Mayor and Council Meeting, 3/21/2011
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011
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, Deputy City Manager Tomasello, Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont, Public Works Director Arnoult, Parks, Recreation and Culture Director Potter, Legislative Affairs Coordinator Sanchez, Community Services Director Carr, Recreation Program Coordinator Alcorn, Part-Time Recreation Leader Rocke, City Attorney Board and Municipal Clerk Stokes.
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge was led by former Council Member J. Persensky.
In lieu of an invocation, Mayor Katz called for a moment of silence.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council regular meeting held February 7, 2011, be approved.
Motion was made by Council Member Drzyzgula, seconded by, Council Member Ashman, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council regular meeting held February 22, 2011, be approved.
Vote: 4-0-1 (Abstained: Spiegel)
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Spiegel, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council work session held March 14, 2011, be approved.
Vote: 3-0-2 (Abstained: Marraffa and Sesma)
IV. CONSENT ITEMS
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Negotiate and Execute a Contract for the Purchase of Public Art for Washingtonian South
This resolution authorized the City Manager to negotiate a contract for the design, fabrication, transportation, engineering services, and installation of artwork at the above location from Marcia Billig, 15 Savannah Court, Bethesda, Maryland 20817, in an amount not to exceed Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000); 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 to Purchase and Install Playground Equipment for Washingtonian Woods Park and Kelley Park
This resolution authorized the City Manager to award a contract for the purchase and installation of playground equipment for the above parks to Playground Specialists Inc., 17352 North Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727, in the amount of One Hundred Eighteen Thousand Dollars ($118,000), said funds to be expended from the Operating Budget.
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract to Purchase One (1) Toro Groundsmaster Mower
This resolution authorized the City Manager to award a contract to purchase one (1) Toro Groundsmaster Mower from Turf Equipment and Supply Company, Inc., 8015 Dorsey Run Road, Jessup, Maryland 20794, in the amount of Seventy-Eight Thousand Four Hundred Seventy-One Dollars ($78,471); said funds to be expended from the Operating Budget.
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract to Provide Mowing and Landscape Maintenance of City Right-of-Ways
This resolution authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract for mowing and landscaping City right-of-ways with Advantage Landscape, Post Office Box 10118, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20898-0118, in an amount not to exceed Thirty-Five Thousand Four Hundred Thirty Dollars ($35,430) for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011; and Seventy-Nine Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Four Dollars ($79,794) per year for the remainder of the contract period; said funds to be expended from the Operating Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that the Consent Agenda (Resolution Nos. R-15-11 through R-18-11), be approved.
- Resolution Establishing an Ad Hoc Mayor and City Council Compensation Review Committee and Confirming Appointments by the Mayor Thereto
This resolution established and confirmed the following appointments: Edward Larson, 6 Keystone Court, 20878, Mackenzie Milo, 19 McCausland Place, 20877, and Julius Persensky, 116 Summit Hall Road, 20877. The committee was charged with reviewing information and data concerning the compensation of elected officials of other jurisdictions in the region and the workload of the Mayor and City Council, and to provide recommendations to the Mayor and City Council as to whether any adjustments are appropriate by June 30, 2011.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING AN AD HOC MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL COMPENSATION REVIEW COMMITTEE AND CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR THERETO (Resolution No. R-19-11), be approved.
- Resolution of the City Council Confirming an Appointment by the Mayor to the Planning Commission
This resolution confirmed the following appointment: Geri Lanier, 533 Kersten Street, 20878; five-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING AN APPOINTMENT BY THE MAYOR TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION (Resolution No. R-20-11), be approved.
- Resolution of the City Council Confirming Appointments by the Mayor to the Board of Appeals
This resolution confirmed the following appointments: Aaron Kotok, 939 Featherstone Street, 20878, Robert W. Chiswell, 815 Pointer Ridge Drive, 20878, and Gene M. Wasserman, Esq. (Alternate), 731 Summer Walk Drive, 20878; three-year terms.
Motion was made by Council Member Spiegel, seconded by, Council Member Sesma, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR TO THE BOARD OF APPEALS (Resolution No. R-21-11), be approved.
VI. OATH OF OFFICE
Mayor Katz administered the oath of office to Geri Lanier to serve as a full member of the Planning Commission, and to Board of Appeals members Aaron Kotok, Robert W. Chiswell, and Gene M. Wasserman, Esq. (Alternate).
- GREAT Awards
On behalf of the Mayor and Council and the City’s Educational Enrichment Committee, GREAT awards were presented to Brown Station, Rachel Carson Elementary and Gaithersburg Middle Schools. GREAT stands for “Gaithersburg Recognizing Educational Achievement Today” and it promotes and celebrates higher achievement and successes in Gaithersburg area schools.
Brown Station Elementary School was recognized for its “Mornings in the School” program, which provides babysitting services to parents so they can volunteer in the school.
Rachel Carson Elementary School celebrated its Parent and Student Outreach program at Governor Square Apartments Community Center. Since 2009, the support, outreach and tutoring program has operated every Tuesday afternoon/evening both during the school year and over the summer.
Gaithersburg Middle School celebrated the good works of Michael Berry, Arvand Homer, Adinin Parikh, Jeremy Rubin, and Emily Samuels for their work with the Food Recovery Ambassadors Program. Under the guidance of Afarin Homer and the Youth Leadership Training Academy, these students have collected over 1,000 pounds of unopened food from fellow students for the Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen.
- Certificate of Recognition
Mayor Katz presented certificates to the Olde Towne Youth Center members of the First LEGO League Team, “Bio Bricks”. Bio Bricks is comprised of middle school students from the Youth Center in Olde Towne. The Team began practicing twice weekly in October of 2010, led by parent volunteer Maisie Cummings-Rocke. Practice increased to five days as the regional competition approached. On January 29, 2011 the Bio Bricks Team won the ‘Judges’ award, progressing to the State Championship on February 26, 2011, placing solidly in the top 60 out of over 200 teams. Bio Bricks has been invited to participate as exhibitors at Rockville Science Day on April 10, 2011. Youth Club members of Bio Bricks are: Maisie Rocke, Gunny Rocke, John Bernard, Victor Hawkins, Eric DeWebber and Nailah (Nylz) Saleem.
- Building Awards Presentation for the Youth Center in Olde Towne
In June of 2010, the Youth Center in Olde Towne attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, making it the first youth center in the country and the fourth building in Maryland to achieve this certification; the highest level possible. Since that time, the Youth Center project has had the honor of two additional prestigious awards bestowed.
On January 27, 2011, the Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) presented the “New Construction – Exemplary Local Green Facility” award in the Sustainable Buildings category. The nomination was submitted by Maginniss + del Ninno Architects.
On February 17, 2011, the building, with Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing systems designed by local Consulting Engineer, Gipe Associates, Inc., received the highest honor presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Maryland (ACEC-MD), the 2011 Grand Award.
The awards were achieved for the innovative techniques and sustainable features, including a geothermal heat pump HVAC system, water-use reduction, use of total energy recovery heat wheels on a dedicated fresh air heat pump unit, use of natural daylight and light tubes coupled with lighting controls to reduce artificial light when natural light is present, and the use of a photovoltaic array to reduce electricity usage in the facility.
- Update on the 2011 State Legislative Session and the City’s Legislative Priorities
Legislative Coordinator Affairs Sanchez gave a brief update on the following City legislative priorities which were approved by the Mayor and City Council on October 4, 2010: Legal Notice Publication Option (Gaithersburg recently amended the City Charter to allow notices to be posted on the City’s website), Mandatory Direct Deposit for Employees (March 15th the Senate passed SB 484 with amendments requiring new employees hired after October 1st to have as a condition of employment), State Bond Bill (SB 345, the City submitted $450,000 bond bill request to assist with the repair, reconstruction and renovation at the Water Park at Bohrer Park. Senator Forehand and Delegate Barve are lead sponsors of the bill request), and others bills of interest (SB-230, request made by Senator King, sponsored by Senator Forehand to protect personal contact information, inspection of public and adoption records. On March 11, HB 329 passed unanimously in the House with an amendment to permit inspection of certain information by a person of interest).
She reported that the 428th Legislative Session began on January 12, 2011. Governor Martin O’Malley formally submitted his proposed budget to the General Assembly on January 21, 2011. The proposal includes flat funding for municipal governments in terms of funding for state shared Highway User Revenue (HUR) and state aid for police protection. Under the budget, HUR funding would continue at less than five percent of levels provided prior to initial budget cuts in the HUR program which began in 2009. She stated that the Maryland General Appropriations Committee voted to increase HUR funding for municipalities during this fiscal year from $1.6M to $10M. The funding is a onetime grant to alleviate economic pressures. She added that police aid funding would similarly remain at reduced levels experienced in FY 2010 and FY 2011.
VIII. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
- Arthur Stearn, 226 Kentlands Boulevard, expressed opposition to sign changes on Kentlands Boulevard due to the impact on the residence.
- Clark Day, 26 Walker Avenue, photographed the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, applauded staff’s cleanup service, and mentioned that he received the Gaithersburg Book Festival pamphlet in the mail.
- Tom Rowse, 101 Dogwood Drive, thanked staff for handling the crosswalk at the Archstone development for pedestrian safety and for supporting Autism Awareness.
IX. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Marraffa
- Announced the vacancies on various boards, commissions and committees.
- Attended the National League of Cities (NLC) Conference in Washington, DC and serves on the Advisory Council. The Council had been charged to focus on lobbying Congress on Capitol Hill for CDBG funding, investment in the transportation infrastructure, and the immigration system.
- Thanked staff and volunteers for a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Council Member Spiegel
- Congratulated those schools and students that were recipients of awards throughout the evening. Offered congratulations to all the new appointees and those sworn in to serve the community.
- Thanked all involved in making the Olde Towne Youth Center a reality and reiterated that it is the first LEED Platinum youth center in the country.
- Attended an afternoon tea at the Kentlands Mansion to honor the volunteers and programs at the Arts Barn and the Mansion.
- Echoed thanks to the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
- Reported that the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League held their annual meeting with representatives of the County Council to discussed tax duplication and other issues such as state legislation and challenges and PEPCO’s reliability.
- Announced the Mayor and City Council are seeking to fill the Planning Commission alternate position. Deadline to submit a letter for consideration is Friday, April 15, 2011. Those that applied for the full position will remain under consideration for the alternate position.
Council Vice President Ashman
- Congratulated all the award winners this evening.
- Remind citizens to subscribe to Alert Gaithersburg, an emergency notification system.
- Announced that the Gaithersburg Book Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 21st. Gaithersburg will be the center of the cultural world featuring award winning authors.
Council Member Drzyzgula
- Announced that the Mayor and City Council are seeking to fill vacancies on the Board of Supervisors of Elections, one full member and one alternate. Deadline to submit is Friday, April 15th, 2011, and those interested must reside within the corporate City limits.
- Echoed the meeting with County Council members to talk about Municipal issues was productive.
- Attended a pep rally at Gaithersburg High School to recognize the Lady Trojans Girls Basketball Team and Chelsea Harris’ State recognition for high jump.
- Attended the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Committee meeting at the Council of Government and received an update on the requirements for the watershed implementation plan. Reported that the numbers and targets to meet will be available in July, but plans are due in June. The committee highlighted the bill for reusable bags. Stated there are proposed fees in county and state legislature.
Council Member Sesma
- Echoed congratulation to the Girls Basketball team for their 25-0 record and Chelsea Harris on becoming a high jump champion. Also congratulated the other award winners mentioned earlier in the meeting.
- On March 9th attended an event at the Arts Barn, met and spoke with author Rachel Simon about her book entitled “The House on Teacher’s Lane”. Mentioned that the Kentlands House and Garden Tour will be held on May 14th which will showcase renovated living spaces.
- Attended the NLC Conference in Washington, D.C., and reported that cities are seeking funding for CDBG funds which serves as a catalyst for financing housing, infrastructure, and economic development in all cities and towns. NLC is seeking stories on how CDBG funds have been used and contributed towards development and job creation. Reported that First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance at the conference to talk about her Let’s Move Campaign and address childhood obesity in the United States. Stated that Gaithersburg is already participating and encouraged other cities to do the same.
- Reported that the Energy, Environments Natural Resources Committee is focusing on policy issues that the NLC recommended. Lobbying efforts will focus on clean energy sources, natural gases and nuclear energy. Attended a program on LEED Neighborhood Design which was hosted by the US Green Building Council.
Council Member Marraffa added that Gaithersburg is ahead in new urbanism and suggested a tour of Gaithersburg in the coming years.
- Requested the following:
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa to onduct a closed Executive Session immediately following its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 21, 2011 at City Hall. The meeting is proposed to be closed pursuant to the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Sections 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; and 10-508(a)(1)(ii) any other personnel matter that affects 1 or more specific individuals.
- Directed staff to send a letter to Metro stating the City’s concerns.
- Announced the following meeting schedule:
work session Monday, March 28, 2011, to City’s Communications Plan and a briefing from Community Advisory Committee
- next regular meeting scheduled for Monday, April 4, 2011.
X. CITY MANAGER
Proposed Address Changes for Copperfield Crossing
Addressed the issue of the proposed address change to two Copperfield Crossing buildings and the impact to residence (approximately 28 households). Concerns were raised by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services in October 2009 of unsafe conditions. Staff met with all parties involved and believes it is in the best interest of those residents to change their addresses. If it is allowed to remain, the City will be held liable. Staff drafted a letter to notify residents as well as all applicable agencies such as utility companies, fire and police contacts. City Manager Jones stated that City staff will be available to assist any resident with special needs and recommended a onetime stipend of $2,500 to the condominium association to help offset the costs incurred as a result of the change.
XI. FROM THE DEPUTY CITY MANAGER
Economic Development Update
- Announced that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) had begun an express bus service from Gaithersburg’s park and ride lot on Route 124 to the BWI Amtrak Station. Service includes 14 round trips per day, 7 days a week for $5, $3.20 for senior citizens from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m., 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. City staff will promote the service with MTA staff in the coming weeks.
- Attended the Maryland Downtown Development Association meeting on sustainable communities. Planner Matt Bowling also attended the meeting.
- Reported that staff will move forward with the Firehouse project. The surplus process will begin in the next couple of months and options will be presented.
- Reported that staff will re-advertise for the Economic Development position. Deadline to submit is April 15th.
XII. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND REGULATIONS
Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Adopting the Fiscal Year 2012 Strategic Plan
Deputy City Manager Tomasello presented the above resolution. The Mayor and City Council held a Planning Retreat on February 28th and revisions into the draft plan had been incorporated.
The Strategic Planning Retreat provides an opportunity for the Mayor and Council and senior staff to establish short and long term policy goals, identifies improvement areas, and begin to establish the work session schedule for the coming year. The Strategic Plan document guides the City Manager in developing the proposed operating and capital budgets and to create work plans for City departments. It also helps residents to understand the City’s goals and how we plan to address them.
At the retreat, the Mayor and City Council endorsed the 11 individual Strategic Directions presented and made many suggestions and revisions. The revised document is the Fiscal Year 2012 version of the plan and supersedes previously adopted version. Council Member Spiegel applauded staff for adding the table of contents, explanation of terms, and separate Strategic Direction for Human Services.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL ADOPTING THE FISCAL YEAR 2012 STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE CITY OF GAITHERSBURG (Resolution No. R-22-11) be approved.
XIII. POLICY DISCUSSION AND STAFF GUIDANCE
- Staff Guidance to Adopt a Beaver Management Policy for the City
The City’s suburban environment had become attractive for beavers in the Muddy Branch and Seneca Creek watersheds. Beaver dams in streams can provide beneficial habitat for wildlife and improve stormwater management, especially in areas that have been set aside as wildlife corridors. They are native to the area and have been around for years, but recently have been causing concern at the City’s stormwater management ponds and drainage structures.
Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont presented an updated version of the proposed official policy. Language had been added to ensure that prior to disruption or demolition, the Department of Public Works will evaluate adjacent properties and assess the likelihood of proximate relocation. Careful attention will be made so that relocation does not negatively impact nearby property owners.
- T-402 – An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 24 of the City Code (City Zoning Ordinance), Entitled “Zoning,” Article IX, Entitled, “Signs,” Section 24-209, Entitled, “Definitions, Signs,” and Section 24-213, Entitled, “Nonconforming Signs,” so as to allow Nonconforming Signs to remain until Structurally Altered
Planning and Code Administration Director Ossont stated a work session was held in December 2010, joint public hearing in February 2011 and the Planning Commission made a recommendation for adoption on March 2, 2011. He mentioned that there are two elements to the text amendment. First, the types of signs that would have required compliance effective February 7th would be permitted to remain until structurally altered. Second, a new definition crafted to define “structurally altered.” Stated that staff believes the definition change is appropriate to address concerns involving minor changes in signage that would otherwise trigger full compliance. The language is consistent with the American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service and the International Sign Association.
Motion was made by Council Member Marraffa, seconded by, Council Member Spiegel , that T-402 – AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 24 OF THE CITY CODE (CITY ZONING ORDINANCE), ENTITLED “ZONING,” ARTICLE IX, ENTITLED, “SIGNS,” SECTION 24-209, ENTITLED, “DEFINITIONS, SIGNS,” AND SECTION 24-213, ENTITLED, “NONCONFORMING SIGNS,” SO AS TO ALLOW NONCONFORMING SIGNS TO REMAIN UNTIL STRUCTURALLY ALTERED (Ordinance No. O-1-11), be adopted.
There being no further business to come before this session of the Mayor and City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at approximately 8:50 p.m.