Mayor and Council Meeting, 12/1/2008
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 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: City Manager Jones, Assistant City Managers Felton and Tomasello, Planning and Code Administration (P&CA) Director Ossont, Planners Robinson and Eby, Capital Projects/Facilities Director Geiling, Environmental Services Director Shingara, Community Development Director Kauffmann, City Attorney Board, and Executive Assistant Stokes. Planning Commissioners present for the joint public hearings: Bauer, Hopkins, Kaufman, Levy and Winborne
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge was led by Marty Monks, Program Manager at the Gaithersburg Judy Center.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The invocation was led by the Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, Shaare Torah Congregation
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by Council Member Spiegel, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council regular meeting held November 17, 2008, be approved.
Vote: 4-0-1 (Abstained: Sesma)
IV. CONSENT ITEM
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Extend the Architectural and Engineering Services Contract for Additional Design Services Related to the New Olde Towne Youth Center
This resolution authorized the City Manager to extend the contract for the above to BMK, pc, 209 Commerce Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, in the estimated amount of Fifty-Three Thousand Nine Hundred Twelve Dollars ($53,912); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for Construction Services for the Rabbitt Road Green Street Retrofit
V. ELECTION OF CITY COUNCIL VICE PRESIDENT
This resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract for the above with Romano Concrete Construction, Inc., 8970 Maier Place, Laurel, Maryland 20723, in the amount of Thirty Thousand Five Hundred Seventy Dollars ($30,570); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that the Consent Agenda (Resolution Nos. R-112-08 and R-113-08), be approved.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa and seconded by Council Member Ashman, that Council Member Sesma be elected to serve as Vice President of the City Council for a period of one (1) year.
- Resolution Confirming a Reappointment to the Historic District Commission
This resolution confirmed the following reappointment: Michael Sesma, 710 Hope Lane, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, three-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Drzyzgula, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING A REAPPOINTMENT BY THE MAYOR TO THE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION (Resolution No. R-114-08), be approved.
- Resolution of the City Council Confirming Appointments and Reappointments
This resolution confirmed the following: Arts and Monuments Funding Corporation, Anthony Glander (reappointment), 14726 Myer Terrace, Rockville, Maryland 20853, three-year term; Communications Committee, Mya Dinh (appointment), 8 Wisely Square Court, 20877, two-year term; Commission on Landlord Tenant Affairs, Joan More (reappointment), 12 Duvall Lane, 20877, three-year term; Cultural Arts Advisory Committee, Dee Aronson (reappointment), 106 Midtown Road, 20878, two-year term; Education Committee, Laurene Thomas (reappointment), 451 Hungerford Drive, Suite 508, Rockville, Maryland 20850, two-year term; Gaithersburg Senior Council, Hari Butaney (reappointment), 300 High Gables Drive, #107, 20878 and Roberta Rosenfeld (reappointment), 18521 Eagles Roost Drive, Germantown, Maryland 20874,two-year terms; and the Technology & Innovations Committee, James Cannistra (appointment), 10 Maryland Avenue, 20877 and Thomas Peretzman (appointment), 1005 Main Street, 20878, two-year terms.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Spiegel, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR TO THE ARTS AND MONUMENTS FUNDING CORPORATION, COMMISSION ON LANDLORD TENANT AFFAIRS, COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE, CULTURAL ARTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE, EDUCATION COMMITTEE, GAITHERSBURG SENIOR COUNCIL, AND TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATIONS COMMITTEE (Resolution No. R-115-08), be approved.
Mayor Katz issued a proclamation designating December 1, 2008, as “Marty Monks Day” in the City of Gaithersburg. The Gaithersburg Judy Center opened in 2002 to serve low-income families living in the Rosemont and Summit Hall school communities. Marty Monks is the project manager at the Center. Recently, the Center received from the Judith P. Hoyer Foundation, the Innovative Spirit Award for 2008 for an intergenerational literacy and play group created in 2007 between the youngest Judy Center children and the elderly residents of Forest Oak Towers.
VIII. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Mark Hackman, 64 Appleseed Lane, thanked the Mayor and City Council for coming to the Shady Grove III neighborhood for a Council in the Communities meeting. He requested minutes from said meeting. Expressed safety concerns with sidewalk measurements on Story Road. Staff was directed to check the measurements and report back to the Mayor and City Council.
IX. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Ashman
- Reported that Venus and Jupiter can be seen in the sky this evening.
- Announced vacancies on various Committees and encouraged citizens to become involved.
Council Member Spiegel
- Congratulated Council Vice President Sesma on his election as Council Vice President and thanked Council Member Marraffa for serving in said role for the past year. Also, congratulated Marty Monks on a well deserved recognition mentioned above.
- Announced a closed meeting was held at City Hall by the Mayor and City Council on Monday, November 24, 2008, at approximately 8:47 p.m., pursuant to a motion adopted unanimously during the scheduled work session on November 24, 2008. The meeting was closed pursuant to Section 10-508(a)(1)(i), State Government Article, of the Annotated Code of Maryland to discuss a personnel matter. Present at the meeting were Mayor Katz, Council Members Ashman, Drzyzgula, Marraffa, Sesma, and Spiegel, City Manager Jones and City Attorney Board. Upon conclusion of the discussion, the closed meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:05 p.m.
- Announced the City received a letter from Washington Gas about the Federal Low Income Home Assistant Program and reported that funds are available to help those in need with heating and energy cost. Community Services staff was asked to make themselves aware of the program to assist citizens
Council Vice President Marraffa
- Echoed congratulation to newly elected Council Vice President Sesma.
- Reported he met with members of the Senior Council and the Ad Hoc Senior Center Committee to discuss design criteria for the new building. Announced a work session will be held at a future date to give recommendations to the Mayor and City Council and receive input from the public.
Council Member Sesma
- Thanked his colleagues on his election as Council Vice President.
- Congratulated Parks, Recreation and Culture Director Potter on her election to the Recreation and Parks Association Mid-Atlantic Council to represent Gaithersburg.
- Reminded the public to donate and give to the Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Program. Encouraged citizens to give to food banks and charity organizations in the area.
- Announced the City’s Jingle Jubilee on Saturday, December 6 at the City Hall Concert Pavilion, 6 p.m. On December 13, the Gaithersburg Community Chorus will present their annual holiday concert at Gaithersburg High School. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
- Mentioned the recent articles on the Purple Line, but expressed the importance of the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT). Stated that the CCT is vital to the City of Gaithersburg and asked for a future work session and suggested working with the CCT Coalition to promote the project.
Council Member Drzyzgula
- Attended a meeting at the Council of Governments for the Chesapeake Bay and Water Quality Committee. Discussions focused on Montgomery County’s upcoming permit. She stated that the City might be impacted indirectly. Referred to the stimulus bill before Congress stating that some funds may go toward infrastructure and water related infrastructure. Other discussions focused on what communities could do to assistance with the housing and foreclosure issues.
- Echoed her colleagues and congratulated Council Vice President Sesma.
- Referred to County Council Floreen’s news article expressing concern with the cut back in service of MARC trains. The City Council concurred and directed staff to send a letter to the MTA asking that the afternoon service not be eliminated. Council Vice President Sesma referred to Delegate Carr’s legislative regarding the reduction of service and asked the City to support his efforts.
- Reported a request was received from the Mayor of Garrett Park who sent a letter to MARC trains asking them to not run a holiday schedule on inauguration day. Staff was directed to send a letter supporting regular service on inauguration day.
- Announced the following meeting schedule:
- no work session on Monday, November 10, 2008.
- next regular meeting Monday, November 17, 2008.
X. PUBLIC HEARINGS
- JOINT – MP-2-08, Municipal Growth Element, an Amendment to the 2003 Master Plan
P&CA Director Ossont stated the joint public hearing was advertised in the Gaithersburg Gazette on September 24, 2008 and October 1, 2008. He stated that House Bill 1141 is a recently state bill mandating the inclusion of the Municipal Growth Element in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The bill is intended to require municipalities to better plan for annexations, housing and population growth impacts, and support better communications between cities and counties. The bill amends State Article 66B which includes comprehensive plans for municipalities and Article 23A which controls annexation laws. He noted that the annexation laws have not been updated in 30 years and the new amendments require Maximum Expansion Limits (MEL) and precludes municipalities from annexing any lands not identified in the Municipal Growth Elements maximum expansion boundaries. He further stated that the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) created models and guidelines to review and provide technical assistance to staff. He noted that specific land use, zoning and infrastructure needs will continue to be addressed in the Land Use and Community Facilities Elements adopted in the City’s 2003 Master Plan. The PowerPoint presentation focused on future land needs and the demand for future growth into 2030. Mr. Ossont reviewed the City’s corporate limits and the MEL. He further reviewed potential growth areas outside of the existing boundaries, non buildable and buildable areas. He stated that in developing, the City would need to come up with applying a density count to future development. The City did receive letters dated December 1, 2008 from County Executive Leggett and from the North Potomac Citizens Associations expressing concerns with the MEL and other issues. Staff recommended a future work session in February 2009.
Speakers from the public:
- Daniel Reeder, 105 Game Preserve Road, spoke on behalf of the McGown family, owners of the McGowan Tract. He stated that the family is looking forward to an annexation agreement with the City in the near future.
- Richard Arkin, 121 Selby Street, expressed concern with the lack of clarity on the process, purpose of the MEL and growth. He stated that there is no vision and the discussion of numbers is inappropriate.
- Mark Hackman, 64 Appleseed Lane, expressed concern with the inaccuracy of water needs per day. He agreed with the comments of the above speaker on the lack of vision for growth and discussion of numbers. He also expressed concerns with zoning language and definitions.
There were no other speakers.
Mayor Katz, several City Council and Commission members expressed concern with land use beyond Gaithersburg, growth impacts and density projections into 2030 and concurred to schedule a series of work sessions with state and county representatives from various agencies to discuss issues with the plan. Other concerns expressed were the dwelling units per acre for growth densities. It was noted that the City cannot annex land into the City unless requested by property owners. It was clarified that the Municipal Growth Element would be a guide for municipalities to look at for future growth impacts, public infrastructure, and possible annexations.
Motion was made by Commissioner Levy, seconded by Commissioner Winborne, that the Planning Commission hold the record on MP-2-08, open indefinitely.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that the Mayor and City Council hold the record on MP-2-08, open indefinitely.
- JOINT - T-388, An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 24 of the City Code (City Zoning Ordinance), Entitled, “Zoning,” Article IX, Entitled, “Signs,” § 24-211 Entitled, “Signs Permitted In All Zones,” Subsection (e), Entitled, “Election Campaign And Ballot Questions Signs,” to Eliminate Conflicting Provisions and Renumber Accordingly
P&CA Director Ossont stated the joint public hearing was advertised in the Gaithersburg Gazette on November 12 and 19, 2008. Staff received correspondence earlier in the summer from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland, stating that the time limit restrictions regarding Election Campaign and Ballot Questions signs found the City’s zoning ordinance unconstitutional. Staff recommended language be removed limiting the length of time residents may post political signs on their property. The City will still be able to limit the size and placement of signs.
There were no speakers from the public.
Motion was made by Commissioner Kaufman, seconded by Commissioner Winborne, that the Planning Commission hold the record on T-388, open until 5 p.m., Monday, December 29, 2008, with anticipated recommendation on January 7, 2009.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by Council Member Sesma, that the Mayor and City Council hold the record on T-388, open until 5 p.m., Thursday, January 8, 2009 with anticipated policy discussion sometime after January 20, 2009.
XI. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, AND REGULATIONS
- Introduction of an Ordinance to Amend Chapter 7A of the City Code Entitled “Ethics Code”, Section 7A-1 Entitled “Applicability of Chapter”, Section 7A-4 Entitled “Conflicts of Interest” and 7A-5 Entitled “Financial Disclosure Statements” to Amend Applicability, Gift Amounts and Filing of Disclosure Statements
City Attorney Board stated the amendment came out of a meeting questioning the limits on gifts which under the current ordinance is $10. It was recommended that the gift amount be updated to a $50 limit. Staff anticipates a public hearing on Monday, January 5, 2009.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 7A OF THE CITY CODE ENTITLED “ETHICS CODE”, SECTION 7A-1 ENTITLED “APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER”, SECTION 7A-4 ENTITLED “CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” AND 7A-5 ENTITLED “FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS” TO AMEND APPLICABILITY, GIFT AMOUNTS AND FILING OF DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS, be introduced.
- Resolution Authorizing the Woodland Hills Community to Use a Previously Approved Matching Grant for a Different Project
This resolution authorized the above community to use a previously approved matching grant for a different project. The community has requested to use the previously approved grant funds for the removal of seven pear trees and the installation of a retaining wall. The total cost of the two projects is $5,650. Staff recommended approval of a grant in the amount of $2,825. The remaining $2,175 will be returned to the City’s general fund and not be given to another community until staff has completed developing criteria for the program. Assistant City Manager Felton stated that the community will be obligated to replace trees removed. It was noted that the City never had a reallocation request.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZING THE WOODLAND HILLS COMMUNITY TO USE A PREVIOUSLY APPROVED MATCHING GRANT FOR A DIFFERENT PROJECT (Resolution No. R-116-08), be approved.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:12 p.m.