 in favor (Gilmore, Hines, Klein), 2 opposed (Anderson, Challstrom). Amendment approved.
Vote: 5-0: September minutes approved as amended.
Treasurers Report 2018-September pdf
Darrell Anderson moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report for September 2018. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Treasurer Mary Challstrom reminded the Mayor and Council that the audit report should be on the November agenda.
Vote: 5-0. Approved as presented.
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the transfer of $10K from the money market account to the Maryland Local Government Investment Pool account. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0. Transfer approved.
Maple Lake Culvert Replacement:
Mayor Compton explained the collapse and inadequacy of the existing culvert under the bridge crossing the ditch, and the problems associated with water overflow the bridge and eroding the ditch. He invited Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts to present his plan for replacement of the culvert and bridge. Discussion included:
- Causes of the current situation
- Equipment needed
- Rip, rap baskets
- Slowing the speed of the water through the ditch
- Routine maintenance
- The importance of fixing this now
- Consulting an engineer
Mayor Compton noted how fortunate the Town is to have Steve’s expertise and love of the challenges that accompany this type of project. He proposed that Steve undertake the bridge project now. Steve’s estimate of $5000 is well within the Town Budget amount of $7500. In addition, an engineer should be consulted to evaluate the cause of the drainage problems (run-off from across Washington Grove Lane?), and advise the Town on options for controlling erosion from water flow in the West Woods.
Action: Mayor Compton proposed approval of the project, pending evaluation of hard cost numbers from Steve. Rob Gilmore will consult about the larger drainage control problem with a family member who works in storm water management. Douglas Lohmeyer, Town Code Enforcement Officer having stormwater management expertise, will also be considered for the job.
Charlie Challstrom moved to approve Steve Werts doing the project as described, upon receipt of cost details. Rob seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
Road Resurfacing Priorities and RFP:
Darrell Anderson presented a list of nine Road segments which need various types of work. Discussion included:
- WSSC work proposed on Ridge Road
- Highway User Revenues
- Amount of money in the budget
- Doing all of the work or part of the work
A draft RFP was presented based on the RFP for roadwork issued for FY17. Charlie Challstrom moved to put out the RFP (Request for Proposal) for all of the road work as presented. Rob Gilmore seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0. RFP with current work specifications approved for issuing.
McCathran Hall Generator Installation – Update:
The Maryland Historic Trust informed the Town they did not receive sufficient information to adequately review and approve the generator project. Rapid approval is of the essence to qualify for an extended 10-year warranty offered by Generac if the generator is installed to by November 6, 2018 (an extended deadline negotiated by Councilor Gilmore.).
Action: Rob Gilmore will respond to MHT before their October 18 meeting with additional drawings and details to be assembled by Steve Werts,
McCathran Hall Floor Beam Reinforcement – Update:
After a discussion about the receipt of only one bid, the Council thought it prudent to consider revising the project time frame and reissuing the RFP. Mary Challstrom offered information from her inquiries made to potential Bidders, reporting one contractor did not bid because of the work completion timeframe, and another contractor could not meet the bid submission deadline. Discussion:
- Reissuing the RFP with an extended submission deadline of January and completion before June 30.
- The cost of doing an additional termite treatment if the project is delayed.
- Project potential to disrupt use of the Hall deemed low.
Rob Gilmore moved to reissue the RFP before the next Town Council meeting with new dates and award the contract upon receipt of the bids. Marida Hines seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0. RFP approved for reissuing.
Speed Bumps – Update and Discussion of Safety and State Law:
Mayor Compton did a brief summary of previous actions concerning this item including the use of Traffic Orders. There was a discussion about the following:
- Use of Traffic Orders in compliance with Town Charter
- Compliance with State Highway Administration standards
- Proper signage
- Engineering studies
- Federal Highway Administration standards
- Actions in the best interest of the Town
- What was learned from this speed bump experiment? Bumps are effective.
Action: Councilor Anderson will explore potential use of temporary speed humps as an option for Town roads and report in November.
Approval of Mayor’s Appointment of Jon Cohen as an Alternate on the PC:
Charlie Challstrom moved to endorse the appointment of Jon Cohen as Alternate to the Planning Commission. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion.
Vote: 4-0 (Pat Klein remote vote missing). Appointment approved.
Board of Elections Supervisors – Discussion & Approval of Margo Cavenagh:
Mayor Compton reported the resignation of Meredith Horan, and explained Charter requirements for appointments to the BoES: 2 year terms commencing in March of odd-numbered years. He proposed Margo Cavenagh, presently a BoES observer, as a full member of the Board, to serve out the vacant term. Darrell Anderson moved to appoint Margo Cavenagh , and Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion.
Vote: 4-0 (Pat Klein remote vote missing). Appointment approved.
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the Council Reports and post them on the website. Marida Hines seconded the motion. Discussion included:
- HPC’s inability to comment on recent ordinances 2018-04 and 2018-05
- A meeting with County officials about safety improvements for pedestrians crossing the road at the Commercial Corner
- Hazard mitigation and storm water management
- Risk Management Manual
- Dog Park RFP by the next meeting
Vote: 5-0, approved as amended.
Mayor Compton reported receipt of a reply from Montgomery County about Railroad Street safety. Although the area does not qualify for the installation of speed humps, the County will do a safety evaluation of the area in question. Charlie Challstrom reported the study is underway.
Mayor Compton reported he received a complaint about regular parking of a commercial truck on the roadway at 104 Maple Road. He spoke with the owners who agreed the truck will no longer be parked on the roadway.
Montgomery Municipal Cable Survey Responses – The Mayor and Council discussed ways to use MMC equipment/personnel for recording various meetings and events.
Action: Charlie Challstrom will report the survey and seek resident input in the November Town Bulletin. He will draft survey responses with Town Council input.
November 12th Meeting – 7:00 PM start for November meeting of the Town Council for a presentation by the Woods Committee of Strategy for Forest Restoration.
Introduction of Ordinance 2018-13; Election Procedures.
Darrell Anderson moved to introduce and set a public hearing for Ordinance 2018-13; Adopting Amendments to the Washington Grove Code of Ordinances Article X Election Procedures for Absentee Balloting, Provision Balloting, Resolution of Tie Votes, and a Bar to Political Activities. Marida Hines seconded the motion. The public hearing will be held on December 10, 2018 before the Town Council meeting.
Vote: 5-0, Approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 PM.
TC REPORTS – October 2018
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION – Darrell Anderson
Meetings: The regular monthly meeting was held September 20, 2018. The next regular meeting is scheduled for October 16, 2018.
Issue to be Resolved:
To better involve the HPC in receiving timely revisions to Town Ordinances and Resolutions, the HPC Chair will discuss a possible solution with the Mayor and Planning Commission Chair.
Progress on contract for review of the Town’s Historic District Updating. The HPC will be scheduling a meeting with Robinson Associates to discuss their Phase I Final Report on architectural and cultural aspects submitted to the Town in August. It is hoped that the meeting can occur in October.
Master Plan. A discussion of the HPC involvement in the Master Plan is ongoing. Some draft revisions have been submitted to the HPC Chair for review.
HPC input on the Town Lighting initiative:
The HPC is requesting involvement in the Town discussions regarding new street lighting. They believe this may be something that could be included in the Town’s Historic District Updating project.
WASHINGTON GROVE MEADOW CONSERVATION PARK – Darrell Anderson
Nothing to report.
STREET SIGN RESTORATION PROJECT – Darrell Anderson
Susan Van Nostrand held another gathering to produce more of the signs for this project. The 12 new signs produced last month were given to Steve for placement. This brings the total to 118.
ROADS & WALKWAYS – Darrell Anderson
Steve and I talked and reviewed areas for potential repaving. A priority list was developed and distributed to Mayor Compton and the Council for discussion at the October meeting. A RFP will be developed based on past RFPs.
Speed Bump Trial:
I have had no other feedback on the speed bumps other than an observation from the Town Clerk that there has been less cut-through traffic since the installation. A post has been placed on the roadside at Chestnut Road and Acorn Lane to dissuade drivers from moving around the speed bump.
Email traffic regarding the legality of speed bumps and areas of discussion regarding our long-term use without a “traffic order” has been distributed to Council members and others. This is a discussion the Council will have to have before consideration of future speed bump placement.
Those who have contacted me about interest in participating on a volunteer Street Lighting Committee have been contacted with dates for a possible organizational meeting to be held the third week of October.
PLANNING COMMISSION – Charlie Challstrom
- 127 Chestnut Ave – approved application for a fence
- 354 Ridge Road – approved application for new Amish-style wooden shed
- 203 and 205 Washington Grove Lane – approved applications for open covered carports on adjacent properties, to be built at the same time.
Code Enforcement Inspector: The Town recently signed an agreement with Doug Lohmeyer, P.E. (Ret.) for code enforcement services, including inspections for zoning compliance and for building permit applications. In response to a request from John Compton regarding administration of this new agreement, the Planning Commission has designated Georgette Cole to be the liaison with Doug Lohmeyer for the code enforcement inspections.
Pedestrian Crossing at Commercial Corner: Peter Nagrod reported this issue was brought up at a recent Border Committee meeting by Eva Patrone. Eva made several phone calls to County officials and was able to meet with them to discuss possible improvements to the crossing.
Master Plan Update: The Master Plan schedule has been extended to accommodate the update and expansion of our National Register Historic District nomination. Peter Nagrod reported the communication from Jay Everhart about the bike path is a clear, concise document for the Master Plan. The Emergency Preparedness Committee has submitted a draft section for the Master Plan entitled “Emergency Preparedness with Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation” with 33 recommended actions. Other Master Plan submissions from the Woods Committee and the Forestry and Beautification Committee are expected soon. The Planning Commission has scheduled two Master Plan worksessions, one in November and one in January.
MCCATHRAN HALL – Charlie Challstrom
Town Hall Generator: The Town Council awarded a contract to Generating Power LLC for a 22-kilowatt Generac generator. This generator has been delivered to the Town and is stored in the Maintenance Garage. Audrey Maskery submitted a request to the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) for project approval as per the historic easement associated with State funding for the Hall renovation. We are awaiting confirmation of MHT approval before moving ahead with the generator installation beside the Town Hall.
Town Hall Floor Beams: Using plans and scope of work drafted by Structural Engineer David Wallace, an RFP was issued for footers, lally columns, and steel I-beams to reinforce termite-damaged wooden supports. The bidders list was compiled using recommendations from the engineer, the eMaryland Marketplace, and other online resources. In response to the RFP, the Town received a single bid, from Rocky Gorge Construction. Mayor and Council discussed seeking more bids, the specialized nature of the work, and whether completion of the work could be delayed. Action was deferred pending further consultation with Steve Werts and others. Steve assisted with reviewing the project labor estimate, and he obtained an estimate of materials for the project from Ernest Maier. Council action is anticipated at the October Council meeting.
MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CABLE (MMC) – Charlie Challstrom
The Town is a participating member of MMC, a nonprofit organization established to operate a cable station on behalf of municipalities in Montgomery County. MMC is reaching out to its members with a questionnaire to improve how we work together. One of the questions asks if the Town is interested in having our meetings recorded to be televised on MMC. Another question asks if the Town would submit information (e.g. events, important meeting agenda item, town elections) to MMC once a month to be used in a short bulletin board segment to air in between programs where time allows. Another question asks if there any residents interested in a training course with MMC to be able to use MMC equipment to produce programming within our community for the purpose of airing it on the MMC channel. I would appreciate feedback to assist with completing the Town’s response to this questionnaire.
CONTRACTS – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
DOG PARK – Rob Gilmore
The Dog Park Committee did not hold a meeting in September. Dog Park Committee co-chairs Christine Dibble and Mary Warfield continued work with Town Council liaison Rob Gilmore on the proposed request for proposal, which will be submitted to the Council for review and comment.
WOODS – Rob Gilmore
The Woods Committee held a meeting on Monday, October 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. at McCathran Hall. The Committee first reviewed and discussed draft revisions to the Master Plan that were being proposed to the Planning Commission, and agreed to provide further edits and comments back to the Committee’s working group by October 15, so that the Committee’s comments can be finalized and approved for submission to the Planning Commission. The Committee then discussed the planning for the upcoming East Woods Work Day (October 13) and West Woods Work Day (November 10). In addition, the Committee discussed further plantings of trees, including the cost, location, and time frame for such plantings, and the need to integrate plantings into the overall Reforestation Plan that the Committee is developing. Finally, the Committee discussed the upcoming town informational meeting on November 13, including the outside experts who have been invited to attend, and the format and messaging for that meeting.
SHADY GROVE CROSSING – Rob Gilmore
Nothing to report.
WEBSITE – Marida Hines
Nothing to report.
RECREATION – Marida Hines
The next meeting of the Recreation Committee is scheduled for October 17, 2018.
The Committee has announced that after 35 years, Craig English has decided that this will be his last year as Chairman of the Washington Grove Labor Day weekend activities. In their announcement they thanked Craig and noted that his “dedication, creativity and humor made this one of the most popular weekends in The Grove and a favorite of kids of all ages.”
Bluestober is scheduled for Saturday, October 13 and will feature South Carolina’s Shrimp City Slim and his band.
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP – Marida Hines
Nothing to report.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS COMMITTEE – Pat Klein
The EPC met on September 27, 2018 and discussed the following topics.
Town Hall Generator Status: The Town Council awarded a contract to Generating Power LLC for a 22-kilowatt Generac generator. This generator was delivered and is being stored in the Maintenance building pending installation. The Town is awaiting the Maryland Historic Trust report on their evaluation for this project approval apropos the existing Town Hall historic easement granted for prior Hall renovation.
2019 Master Plan Update: New Section on Emergency Preparedness with Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation: The EPC made a few additional modifications to this new draft section to reflect ongoing coordination with Montgomery County and other local governments in the hazard mitigation planning process. The segment on risk management and safety procedures was updated to recommend the EPC be designated as responsible for risk management oversight, and tasking the EPC’s Council Liaison to report to the Town Council any losses or incidents and recommendations for changes in risk management procedures. EPC will send the final draft section to the 2019 Master Plan coordinator.
Standing Water and Stormwater Runoff Update: The EPC has noted the inclusion of our standing water problem in Morgan Park (between Brown Street and Railroad Street) and the Railroad Street drainage project in the County’s Draft Hazard Mitigation Plan. EPC also discussed the ongoing stormwater runoff from Washington Grove Lane and from the Towne Crest Apartments which are creating widespread soil erosion and root damage in the West Woods. This is a critical safety issue to be addressed. EPC suggests consulting with D. Lohmeyer, P.E. to develop ideas for remediation work. He has experience in stormwater management projects and was recently hired by the Town as a consultant for code enforcement services. to develop concepts for remediation work.
Town Risk Management and Safety Procedures Manual: The EPC is reviewing the draft document “Town of Washington Grove Risk Management and Safety Procedures” compiled using material from the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT). The document includes chapters on risk management, accident investigation procedures, driver training and accident prevention, emergency plans, semi-annual inspections, and a collection of forms. The committee is editing the draft to help align the risk management and safety procedures with current and desired maintenance operations in Town.
Review of Montgomery County (MC) Hazard Mitigation Plan Draft: The County Hazard Mitigation Plan is being updated with mitigation goals, objectives, and related actions that may assist in reducing risk and preventing loss from future natural and technological hazard events. The EPC attended several meetings by MC’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) and provided input on items of interest to our Town that require County action. Municipalities are expected to adopt the updated MC plan to remain eligible for FEMA disaster relief and grants. The EPC agreed to provide additional review comments to Michael Boldosser at OEMHS.
Report on MC Emergency Preparedness Fair: The Emergency Preparedness Fair was held on September 5, 2018 in the John Hopkins University (JHU) off Key West Avenue. Several EPC members attended and shared their collection of handouts. EPC will use this material to identify educational program ideas and share information via the Town Bulletin.
Scope of Emergency Preparedness Committee for “Safety”: The EPC discussed the scope of “safety” in the Committee’s town government role and is considering modifying the EPC name to better recognize its role in “safety” which may also inspire more participation with EPC activities.
The next EPC meeting will be on October 25, 2018.
MAPLE LAKE – Pat Klein
The Lake Committee met on September 20, 2018 and discussed the following preparations this Fall.
Lake dock area: The water depth was measured to be 10 feet deep directly off the dock and 12 – 13 feet deep where most divers enter the water off the diving board. Therefore, there is no need for dredging in the near future. The dock will be pressure-washed by end of the month and then sealed once the weather is dry and warm. The lake will be drawn down in late October or November to remove any submerged bikes or other debris/ obstacles. The PVC pipes needed to drain the lake need to be repaired when Town Maintenance has scheduled time.
Entrance bridge replacement: Town Maintenance is planning to replace the inner gate bridge using a 6-foot diameter corrugated steel pipe surrounded by concrete and re-bar with a cement and dirt road-way on top. This plan was discussed with Mr. Booher, an architect residing in town. The plan will be presented to the Mayor and Council at the next Town Council Meeting. The Committee has budgeted $5000-$7000 for this work.
Other repairs include adding barbed-wire to the new fence at Newport and repairing a fence section between the gate and outflow.
A Lake clean-up session will be held on October 20th to clean up lake toys, buoys, etc. and may also include time to explore a possible path from the lake enclosure to Maple Spring.
Water quality testing: Testing was repeated following an unusual high coliform count in July. The September coliform count was within normal range (26.2 MPN/100ml). The source of the elevated levels is unknown but the company can be called to test our lake water after a heavy rain with a 1-2 day notice.
Master Plan Review: A few minor updates were made to the Maple Lake sections for the 2019 Town Master Plan which will be submitted to the Master Plan coordinator by the deadline.
The next meeting will be on October 18, 2018.
FORESTRY & BEAUTIFICATION – Audrey Maskery
Seven canopy trees purchased from Stadler’s for Fall 2018:
One – Red Oak – 108 Maple Avenue
One Scarlet Oak – 103 Grove Avenue.
One Pin Oak – 11 Maple Avenue.
One Maple Red Sunset 312 Center Street.
One Princeton Elm – 127 Chestnut Road.
One Red Oak – 119 Maple Avenue.
One Princeton Elm – 108 Maple Avenue.
Purchasing native canopy trees entitled the Town to receive six coupons from State, and seven coupons from Montgomery County a total of $330.00 savings. Planting will be provided free of charge under Stadler’s fall sale. The planting will take place in October/November depending on the weather.
MAINTENANCE – Audrey Maskery
Continued work on sediment pond at end of Brown Street extended. Three loads of dirt and rock taken to dump, plus additional load of brush and tree stumps cleared from around sediment pond. Replaced rock after clearing a widened area for drainage from Brown Street to the sediment pond; four tons of filtration sand removed and replaced by fresh sand in preparation for the County inspection of the sediment pond that will take later this week.
Fallen tree limbs collected after inclement weather; ditches cleared, Ball Field grass cut plus avenues and road sides throughout Town.
MEMORIALS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
PLAYGROUNDS – Audrey Maskery
Nothing to report.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL – John Compton & Joli McCathran
At a meeting on September 13, the MML Legislative Committee debated and ultimately approved recommendations of one legislative priority and three strategic initiatives for 2019.
The one legislative priority recommended by the MML Legislative Committee is a repeat from last year: Preserving local authority in the siting and aesthetics of small cellular tower infrastructure. As a 2018 priority, a statewide bill that would have preempted local governments on this issue was defeated. However, the issue will almost certainly return during the next Legislative Session as the wireless industry is already in discussions with MML and other stakeholders about a 2019 bill.
The MML Legislative Committee also recommended three strategic initiatives: Opposition to preemption of local government authority in any area; exploration of new revenue streams for municipalities while protecting municipal Highway User Revenue monies to be allocated in the FY 2020 budget and examining the possible modification of the five-year rule included in Maryland’s annexation statute. Unlike legislative priorities which generally are introduced by a member of the General Assembly in the form of a bill, strategic initiatives can be addressed through other avenues.
On September 18, 2018 the MML Montgomery County Chapter sent a letter to the Federal Communication Commission regarding of the opposition of small cell tower legislation. This was sent to meet the Federal Communication deadline. The letter is attached.
Montgomery County Legislative Dinner – Thursday, December 13, Ramada Hotel, Rockville. It is traditional for the Washington Grove to invite our senator and delegates as our guests to attend this dinner. Washington Grove is the only municipality within District 39.