Mayor and Council Meeting, 2/19/2008
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008
A meeting of the Mayor and City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m., Mayor Katz presiding. Council Members present: Ashman, Drzyzgula, Marraffa, Sesma, and Spiegel. Staff present: Acting City Manager Arnoult, Assistant City Managers Felton and Tomasello, Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont, Planners Marsh and Voigt, Human Services Director Carr, Olde Towne Revitalization Coordinator Hines, Recreation Program Specialist Poole, Sports Specialist Ludington, and Executive Assistant Stokes.
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge was led by Team Noise, Gaithersburg Youth Girls Basketball.
In lieu of an invocation, Mayor Katz called for a moment of silence.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by Council Member Ashman, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council regular meeting held February 4, 2008, be approved.
Resolution Confirming an Appointment
This resolution confirmed the following appointment: The Greater Historic District Committee, Lauren Stumborg, 104 Brookes Avenue, 20877, term to expire November 2008.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by, Council Member Ashman, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING AN APPOINTMENT BY THE MAYOR TO THE GREATER HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMITTEE (Resolution No. R-12-08), be approved.
- Certificates of Recognition
Mayor Katz presented Certificates of Appreciation and acknowledged the following 2007 Winter Lights sponsors for their generous support: Comcast ($116,756 in kind) Joshua Bokee, Director, Government Affairs; Mix 107.3 Radio Station ($54,000 in kind); Lakeforest Shopping Center ($5,000 cash/$15,000 in kind); Gazette Newspapers ($10,000 in kind); Shady Grove Adventist Hospital ($5,000 cash) Will Smith, Chief Development Officer Hospital Foundation; OBA Bank ($1,000 cash/$4,000 in kind); MedImmune ($1,000 cash); Hughes Network Systems ($1,000 cash) Jim Muir, Asst. Vice President; Sandy Spring Bank ($1,000 cash); Giant Foods, Inc. ($1,000 cash); Insight Magazine ($1,000 in kind); The Beacon Newspaper ($1,000 in kind) Mary Ramsdale, Account Executive; and Washington Parent Magazine ($1,000 in kind).
The following charities received funds from the 2007 Winter Lights Program: Shady Grove Adventist Hospital - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ($5,000) Will Smith, Chief Development Officer Hospital Foundation; Gaithersburg HELP ($1,300) Steve Garvey, Executive Director; Gaithersburg Community Vol. Soup Kitchen ($1,300) Mary Canapary, Director; Friends of Wells Robertson House ($1,300) Mindi Jacobson, Executive Director; and Friends of Seneca Creek State Park ($1,100) Bill Larson, President.
- 2008 Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Parks Sports Alliance Award Recipient
The City of Gaithersburg is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Parks Sports Alliance. The Alliance promotes the positive aspects and values associated with youth sports. Each year public and private recreation departments are afforded the opportunity to nominate deserving coaches that exemplify the philosophy of youth sports. The principles of fair play, skill development, team play and an understanding of the City’s sport philosophy are characteristics demonstrated by the 2008 award recipient, Sheila Jackson.
- African American History Month, “The Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Africa, our Motherland”
In celebration of African American History Month, the Multicultural Affairs Committee sponsored a reception, “The Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Africa, our Motherland.” African immigrants represent four percent of Montgomery County’s total population, twice the statewide rate. Nearly 38,400 African-born residents live in Montgomery County. Montgomery County draws immigrants from all parts of Africa. Mayor Katz called Marie-Rose Sirikari of the African Women Council, Inc. to come forward to accept the African American History Month Proclamation in recognition of their work with African American immigrant women.
- Introduction of New Employee, Eliza Voigt, Planner
Planner Eliza Voigt was hired to be involved in all aspects of the Planning Division including development review, implementation of the City’s Master Plan, as well as the staff liaison to the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and Historic District Commission. Ms. Voigt has more than 15 years of experience in urban planning and downtown revitalization and has worked for the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation and Bethesda Urban Partnership as well as the Town of Chevy Chase and City of Rockville. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning.
VI. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
- Mike Stumborg, 104 Brookes Avenue, expressed concern with loitering by day laborers at various locations along North Frederick Avenue and an increase of inappropriate activity in the area. He suggested a system to regulate their employment.
- Lauren Stumborg, Olde Towne Historic District, read a letter on behalf of neighbor Tom Wynn in support of the narrowing of Russell Avenue, but opposed to stopping the road narrowing at Walker Avenue. He asked that the City continue the narrowing down to Maryland Avenue as originally proposed. He expressed safety concern for pedestrians and snow removal.
- Marie-Rose Sirikari, President and Founder of African Women Council, Inc., thanked the Mayor and City Council and Human Services Director Carr for the recognition earlier and for the opportunity to assist immigrants integrate into American culture.
VII. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Vice President Marraffa
- Informed the public of the City Art Shop at the Arts Barn which features hundreds of distinctive, handcrafted items my by local artisans and crafters. The shop is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shop is also open during performances at the Arts Barn Theatre.
- Reported that he has been reappointed as liaison to the National League of Cities Board of Directors.
Council Member Spiegel
- Congratulated Acting City Manager Arnoult for his immediate action to increase police salaries which was supported by the City Council.
- Congratulated and recognized:
- Multicultural Affairs Committee for African American History Month activities.
- Young Artist Award recipients and encouraged all to attend the presentation reception on March 15, 2008.
- City staff and Finance and Administration Director Belton for receiving the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the sixth consecutive year.
- Sheila Jackson, recipient of the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Parks Sports Alliance Award
- Marie-Rose Sirikari, President and Founder of African Women Council, Inc, for her contributions through her business
- Winter Lights sponsors for making it a successful event
- Eliza Voigt to the team of City staff
Council Member Ashman
- Echoed thanks to the Winter Lights sponsors for a wonderful event and the Multicultural Affairs Committee for their effort to celebrate African American History Month. Congratulated Sheila Jackson on her award.
- Encouraged citizens to subscribe to the Alert Gaithersburg system and asked staff to prepare a formal announcement to be read at the Mayor and City Council meetings. Citizens can sign up at alert.gaithersburgmd.gov. Via the Alert Gaithersburg system, subscribers will also receive emergency messages from Montgomery County’s Homeland Security Department.
Council Member Sesma
- Congratulated Council Vice President Marraffa on his appointment mentioned above.
- Offered a correction to the statement he made during a previous discussion on the Y-site and affordable housing. He stated that a story in the Gazette was reported accurately with a brief description of the discussion, which some readers drew conclusions that were incorrect based on what was reported. He apologized for the misunderstanding and interpretation on his part.
Council Member Drzyzgula
Thanked staff and the community for the African American Heritage Month celebration held earlier. She reported and urged citizens to visit the African restaurants in Gaithersburg that serve great food.
Announced the following meeting schedule:
- Joint work session on Monday, February 25, 2008, Z-307 - Application Requests Rezoning of a 6.58-Acre Parcel, Known as the Summit Shopping Center (Parcel N182), Located in the Northeast Quadrant of Goshen Road and Girard Street at 559 Girard Street, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, From the Existing C-2 (General Commercial) Zone to the MXD (Mixed Use Development) Zone, in Accordance with § 24-196 of the City Code (Map Amendments). The Property is Adjacent to the Hidden Creek Land Bay III. The Sketch Plan Proposes Seven 4- to 5-Story Residential Structures Containing a Range of 360 to 405 Multiple-Family Dwelling Units, up to 20,000 Square Feet of Commercial/Retail Space and Structured Parking.
- Thursday, February 28, 2008, 6 – 8 p.m. at City Hall, Eric Middleton, Alliance Resources Consulting, LLC, will conduct an open house for the community to give their input on the traits that they would like to see in a City Manager. The open house will not be televised.
- Next regular meeting on Monday, March 3, 2008.
VIII. FROM THE ACTING CITY MANAGER
- Memorandum from Engineering Services Director Mumpower dated February 12, 2008, regarding Watkins Mill Road posted speed. He stated that Watkins Mill Road through Montgomery Village is posted for 35 MPH, but once you cross into Gaithersburg it is posted for 25 MPH. He stated that it has not been an issue until speed cameras were installed. The cameras are being perceived as a speed trap and several citations have been issued. Staff completed an engineering evaluation of the road and determined that the design speed of the road is about 40 MPH. Based on the investigation, staff recommended raising the speed limit from 25 to 35 and extending the school zone from the City limits to Travis Avenue. Staff will work with Montgomery County to relocate their existing school flasher from it present location to coincide with the new school zone. It was stated that the purpose of the cameras and the goal of the City is to create safer school zones.
- Gave a brief overview of the City’s Strategic Planning Retreat held January, 2008 and the revised Strategic Plan. He stated that the Mayor and City Council wanted to make the retreat more accessible to the public, the City held the event at a local venue. Three sessions were originally planned, but due to inclement weather, the retreat was conducted over two days. Additionally, the format was modified this year to include presentations from each department head. The first session consisted of staff’s review of the citizen survey and presented an opportunity for public comment on the Strategic Plan and budget process. The second session was a financial presentation, Capital Improvements Projects overview, and presentations from department heads. Following departmental reports, staff reviewed the Strategic Plan. Staff found that overall, the citizens surveyed rated the quality of life in Gaithersburg as good or excellent. During public comment, the main topics that surfaced were a new senior center, additional resources for the police department, more affordable housing opportunities, and increased partnerships with non-profits. Mr. Arnoult stated that staff will also address two issues raised which were a drainage problem in Olde Towne and bus stops. He stated that Assistant City Manager Tomasello mentioned during the financial presentation that the revenue of local governments will be challenged in the coming years. Another issue that will affect the City’s budget will be real estate. He reported that the City is looking at an approximately $51 million budget for FY 2008. Mr. Arnoult highlighted areas of the Strategic Plan which has ten (10) strategic directions. In closing, he stated that the Strategic Plan is available on the City’s website and 36 action items were identified from the Mayor and City Council that staff will address and report back periodically. Staff recommended the record remain open until March 12, 2008 for public comment and vote for adoption of the Strategic Plan on March 17, 2008. Staff was commended for organizing a productive retreat for the Mayor and City Council and the citizens of Gaithersburg.
MAYOR KATZ RECUSED HIMSELF FROM THE MEETING AT 8:35 P.M. DUE TO A CONFLICT WITH THE NEXT AGENDA ITEM. COUNCIL VICE PRESIDENT MARRAFFA PRESIDED OVER THE MEETING.
IX. PUBLIC HEARING
Solicit Input Regarding Pursuit of State of Maryland Enterprise Zone Designation for Gaithersburg’s Olde Towne Central Business District
Assistant City Manager Tomasello stated that the Maryland Enterprise Zone program is a local economic development program established by the Maryland General Assembly and provides State and local tax and fee incentives to eligible businesses within the designated zone. Mr. Tomasello gave a brief PowerPoint presentation that detailed benefits available under the program which include real property tax credits, income tax credits, enhanced job creation tax credits, and certain development-related fee waivers. The hearing is part of the application process required by the State of Maryland. The enterprise zone eligibility requirements state that the defined area must be designated as a priority funding area and meet a defined exception. The area must also meet one of the four following requirements: average unemployment rate; poverty level based on national criteria, median family income, or decreased population. He stated that the City plan to apply under the third requirement as over 70 percent of the residents of the zone earn less than 80 percent of the area median family income. The limitations to designation are that there can be only one area in a county during a calendar year and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development may not designate more than six enterprise zones during any 12-month period. He stated that it is not known how many jurisdictions will apply state-wide. He reviewed a map of the boundaries of the Olde Towne Enterprise Zone boundaries.
Speakers at the hearing:
- Brett Cosor, 200 Girard Street, owns a high technology business and expressed support for the program, but believes that it is too little to offset the increase cost for doing business in Maryland. Stated that small businesses have suffered from increased state taxes.
- Barry Clifford, 320 East Diamond Avenue, expressed support for the program in Olde Towne to provide an incentive to drawn development into the area. He believes it is vital to the tenants. He asked the City to move forward with the application and meet the April 15, 2008 deadline.
- Chuck Blessing, 201 East Diamond Avenue, expressed support for the program, but believes more is necessary. He stated that commercial component revitalization is vital to the tenants of Olde Towne.
- Richard Arkin, 121 Selby Street, expressed support for the program stating that other jurisdictions have benefited from this type of program. He urged the City to move forward, but asked that the City Hall property be included in the area defined to be designated in the zone. Mr. Tomasello responded that City Hall parcels were exempted because they are not eligible to be in the zone.
- Michael Stumborg, 104 Brookes Avenue, expressed an urgent need to revitalize Olde Towne and thanked the Mayor and City Council and staff for taking the necessary steps.
- David Shayt, 15 DeSellum Avenue, Chair, Olde Towne Advisory Committee, urged the Mayor and City Council’s support of an Olde Towne Gaithersburg Enterprise Zone for the revitalization of the area.
There were no other speakers at the hearing. Others present for the hearing:
- Clark Day, 26 Walker Avenue
- Lauren Stumborg, Brookes Avenue
- Vernon Brake, 4213 Rolling Acres Drive, Mt. Airy, Maryland
- Barry Brake, 5304 Dove Drive, Mt. Airy, Maryland
- Samantha Davis, 138 Windbrooke Circle
- Mark Olinger, 324 East Diamond Avenue
- James Debelius, 320 East Diamond Avenue
- Joseph Stolz, Jr., 36 North Summit Avenue
- Richard Knoebel, 202 Rolling Road
- Robert Charles, 18630 Reliant Drive
Staff recommended closing the record on Tuesday, February 29, 2008, 5 p.m.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by Council Member Ashman, that the Mayor and City Council hold their record open on the above until February 29, 2008.
MAYOR KATZ RETURNED TO PRESIDE OVER THE MEETING AT 8:50 P.M. AND RECESSED THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING FOR A HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION MEETING. THE MAYOR ANDCOUNCIL MEETING RECONVENED AT 9:01 P.M.
X. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, AND REGULATIONS
- Resolution Confirming the Appointment of the City Attorney
This resolution confirmed the following appointment of N. Lynn Board. At the direction of the Mayor and City Council, the full-time City Attorney position was advertised and applications were accepted until October 22, 2007. A total of 17 applications were received, the Mayor and City Council reviewed all the applications and selected four candidates to be interviewed on January 28 and 29, 2008. The Mayor, in consultation with the City Council, determined applicant Lynn Board is the most qualified candidate for the position.
Motion was made by Council Member Spiegel, seconded by, Council Member Sesma, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF GAITHERSBURG CONFIRMING THE MAYOR'S APPOINTMENT OF THE CITY ATTORNEY (Resolution No. R-13-08), be approved.
- Resolution to Enter Into an Agreement With Various Non-Profit Agencies
This resolution authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with Community Clinic, Inc., 15850 Crabbs Branch Way, Suite 350, Derwood, Maryland 20855, in an amount not to exceed Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000); Family Services Agency, Inc., 610 East Diamond Avenue, Suite 100, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, in an amount not to exceed Seventy-Three Thousand Dollars ($73,000); Identity, Inc., 414 East Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, in an amount not to exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000); Mobile Medical Care, Inc., 9309 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, in an amount not to exceed Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($18,500); Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Community Services, 415 East Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, in an amount not to exceed Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) and Upper Montgomery Assistance Network, 7600 G Lindbergh Drive, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879, in an amount not to exceed Thirty-Five Thousand Dollars ($35,000) in accordance with the Scope of Services portion of the Agreements with each agency, for a total amount of Two Hundred Thirty-Six Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($236,500); said funds to be expended from the Operating Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Ashman, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF GAITHERSBURG AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH COMMUNITY CLINIC, INC., FAMILY SERVICES AGENCY, INC., IDENTITY, INC., MOBILE MEDICAL CARE, INC., SPANISH CATHOLIC CENTER OF CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES, AND UPPER MONTGOMERY ASSISTANCE NETWORK (Resolution No. R-14-08), be approved.
XI. FROM THE ASSISTANT CITY MANAGERS, CITY ATTORNEY AND OTHER STAFF
Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont
Guidance on a Memorandum Dated February 11, 2008 Concerning M-83, Midcounty Corridor Study
Staff attended a public workshop on the above and during the meeting, Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation (MCDPWT) staff presented 11 preliminary alternatives, but only five alternatives (#1 -no build, #4 - Goshen-Wightman-Brink, #8 - lower Watkins Mill – Master Plan, #9 - Master Planned Alternative, and #11 - Montgomery Village – Upper Watkins Mill) were recommended by MCDPWT as Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study. Mr. Ossont reported that MCDPWT hope to obtain concurrence on the alternative during the summer of 2008. An environmental document will be drafted by spring 2009 followed by a public hearing and the identification of the selected alternatives in fall of 2009.
The Mayor and City Council concurred to conduct a work session for further review of the alternatives being evaluated by MCDPWT due to the significant impact on Gaithersburg areas. Staff was directed to invite Montgomery Village Foundation representatives to the work session. The City Council was reminded that the county extended their record until March 1, 2008 and staff request that something be put in the county record before that deadline and follow-up with a county presentation at a future work session. The Mayor and City Council agreed with staff’s suggestion to allow MCDPWT to move forward and further evaluate the five recommended alternatives.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:13 p.m..