Mayor and Council Meeting, 12/6/2004
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
DECEMBER 6, 2004
A meeting of the Mayor and City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m., Mayor Katz presiding. Council Members present: Alster, Edens, Keller, Marraffa, and Schlichting. Staff present: City Manager Humpton, Assistant City Managers Felton and Tomasello, Director of Public Works, Parks Maintenance and Engineering (PWPME) Arnoult, Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont, Long Range Planning Director Depoe, Planner Seiden, Environmental Specialist Shingara, Police Lieutenant Bonvillain, City Attorney Borten and Administrative Assistant Stokes. Planning Commission present for the joint public hearings: Hicks, Levy and Winborne
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Cub Scout Troops, Pack 1084, Den 5 and 6, St. Paul's Catholic Church, Damascus, Maryland.
Dr. Anne Stewart, Interfaith Counseling Services, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Alster, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting held November 15, 2004, be approved.
IV. CONSENT ITEMS
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Negotiate and Execute a Contract for Architectural and Engineering Design Services for the Latitude Observatory Park Project
This resolution authorized the City Manager to negotiate and execute a contract for the above services with The RKTects Studio 1010 King Street, Suite #3, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, in an estimated amount of Thirty-Three Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($33,500); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Extend a Contract for Street Reconstruction Projects
This resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract for reconstruction of various streets with D & F Construction Company, Inc., 4017 Penn Belt Place, Forestville, Maryland 20747, in an estimated amount of Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by Council Member Edens, that the Consent Agenda (Resolution Nos. R-98-04 and R-99-04), be approved.
- Resolution of the City Council Confirming Reappointments by the Mayor
This resolution confirmed the following reappointments: Historic District Commission, Henry F. Marraffa, Jr., 12 Keystone Drive and John B. Schlichting, 207 Kent Oaks Way, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, three-year terms.
- Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Alster, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING REAPPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR TO THE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION (Resolution No. R-100-04) be approved.
- Resolution of the City Council Confirming an Appointment by the Mayor
This resolution confirmed the following appointment: Board of Supervisors of Elections, Nancy Munoz-Azarmanesh (alternate), 239 Grange Hall Drive, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, four-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Alster seconded by Council Member Schlichting, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING AN APPOINTMENT BY THE MAYOR TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS (Alternate Member) (Resolution No. R-101-04) be approved.
VI. OATH OF OFFICE TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS ALTERNATE MEMBER
- Nancy P. Azarmanesh
Deferred until the December 20, 2004 Mayor and City Council meeting.
Presentation of a 2004-2005 GREAT Award
Mayor Katz introduced the GREAT program. GREAT stands for "Gaithersburg Recognizing Education Achievement Today" and its mission is to promote and celebrate higher achievement and successes in Gaithersburg area schools. The goal of GREAT is to recognize schools, increase student success and to promote "best practices" models. He presented the Award to Principal Daniel Shea and Band Directors Phillip Procter and Tory Shaw (not present), Quince Orchard High School.
Quince Orchard HS is celebrating the success of their Marching Band and music program. On October 30, 2004, the Marching Band won the USSBA-4A Maryland State Championship. The band also received Best Music, Best Effect, Best Color Guard and Best Marching Awards. The band's total score was 88.3, the highest in school and Montgomery County Public Schools history.
VIII. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
- Phoebe Phaler, Gaithersburg resident, uses an electric scooter to get around, asked the City to assist with accommodating those that are disabled and use a wheelchair by making all public facilities wheelchair accessible.
- Leonard Levy, Planning Commissioner, recognized staff for addressing the concerns of accessibility for those that is disabled. He referred to a complaint received regarding whether a newly signal light pole on East Diamond Avenue was in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Following staff's investigation, the light pole was in compliance with the ADA, but the City made arrangements for the sidewalk to be modified and widened so that it will no longer be a problem to get around.
IX. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Alster
- Stated that he attended the City's Tree Lighting Ceremony. Announced that the Gaithersburg Community Chorus will present its Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 11, 2004, 7 p.m. at Gaithersburg High School.
- He, the Mayor and other City Council Members attended the National League of Cities (NLC) Conference where he serves on the Information Technology Communications Committee. Mention the Committee is addressing issues with Congress with respect to internet and telephone service and other related matters.
Council Member Marraffa
Reported that the NLC Committee he serves on (Economic Development Committee) are lobbying Congress for CBDG Grants and other funding for affordable housing.
Council Member Keller
Attended the NLC Conference and found it to be very informative and helpful entering her role as a new City Council Member.
Council Member Edens
Announced vacancies on the City's Boards, Commission, and Committees.
- Announced the deadline for submitting letters of interest to fill the vacant seat on the Planning Commission, Monday, December 6, 2004, 5 p.m. He reported that the City received five letters of consideration. Stated public interviews will be held Monday, December 13, 7 p.m., in the City Hall Gallery.
- Announced the Mayor and City Council will not conduct a work session on Monday, December 13, 2004. The next regular meeting will be held Monday, December 20, 2004.
X. JOINT PUBLIC HEARINGS
- SDP-04-001, Schematic Development Plan for Quince Orchard Park - The Vistas, Mixed Housing Development
Planner Seiden stated the joint public hearing was advertised in the Gaithersburg Gazette on November 17 and 24, 2004, and the property posted. Stated there are 34 exhibits, in the record file which are referenced in an exhibit list in the file.
Steve Orens, DuFour & Orens, representing the Churchill Group, introduced Vic Bryant of Macris, Hendricks & Glascock and Eric Tolbar, President of the Churchill Group.
Eric Tovar, President of the Churchill Group, stated he has been a hometown builder since 1991, started in the City of Gaithersburg with the Kentlands Community and went on to building single-family and town homes in King Farm, Quince Orchard subdivision and other local communities in Montgomery County. He stated the proposed community is a mixed housing community composed of 125 units on 13 acres, single-family, town homes, and condominiums.
Vic Bryant, Macris, Hendricks & Glascock, reviewed the plan stating that it consists of 27 single-family homes, 42 single-attached homes and 56 multi-family homes. She then oriented the Council and Commission with Phase I and Phase II of Quince Orchard Park , the surrounding roads, main entrance, and existing traffic circle. Ms. Bryant stated that they want the proposed development to be compatible with existing structures. She further discussed the tot lot and playground areas, walking paths, benches, areas to display public art work, and trails through the forest conservation area which connects to the hiker/biker trails. She stated that there have been modifications to the plan based on what was requested by the community. She stated that there is sufficient parking on the site, but because of parking concerns expressed, they have tried to provide more parking. There were also concerns regarding density, but she stated that the plan has appropriate density. The sketch plan was approved for 75 to 125 units and the plan proposes 125 units.
Steve Orens, stated the proposed plan is compatible and appropriate with the surrounding communities from a visual perspective. He stated the traffic circle which provides the primary entrance to the community has single-family detached housing on both sides. He added that the Corridor Cities Transitway would service this property along with the rest of Quince Orchard Park. He reiterated that there will be additional green space, tot lots, and a multi-age playground for older children.
The Mayor and City Council and Commissioners questioned and expressed concern with the age usage of the proposed playground, multi-family units, limited amenities and recreational facilities, lack of green space, appropriate setback from the transitway, requirements for the forest conservation plan, density compared to the other phases of Quince Orchard Park, parking counts, and the economic impact on the community with private streets and alleyways for the development.
The applicant stated that the multi-family units will be condominiums and the Vistas development has not been annexed into the recreational facilities that serve Phase I and II. Mr. Orens stated that those facilities are owned by the Homeowner Association which does not include the Vistas. Ms. Bryant stated that the proposed plan has slightly higher density than the other phases of Quince Orchard Park. It was suggested by Mayor Katz that the concerns be addressed further during a work session.
Speakers from the public:
- Steve Sharp, 206 Winter Walk Drive, thanked the Churchill Group for meeting with the community, but stated there are issues that need to be addressed relating to parking, access to the development from Winter Walk Drive, increased traffic, and the impact of the 125 additional units for the proposed Vistas development.
- Joanne Schmike, 734 Tiffany Court, expressed support for less density and single-family detached homes for the proposed development. She asked that the roads be deeded over to the City and that the community be allowed to use the amenities in neighboring communities. Announced and congratulated Northwest High School Football team who recently won the Maryland 3A Divisional Championship.
- Larry Weber, 116 Winter Walk Drive, expressed concern with the entrance for the Vistas and the additional vehicles and traffic impact. He suggested relocating the entrance to alleviate traffic from other developments and residents on Winter Walk Drive.
- Sudarshan Ranganathan, 227 Winter Walk Drive, expressed concern with the density for the proposed development and the lack of green space and open parkland for the children now and in the future.
- Robert Weitzman, 754 Summer Walk Drive, stated the proposed development is totally separate from Phase I and II of Quince Orchard Park. He stated that the Churchill Group did not include them in the planning process. He expressed concern with the proposed high density and impact on parking and parklands.
- Richard Arkin, 121 Selby Street, stated the proposed plan does not elevate the neo-traditional design envisioned for Gaithersburg. He stated the plan lacks street grid, streetscape, village green, community facilities, tot lots and playgrounds. Suggested the Council and Commission look to reduce the density. He asked that the condo association proposed be organized as a single association rather than allowing the associations to be split and less viable.
- Jian Ye, 211 Painted Post Lane, agreed with concerns stated by previous speakers. He stated that an entrance from the traffic circle is inappropriate. Expressed displeasure with the architectural design of the proposed homes.
- Clark Wagner, Buzzoto Group, stated the Council and Commission did receive architectural designs in their packages. In response to a suggestion made by Mr. Arkin earlier, he stated that there would be one condominium association and not two, if approved. He offered that there are building techniques to deal with busy highways and noise. He stated that multi-family dwellings would increase green space for the plan. He expressed support for the project.
- Jennifer Hurt, 217 Highland Ridge Avenue, stated she lives four houses off of the traffic circle. She expressed concern with the increased traffic and the impact of creating an entrance for the proposed development at Winter Walk Drive. Suggested the plan should propose more amenities for the additional housing units.
- Baochong Gao, 223 Winter Walk Drive, stated that the community center in Quince Orchard Park is not sufficient to support 125 additional units.
- Claudia Good, 206 Church Gate Lane, expressed concern with the safety of the children playing in the community and the existing increased traffic and traffic circle flow. She stated that the proposed second entrance is not accessible. Stated that she is opposed to the high level of density and asked for future amenities for teenagers.
Mayor Katz asked the applicant to meet with staff to address the private street, amenities, and density issues raised by citizens before the work session.
There were no other speakers at the hearing.
- Motion was made by Commissioner Levy, seconded by Commissioner Winborne, that the Planning Commission record on SDP-04-001, be held open indefinitely.
Motion was made by Council Member Schlichting, seconded by Council Member Alster, that the City Council record on SDP-04-01, be held open indefinitely.
- MP-2-04, GE Technology Park Special Study Area, Master Plan Amendment to Adopt MP-1-03: 2003 Land Use Plan, an Element of the City's Master Plan
Long Range Planning Director DePoe stated the joint public hearing was advertised in the Gaithersburg Gazette on September 29 and October 6, 2004, with twenty-nine exhibits in the record file. He gave some background of the GE Technology Park stating that the purpose of the amendment is to incorporate the special study area known as GE Technology Park (formally known as the National Geographic Property) into the adopted 2003 Land Use Plan, an Element of the City's Master Plan. The GE Technology Park Special Study Area is the sixth of ten Special Study Areas that are to be under review during the Master Plan update process. He stated that staff held a stakeholders meeting on April 29, 2004, and during those meetings, staff received input from the public that has been used to create the following three land use options: Land Use Option 1: Research & Development and Office Park, status quo option; Land Use Option 2, Office Park and Low-Medium Density Residential (follows Option 1 with the addition of single-family detached and attached residential units along east side of Study Area; and Land Use Option 3, which is the Mixed Use Development (primarily office use with residential permitted, preferred residential housing types are single-family detached and attached and 2-over-2 condominium housing units rather then multi-family units). He concluded stating that the Planning Commission reviewed and recommended the three options on September 1, 2004, and the Mayor and City Council endorsed the three Land Use Options of the MP-2-04 application on September 7, 2004 for public hearing process only, not recommending or stating approval.
Speakers from the public:
- Rich Koch, 103 Leekes Lot Way, expressed support for Option 3; however, he thought that excluding all the family housing is inappropriate. He expressed support for the vision of providing live-works, 2-over-2 townhouses, lofts, condos, and apartments on the site. He stated that he has attended meetings with stakeholders and City staff. In November, a concept plan for the Option 3, MXD Development was prepared and shared with City staff and members of the community with positive feedback. He submitted a letter and traffic analysis prepared by Steve Peterson on the impact of traffic. The analysis shows that Option 3, generates less than half the trips that are generated by Option 1. He also stated that a student generation rate for housing and proposed development from Montgomery County Public Schools shows that the plan would generate 93 students for the 650 units proposed.
- Shane Albeer (sp?), facilities managers for Global Shane Services, expressed support for Option 1. He thought it would allow the opportunity to walk to work and alleviate traffic congestion.
- Richard Arkin, 121 Selby Street, stated that the site is interesting and distinctive in architecture, but disagreed with the prior speaker, stating that Option 1, status quo, is clearly not an option because warehouses are permitted by right and other undesirable uses. He stated that the viable option is MXD, Option 3, which would offer the greatest flexibility and the most opportunity for a youthful variety of uses and building types, a good streetscape that will integrate well with the Kentlands and Lakelands and a better quality of urban design and a more compatible community. He expressed support for Mr. Koch's proposal as a good start for planning a charrette type exercise. He suggested that multi-family units not be removed from Option 3 at this time.
- Demos Chrissos, 343 Tschiffely Square Road, agreed with the prior speaker regarding Option 1 and the inappropriateness of warehouses abutting residential homes. He asked that the City remain flexible in deciding on a location for the new aquatic center. He also agreed that Mr. Koch's proposed plan was a good start and expressed support for Option 3.
- Michael Janus, 211 Chestertown Street, agreed with the prior two speakers regarding Option 1 and encouraged the City Council and Commission to continue with Option 3. He asked that the community be involved in further developing the proposed plan put forth by Mr. Koch.
- Brian O'Looney, 102 Kent Square Road, resident of Kentlands, Architect and Planner of Torti Gallas and Partners, stated that three options have been considered for the zoning of the former National Geographic Printing headquarters. He expressed support for the mixed use option which would allow for greater flexibility and adaptability. He is opposed to single use for the entire site, stating that it is the most taxing on the City's resources. He expressed opposition to another large corporate resident stating that it would place Gaithersburg at a competitive disadvantage in the municipal corporate game. He urged the City Council and Commission to plan pedestrian oriented commercial environments.
- Clark Wagner, 314 Inspiration Lane, resident of Lakelands, agreed with the inappropriateness of I-3 zone for this property. He referred to the City's Master Plan which states, permit additional multi-family dwellings only to support existing Towne Center, encourage redevelopment, or comply with pre-existing annexation agreements, ensure that the current future housing stock allows residents to remain in the City as their financial employment and family situations change, determine the impact of public schools on housing preferences and work with Montgomery County to address concerns of the current schools. He stated that all three points fit quite well for this property. He urged the City Council and Commission to look at market studies to determine general housing preferences by age, sex, occupational status, marital status, presence of children, and household income.
There were no other speakers at the hearing.
- Motion was made by Commissioner Winborne, seconded by Commissioner Levy, that the Planning Commission record on MP-2-04, be held open indefinitely.
Motion was made by Council Member Schlichting, seconded by Council Member Alster, that the City Council record on MP-02-04, be held open indefinitely.
- SDP-04-003, Amendment to Schematic Development Plan for MedImmune - Phase II and III, in the Quince Orchard Park Development
Long Range Planning Director DePoe stated the joint public hearing was advertised in the Montgomery Journal on November 19, 2004 and the Gaithersburg Gazette on November 24, 2004, and the property posted. At the present time, there are thirty-one exhibits in the record file.
Randy Turner, VP of Engineering and Construction for MedImmune, stated that they are asking for an amendment to the schematic development plan, because since the original plan, the building series of offices and labs have increased. He added that the number of employees (160 - 200) have increased and is expected to double in 2005. He stated that the company is ready to move to the next phase and they would like to improve upon their master plan for the site by creating a better connection between the offices, labs and parking structures. Mr. Turner oriented the Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission with the existing office towers and lab modulars. He reviewed the redesigned plan with the incorporation of a courtyard, additional green space, and relocation of the parking structure. In conclusion, he stated that the new office tower should hold approximately 600 employees and that MedImmune is growing at a rate of about eight percent per year.
Speaker from the public:
Richard Arkin, 121 Selby Street, expressed some support for the improvements to the plan, but had concerns with the closeness of the garage and the proposed four Kentlands alternatives in the corridor cities transitway right-of -way study, which is currently underway with the Maryland Department of Transportation. He expressed support for the three bay interaction of the garage, but suggested that the structure go a couple floors higher and the footprint of the garage somewhat smaller. He asked that much attention be given to the façades of the garages, as well as the façades of the building, which will be seen from different angles in the area.
There were no other speakers at the hearing.
Motion was made by Commissioner Levy, seconded by Commissioner Winborne, that the Planning Commission record on SDP-04-003, be held open indefinitely.
Motion was made by Council Member Alster, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that the City Council record on SDP-04-003, be held open indefinitely.
XI. ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
- Resolution to Extend the 2004 Street Resurfacing Contract
This resolution authorized the City Manager to extend the above contract to perform additional work consisting of repair of East Diamond Avenue with D & F Construction Company, Inc., 4017 Penn Belt Place, Forestville, Maryland 20747, in an estimated amount of One Hundred Thirty Thousand Dollars ($130,000); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
- Motion was made by Council Member Alster, seconded by, Council Member Schlichting, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO EXTEND THE 2004 STREET RESURFACING CONTRACT (Resolution No. R-102-04) be approved.
- Resolution Approving a Waiver of the Environmental Standards for Development Regulation
This resolution approves the above waiver to BP Realty with the condition that the applicant must obtain a permit from the Department of Planning Code Administration for the proposed land disturbance associated with the stream stabilization. The application is proposing to stabilize the headcut with a rock structure that serves as a grade control device to mitigate the supercritical flows causing the erosion. The structure will prevent further channel migration, establish grade control, and slow stream velocities to reduce sedimentation. The proposed project involves minimal grading and the site will be stabilized upon completion.
Motion was made by Council Member Keller, seconded by, Council Member Alster, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL APPROVING A WAIVER OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS FOR DEVELOPMENT REGULATION TO PERMIT BP REALTY TO COMPLETE A STREAM STABILIZATION PROJECT WITHIN THE STREAM BUFFER AT THE CASEY-METROPOLITAN GROVE ROAD PARCEL (P910) (Resolution No. R-103-04) be approved.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:35 p.m.