Mayor and Council Meeting,10/19/2009
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
OCTOBER 19, 2009
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 (arrived approximately 7:40 p.m.) and Spiegel. Staff present: City Manager Jones, Assistant City Manager Tomasello, Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont, Community Planning Director Schwarz, Neighborhood Services Director Roman, Community and Public Relations Director Monaco, Capital Projects/Facilities Director Geiling, Director of Information Technology Cottrell, Community Services Director Carr and Administrative Assistant Klingler.
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge was led by Community Services Director Carr.
In lieu of an invocation, Mayor Katz called for a moment of silence.
III. CONSENT ITEM
Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for City Facilities Energy Audits and Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Support Services
This resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract for the above service with EMO Energy Solutions, 3141 Fairview Park Dr., Suite 355, Falls Church, Virginia 22042, in the estimated amount of Fifty-One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Five Dollars ($51,975); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Drzyzgula, seconded by, Council Member Ashman, that the consent agenda (Resolution No. R-74-09), be approved.
Resolution Confirming a Reappointment
This resolution confirmed the following: Ethics Commission, Sally Marchessault (reappointment), 432 Inspiration Lane, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, three-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING A REAPPOINTMENT BY THE MAYOR TO THE ETHICS COMMISSION (Resolution No. R-75-09), be approved.
Mayor Katz issued a proclamation designating October 18 -24, 2009 as “National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week” in the City of Gaithersburg. The proclamation was accepted by Sol Gordon, President of the Rotary Club of Montgomery Village and the City’s Community Services Director Carr. The following activities are planned: The 14th Annual CHARACTER COUNTS! Poster Contest is sponsored by Gazette Newspapers. The theme this year is CHARACTER COUNTS! Where I Live: Making a House a Home! The contest is open to elementary and middle school students attending CHARACTER COUNTS! schools within the Gaithersburg area. The 10th Annual Elementary and Middle School Writing Contest is co-sponsored by the Gaithersburg Rotary Club and the theme is Adult Heroes in OUR Community. The 11th Annual High School Essay Contest Foundations for LifeSM is co-sponsored by the Montgomery Village Rotary Club. The posters and essays for each school will be on display at Lakeforest Shopping Center from October 8th through 22nd and then at various City facilities through out the school year. A reception celebrating the winners and honorable mentions, their teachers, families, nominees, and principals will be held on Wednesday, October 21st from 6:30 -8 p.m. at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park.
VI. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
- Scott Wallace, Linowes and Blocher, representing Woodfield Investments and the Summit Shopping Center Redevelopment, expressed support for the text amendment T-392 scheduled for discussion later on the agenda which would allow the redevelopment to go forward. Also expressed appreciation for the Planning Commission’s timely discussion on the issue.
- Karen Fishman, Trustee for the Lakeside Apartments, stated that tenants are moving out due to the flashing of the speed camera lights installed near the Lakeside Apartments. Stated the lights are impacting tenant’s decision to move in. Asked that the City respond to her concerns.
Mayor Katz asked whether the evaluation period of the speed cameras was completed. City Manager Jones responded that staff will report back at the end of the year.
- Thomas Rowse, 101 Dogwood Drive, Chairman of the Olde Towne Advisory Committee (OTAC), expressed support for the revisions to the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance and text amendment T-392 which will allow the Summit Center redevelopment to move forward. Asked that the City review its Election Code following the upcoming election.
VII. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Ashman
- Expressed kudos to staff for a wonderful Oktoberfest event.
- Announced that Gaithersburg residents will cast their ballots for Mayor and two City Council Members on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. A public demonstration of the election equipment will be held in the City Hall Council Chamber on Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. to noon and 7 to 9 p.m. If anyone is interested in becoming an Election Judge for the 2009 Gaithersburg City Elections, or has any questions regarding the upcoming election, please contact Lauren Klingler at 301-258-6310, Ext. 2172 or at email@example.com for more information.
- Announced the annual Veterans Day Observance on Wednesday, November 11, 11 a.m. at the City Hall Concert Pavilion.
- Urged the public to subscribe to Alert Gaithersburg at http://alert.gaithersburgmd.gov. Alert Gaithersburg is an emergency notification system that can immediately contact subscribers during a major crisis or emergency. It delivers important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to several electronic devices simultaneously, including multiple e-mail accounts (work, home, etc.), cell phones, text pagers, and wireless PDA’s.
Council Member Spiegel
- Announced that a closed meeting was held at City Hall by the Mayor and City Council on Monday, October 12, 2009, at approximately 8:20 p.m., pursuant to a motion adopted unanimously during the special meeting held on October 12, 2009. The meeting was closed pursuant to Section 10-508(a)(1)(i) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction (present were Mayor Katz, Council Members Ashman, Drzyzgula, Marraffa, Sesma and Spiegel, City Manager Jones and City Attorney Board). City Manager Jones and City Attorney Board left the meeting at approximately 8:35 p.m. Upon conclusion of the discussion, the closed meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:54 p.m.
- Echoed the comments above on the Oktoberfest event. Congratulated the organizers of the Domestic Violence Empowerment Luncheon.
- Announced that the new Youth Center in Olde Towne is now open and operating.
- Report that elected officials and City staff attended Council in the Communities meetings for Shady Grove Villages and Lakelands Ridge.
- Announced that the Mayor and City Council have been advocating for a new building for Gaithersburg High School and plans are being made. A presentation from the County on the design of the building will occur at the school on Tuesday, October 20, 7 p.m., in the auditorium.
- Announced that a public rally will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 9:30 a.m., to promote the 2010 Census at Rockville Town Square. Stated the importance of being counted which effects the resources received from the Federal government to provide quality services to the public.
- Reported that State agencies that are building the proposed Intercounty Connector Highway are setting the standards for a toll charge for highway users. A public meeting is scheduled for October 29th, 6 – 9 p.m., at the Shady Grove Middle School.
- Announced that the public can find a link on the City’s website for information about the H1N1 Flu Vaccine.
- Encouraged the public to reflect on CHARACTER COUNTS! Week and the teaching of the pillars of character to the youth throughout the community.
- Wished all a happy and safe Halloween.
Mayor Katz asked Delegate Kumar Barve to come to the podium to speak on the Intercounty Connector. He confirmed the scheduled public hearing mentioned above with the Maryland Transportation Authority. Stated that the Intercounty Connector will be built with the assistance of a toll to help pay for the road. While he supports the Connector and toll, he is opposed to the variably priced tolls which will raise the toll during rush hour and lower it in the middle of the day. He is in favor of one toll, at all times, for all users of the road. Further discussion with the Mayor and City Council focused on the increase in tolls at the expense of commuters, lack of alternative lanes and light rail lines in the design, revenue from fixed tolls and economic benefits. All concurred to meet briefly before the October 26th work session to discuss the concerns.
Council Member Marraffa
- Echoed thanks to staff for a successful and enjoyable Oktoberfest.
- Encouraged citizens to attend the scheduled Council in the Communities meetings.
- Mentioned the City’s commitment to CHARACTER COUNTS! program which is now in its 13th year in Gaithersburg. He encouraged the public to participate in the activities mentioned earlier in the meeting.
Council Member Drzyzgula
- Encouraged citizens to be educated voters and attend the scheduled forums throughout Gaithersburg.
- Attended the monthly meeting of the Maryland Municipal League (MML) and Senator Ben Cardin was the guest speaker. He reviewed the status of the healthcare discussions going on in Congress and talked about stimulus money which has assisted Maryland in education but has not reached the local government level and assistance with infrastructure. She also reported that the City of Gaithersburg received the Banner City Award which is issued by the MML for participation in the organization and meeting good government qualifications. Announced the Maryland Green Registry which is under the State Department of the Environment and recognize businesses that meet the criteria to conserve energy, etc. MML staff encouraged cities to inform the public on the impact of budget cuts within their communities. Announced that the MML Fall Conference will be held at the Rocky Gap Resort in Cumberland, Maryland. Primary purpose of the conference is to discuss the legislative agenda for municipalities.
Council Vice President Sesma
- Echoed the comments above and thanked the Kentlands Citizens Assembly and staff for a terrific Oktoberfest.
- Spoke on behalf of the other candidates and asked the voters to participate and become educated on those running. Encouraged citizens to have an influence at the county and state level by allowing their behavior to reflect their vote at the municipal level. Thanked the communities sponsoring candidate forums.
- Reiterated excitement with the plans of Montgomery County Public Schools to move forward with the renovations for Gaithersburg High School.
- Again reiterated what was said above and asked the public to become educated about flu season and the H1N1 Flu Vaccine.
- Announced the City will soon send out letters to randomly selected citizens to participate in the City’s Bi-Annual Citizens Survey. Encouraged citizens to respond.
- Reported that Moderately Price Dwelling Units will soon be available at the new Fairfield Apartments at West Deer Park.
- Young Artist Award Competition sponsored by the City and the Kentlands Community Foundation is now accepting applications. Judging will occur in January 2010 and the award winners will perform at the Kentlands Arts Barn on Saturday, February 27, 2010.
- Mayor Katz requested the following:
Motion was made by Council Member Spiegel, seconded by Council Member Ashman, that the Mayor and City Council of the City of Gaithersburg conduct a closed executive session tonight, Monday, October 19, 2009, immediately following the scheduled regular meeting, pursuant to the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 10-508(a)(1)(i) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction.
- Mentioned that he and Council Member Drzyzgula attended the Council of Governments Board of Director meeting and Senator Ben Cardin was in attendance to talk about the Chesapeake Bay situation. He thanked Council Member Drzyzgula for representing the City.
- He and Council Vice President Semsa attended the SCUP Conference and a founder of Through the Kitchen Door approached them and suggested an incubator for restaurants. Staff is looking into the idea. Community Services Director Carr offered addition information about Through the Kitchen Door.
- Referred to the zoning and permit fees memorandum for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Montgomery County government for plan review, permit and inspection fees related to projects with the City limits. City Manager Jones stated that due to the current economic conditions and the significance of the revenues, the City has already begun charging these agencies. Mayor Katz questioned courtesy reviews and the City having the authority to charge the fees. City Manager Jones noted that we do value the partnership with MCPS and in some cases it may be in the best interest of the City to waive fees. Mentioned that policy will be developed to guide staff.
- Announced the following meeting schedule:
- work session, Monday, October 26, 2009, to discuss changes to the Historic District Commission composition.
- no regular meeting Monday, November 2, 2009 due to the upcoming City Elections on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
- special meeting scheduled for Monday, November 9, 2009, solely for the purpose of receiving the certification of election results and the swearing in of the newly elected officials.
- next regular meeting Monday, November 16, 2009.Council
VIII. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, AND REGULATIONS
- Resolution Establishing Primary Advisory Committees and Establishing the Names Thereof
Director of Community and Public Relations Monaco stated that a recent committee evaluation project recommended that the City maintain nine primary advisory committees, with subcommittees and special purpose task forces contained therein, with staff liaisons to the committees as appointed by the City Manager being responsible for committee administration and for recommending membership appointments by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. She stated that all advisory committees should bear the name “committee” to provide consistency. The primary advisory committees will consist of the Economic and Business Development Committee (not to exceed 15 members), the Police Chief’s Advisory Committee (not to exceed 15 members), the Environmental Affairs Committee, the Educational Enrichment Committee, the Community Advisory Committee, the Multicultural Affairs Committee, the Senior Advisory Committee (not to exceed 12 members), the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee, and the Transportation Committee. Further discussion as to whether the Olde Towne Advisory Committee should become a subcommittee under the Economic and Business Development Committee. Opposition was expressed by Council Member Marraffa and Mayor Katz and recommended leaving said committee as is. Others agreed that the streamline reorganization made sense and would not lessen the input and voice of those on subcommittees, spoke in favor of the new realignment. It was mentioned that the Mayor and City Council would still have the flexibility to allow for special purpose task forces to be formed, if necessary.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL ESTABLISHING PRIMARY ADVISORY COMMITTEES AND ESTABLISHING THE NAMES THEREOF (Resolution No. R-76-09), be approved.
Vote: 4-1 (Opposed: Marraffa)
- Resolution for the City Hall Electrical Upgrades, Cable Control Room, and Council Chambers Improvements Project
This resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract for construction services for the City Hall Upgrades Project to Hascon, LLC, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300, Columbia, Maryland 21044, in the estimated amount of Three Hundred Fifty-Four Thousand, Seven Hundred Dollars ($354,700), plus an additional Fifty-Three Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($53,200) contingency for unexpected expenses; said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE CITY HALL ELECTRICAL UPGRADES, CABLE CONTROL ROOM, AND COUNCIL CHAMBERS IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT (Resolution No. R-77-09), be approved.
- Resolution Amending the Hours of Polls
Section 32 of the City Chapter provides that the polls shall be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, but that the City Council, by resolution, may fix longer or shorter hours. Historically, the polls have been open until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day and staff is recommending through this resolution that the City Council extend the hours of the polls to be open for the 2009 City Election from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Spiegel, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL EXTENDING THE HOURS THE POLLS WILL BE OPEN FOR THE 2009 CITY ELECTION (Resolution No. R-78-09), be approved.
IX. JOINT PUBLIC HEARING
T-393 - Ordinance to Amend Chapter 24 of the City Code (City Zoning Ordinance), Article VI, Entitled, “Administration and Enforcement of Chapter,” § 24-178, Entitled, “Use and Occupancy Permits for New, Altered, or Nonconforming Uses,” to Create New Subsections §24-178(g) Entitled “Temporary Uses;” §24-178(g)(1) Through §24-178(g)(6) so as to Allow Temporary Uses
Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont presented the above joint public hearing. On September 21, 2009, during its policy discussion on sketch plan amendment Z-313 and schematic development plan SDP-09-003, the Mayor and City Council directed staff to prepare a text amendment that would allow temporary uses and develop criteria an applicant must meet in order to establish a temporary use on property in the City. Seven different standards were developed that the Mayor and City Council and/or the Planning Commission may by resolution establish or grant a temporary use upon a finding of the following:
- The use shall be listed as permitted in the zoning district and not as a prohibited use or special exception;
- The use will not adversely affect the health or safety of persons residing or working in the vicinity of the proposed uses;
- The use will not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property or improvements in the neighborhood;
- The use further enhances economic development activities in the city;
- Such a use shall be terminated at such time adjacent or abutting land uses are developed in accordance with any applicable Master Plan for the subject area;
- The period of the temporary use shall be set forth by the Mayor and City Council and/or Planning Commission in the resolution for approval; and
- An annual review shall be conducted to ensure compliance with all conditions or requirements of the approval.
As determined by the City Manager and/or Planning Commission, a request for such a temporary use shall be accompanied by so much of the information required by Section 24-169 as is necessary to properly detail and permit action upon the request.
Following discussion, staff was directed to revise the language above with flexibility for other applications and not just the two pending applications. It was suggested to combine item #5 and #6 above, the need to clarify adjacent or abutting land uses, and define the period of temporary use and have it set by the Mayor and City Council, with periodic reviews.
Speakers from the public:
- Thomas Rowse, 101 Dogwood Drive, in favor of the text amendment, but asked the City to consider the ramification of the APFO and move towards an ordinance similar to the county.
- James Clifford, 316 East Diamond Avenue, referred to the letter dated October 2, 2009 from his firm. Expressed concerns with the conflict relating to the termination and the use of adjacent and abutting properties. Suggested legislation that would have a preset termination date set by the Council.
- Peter Henry, BP Realty Investments, LLC, expressed concern with the temporary use of one property determining the termination date of another property and asked the City to consider additional language to deal with radius of an adjoining or abutting property.
There were no other speakers.
Motion was made by Commissioner Kaufman, seconded by Commissioner Lanier, that the Planning Commission hold the record on T-393, open until 5 p.m., October 30, 2009.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by Council Member Ashman, that the Mayor and City Council hold the record on T-393, open until 5 p.m., November 6, 2009.
MAYOR KATZ RECESSED THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING AT 8:21 P.M.
FOR A HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION MEETING. THE MAYOR AND
COUNCIL MEETING RECONVENED AT 8:25 P.M.
X. POLICY DISCUSSION AND STAFF GUIDANCE
- T-392 - Ordinance to Amend Chapter 24 of the City Code, Entitled, “Zoning,” Article XV, Entitled “Adequate Public Facilities,” §24-246, Entitled, “Adequacy of School Capacity,” to Create New Subsections §24-246(d), 24-246(d)(i) Through 24-246(d)(iii) so as to Increase Capacity Limitations Upon Meeting Specific Standards for Development
The joint public hearing on T-392 was held on September 9, 2009. The Mayor and City Council held open its record until 5 p.m. on October 8, 2009. There are 15 exhibits in the public record. Currently § 24-246(d) states § 24-246, states "With the exception of age restricted development, schematic development plan or preliminary site plan for residential development shall not be approved if the subject property is within the attendance area of a Montgomery County Public School that is forecasted to have a student population that exceeds 110% of Montgomery County Public Schools Program Capacity two (2) years in the future...” On August 17, 2009, City staff discussed a memorandum with the Mayor and City Council concerning the effect of the current ordinance on the redevelopment of the Summit Center shopping center next to Hidden Creek Land Bay III. Four options were presented and the Mayor and City Council directed staff to schedule a public hearing on the third option. The option proposes to allow a caveat to the 110 % rule to allow 120% capacity if the project meets the three requirements listed in the ordinance: the master plan and strategic directions of the City; compatible use and does not exceed the students forecasted for the site. The proposed 120 % school capacity is consistent with what Montgomery County Planning Board allows with their Adequate Public Facility requirements. Modifications to the language were suggested at the public hearing and are shown in Exhibit # 12. At the regular meeting of the Planning Commission on October 7, 2009, the Commission made a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council to approve T-392 with the deletion of §24-246(d)(iii).
All concurred to advance the proposed Summit Center redevelopment, but several expressed concern with the deletion of (d)(iii) students generated and suggested revising the language. It was stated that the City should not waiver from the commitment to the citizens regarding school capacity, but try and influence the County as much as possible.
Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont read the following new language for condition (d)(iii) as such: The number of students generated by the development project, as determined by Montgomery County Public Schools, does not exceed the number of students associated with the existing development and projected number of students associated with proposed future development at the development site included in the school population forecasts two years in the future.
Planning Commission Chair Bauer explained their decision to delete (d)(iii) which was to take the limit of the capacity and make it work for the project which did not apply in this case. The Commission believed that the existing language would not have held up for the proposed project and agreed to delete the condition and allow the Mayor and City Council to have the ultimate discretion to add new language which would establish and define when the condition can be applied.
Motion was made by Council Member Spiegel, seconded by, Council Member Sesma, that T-392 - AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 24 OF THE CITY CODE ENTITLED, “ZONING,” ARTICLE XV, ENTITLED “ADEQUATE PUBLIC FACILITIES,” §24-246, ENTITLED, “ADEQUACY OF SCHOOL CAPACITY,” TO CREATE NEW SUBSECTIONS §24-246(d), 24-246(d)(i) THROUGH 24-246(d)(iii) SO AS TO INCREASE CAPACITY LIMITATIONS UPON MEETING SPECIFIC STANDARDS FOR DEVELOPMENT (Ordinance No. O-15-09), be adopted.
- Staff Guidance – Closing of Record for Z-307(A)/SDP-09-002, Applicant Requests Approval for the Schematic Development Plan (SDP) and an Amended Sketch Plan Z-307(A), Known as the Residences at Hidden Creek (Former Summit Center Shopping Center), on Parcel 1, The Summit, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Proposed Plan Includes a Mix of Uses, Including 300 Multi-Family Units and 12,000 Square Feet of Retail and Amenity Uses on Approximately 6.58 Acres of Land. The Parcel is Located in the Northeast Quadrant of Goshen Road and Girard Street at 559 Girard Street, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the MXD (Mixed Use Development) Zone
On July 20, 2009, the Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission held a joint public hearing on the above. At that time, the City Council voted to hold the records open until September 3, 2009. After review of the above, the Mayor and City Council voted to hold their record open indefinitely at their August 3, 2009 meeting. Since that time, a public hearing was held for the previous agenda item (T-392), to amend the School Capacity requirements related to the Adequate Public Facilities. The Planning Commission voted on September 16, 2009, to close their records on October 9, 2009. Their recommendation is scheduled for October 21, 2009. Staff is recommending that the Mayor and City Council announce the closing of their records of the subject applications on Friday October 26, 2009, at 5 p.m.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that the Mayor and City Council close their record on Z-307(A) at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 26, 2009.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that the Mayor and City Council close their record on SDP-09-002 at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 26, 2009.
- Staff Guidance – Amending Chapter 15-8, “Disturbing the Peace” of the City Code
Neighborhood Services Director Roman referred to staff’s memorandum dated September 28, 2009. Staff received a number of resident concerns over the summer created by amplified music during outdoor events in residential areas. Concern were related to the length of time or time of day the music is permitted to occur.
Staff reviewed the City Code referenced above and Montgomery County Code Chapter 31B which is applicable in the City. It was noted that the two had conflicting definitions of nighttime hours when specifically addressing amplified sound by outdoor speakers, radios, television or other similar devices. Staff developed three options for the Mayor and City Council and recommended Option 1 which is to amend City Code Section 15-8(b) from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. to the current County defined nighttime hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. This option would ensure consistency between the City and county. It also would not only help protect residential properties from unreasonable noise disturbances past 9 p.m., but also help clarify consistent regulations for Cit and county officers responding to noise concerns within the City limits. Staff was directed to come back with suggest language defining noise, consistent definitions of daytime and nighttime and noise levels and violations and have further discussion to go to public hearing.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at approximately 9:50 p.m.