Mayor and Council Meeting, 1/3/2012
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
CITY HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2012
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, and Sesma. Absent: Spiegel. Staff present: City Manager Jones, Deputy City Manager Tomasello, Public Works Director Arnoult, Planning Director Pruss, Economic Development Director Lonergan, City Attorney Board, and Municipal Clerk Stokes. Planning Commission present for the joint hearing: Bauer, Hopkins, Kaufman, Lanier, and Winborne.
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge was led by Abdullah (inaudible), Boy Scout Troop #1097, chartered by the Izaak Walton League of America, Rockville Chapter.
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 Marraffa, that the minutes of the Mayor and Council regular meeting held November 21, 2011, be approved.
IV. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Mayor and City Council wished the Gaithersburg community a Happy New Year!
Council Member Drzyzgula
- Announced activities for the month of January:
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute event at Strathmore in Bethesda, Monday, January 16th. The City joins with Montgomery County, Takoma Park and Garrett Park in this countywide celebration. The musical tribute starts at 4 p.m. The King celebration on January 16th also encompasses a day of service. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is coordinating a variety of service projects at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Marinelli Road and at the Universities at Shady Grove on Gudelsky Drive from 1 to 3 p.m. Call the Volunteer Center at 240-777-2570 for details.
- Comedy and Magic at the Arts Barn Fridays, January 6th and February 3rd at 8 p.m.
- "Art', a Tony Award-winning comedy about friendships tested by perceptions of art, produced in partnership with Montgomery Playhouse at the Arts Barn weekends January 13th through 29th.
- Artist Receptions celebrating the Multi Media works displayed at the Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion Galleries on Tuesday, January 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.
- Vendor applications are being accepted for Gaithersburg's indoor flea markets on Saturdays, February 25th and March 24th at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
For more information for all of these events, including hours, admission fees, and ticket purchase, is available at www.gaithersburgmd.gov.
Council Member Sesma
- Thanked the Gaithersburg community for contributing to the City's Holiday Giving Program.
- Encouraged citizens to prepare for the winter season.
Council Member Marraffa
Thanked staff for their efforts and activities during the holiday season and for an enjoyable Winter Lights festival which he attended with his grandchildren.
Council Member Ashman
- Congratulated staff for a successful Winter Lights festival.
- Attended the Wells/Robertson House holiday dinner with other members of the City Council.
- Urge citizens to subscribe to Alert Gaithersburg, emergency notification system that immediately contacts subscribers during a major crisis or emergency. Visit http://alert.gaithersburgmd.gov for more information.
- Announced that the Mayor and City Council are seeking members to serve on City Committees. Visit the City's website for the listing of committee vacancies at www.gaithersburgmd.gov.
- Reported that he and his wife were accompanied by Chesapeake Beach Mayor Bruce Wahl and a van of 12 individuals for the Winter Lights festival.
- Announced the following meeting schedule
- Work session, Monday, January 9, 2012, at City Hall to receive a presentation from Johns Hopkins and an update on the Campus Master Plan
- Next regular meeting, Tuesday, January 17, 2012.
V. FROM THE CITY MANAGER
Reported that staff is working with a consultant to select candidates for the Planning and Code Administration Director position. A list of interested applicants will be compiled.
VI. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
Economic Development Director Lonergan
- Reported that the City issued its first property tax rebate check to GSX Inc. The five-year rebate agreement was part of the economic development incentive package granted to GSX back in 2009. GSX agreed to relocate their world headquarters to 9711 Washingtonian Blvd and has met and exceeded the hiring requirements and conditions in the original agreement.
- Sears Holding announced that 80 stores are prepared to close. The Lakeforest Mall and Lakelands locations are not on the list of cuts. Another list of cuts will be provided at a later date.
- Reported that the City is working with an existing lab business headquartered in the City on a potential Economic Development Toolbox grant to assist with the cost of purchasing and installing a new generator system to service their space.
- Meeting scheduled with the president of a southern based biotech company interested in moving some of their labs and employees into the City of Gaithersburg and interested in toolbox funding for build out cost.
- Attending the MEDA (Maryland Economic Development Associates) 2012 Winter Conference in Annapolis.
VII. ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND REGULATIONS
- Introduction of an Ordinance to Amend Chapter 6C of the City Code Entitled "Elections" by Amending Section 6C-12 Entitled "Restrictions on Campaign Contributions"
This Ordinance amends Chapter 6C of the City Code entitled "Elections" to revise Section 12 entitled "Restrictions on Campaign Contributions" to exempt contributions of a candidate or the candidate's spouse to the candidate's own campaign from the contribution restrictions. Public hearing will be scheduled for Monday, February 6, 2012. Staff was directed to revise the proposed language that talks about the contributions having to pass through a candidates campaign account. It was clarified that it would be reimbursement for monetary contributions, not in-kind donations.
Motion was made by Council Member Sesma, seconded by, Council Member Ashman, that the above ordinance, be introduced.
- Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Declaring the Property at 300 Dogwood Drive Surplus and Authorizing the City Manager to Dispose of the Property By Direct Negotiations
A 1,728 square foot structure on 10,800 square feet of land is under consideration. The property had been offered for sale to eligible City employees and to date, no employees have made an offer. This resolution declared that the property at 300 Dogwood Drive is not needed for public use and is hereby declared surplus and the City Manager is authorized to immediately negotiate, and thereafter execute a contract of sale to dispose of the property at 300 Dogwood Drive. It was noted that the sale may not go forth immediately.
Several City Council members agreed that the prime objective should be to not keep the property vacant any longer. City staff will move forward to either retain a real estate agent or auction company.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL DECLARING THE PROPERTY AT 300 DOGWOOD DRIVE SURPLUS AND AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO DISPOSE OF THE PROPERTY BY DIRECT NEGOTIATIONS (Resolution No. R- 1-12), be approved.
VIII. PUBLIC HEARING
T-404 - 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 Amend Subsections §§ 24-246(d), 24-246(d)(i) Throughout 24-246(d)(iii)
Planning Director Pruss presented the above amendment to Chapter 24. The hearing was advertised on December 14 and 21, 2011 in the Gaithersburg Gazette and posted on the City's website on December 14, 2011. There are currently eight exhibits in the record file. On December 5, 2011, the Mayor and City Council sponsored an application to amend Section 24-246 to provide the flexibility in granting a waiver of the schools test of the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). The proposed amendment would allow the Mayor and City Council to grant a waiver of the existing 110% school capacity standard provided the development is compatible with the existing and proposed adjacent land uses. To grant a requested waiver under the proposed amendment, the Mayor and City Council would need to make a favorable finding that either:
i. The project is necessary to implement the master plan or strategic directions and attract an appropriate and compatible type or caliber of user; or
ii. 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 (2) years in the future.
An amendment of the current two-year time frame for capacity review is also under consideration for modification to a five-year capacity review. Staff prepared two drafted ordinances which are the same except that there is the two-year vs. five-year capacity review.
Concerns were expressed about having different waiver provisions than other jurisdictions and not having the ability to build projects. It was questioned whether the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) system had a waiver provision for school capacity. Again, it was suggested that the City meet with other jurisdictions and stakeholders to discuss broader regulations from the various jurisdictions. It was noted that the flaw in the county's ordinance is that there is no protection at the individual school level. The City's proposed draft ordinance would allow for consideration, providing a reasonable balance between overcrowding and hindering development. It was noted that there will not be a level playing field as long as MCPS and the county uses the cluster capacity model instead of the individual school model. All agreed to provide protection for Gaithersburg area schools. It was stated that the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance issues are confusing and that public officials need to strike a balance between quality of life and healthy growth. The City is seeking to propose amendments to the APFO school test which would trigger a moratorium if it reaches over the 110% school capacity. Several agreed that the APFO school test has to work now and beyond and to ensure that Gaithersburg is not left off the list for rebuilding.
Speakers from the public:
- Mark Ezin, 706 Turtle Pond Lane, had been involved with Gaithersburg schools and this discussion over this issue for over seven years. Asked that the county match the APFO of Gaithersburg and agreed with the proposed amendments to strike the right balance to allow for future development while maintaining the quality of life in Gaithersburg.
- Roy Fleischer, 444 Placid Street, have been involved with Gaithersburg's schools for over 15 years. Request that there be public involved when jurisdictions and stakeholders come together for further discussion.
- Beth Kennington, 3 Cullinan Drive, serves the Northwest cluster. Stated that the county's school test puts schools over capacity. Thanked the Mayor and City Council for advocating for funds to improve Gaithersburg. Stated that development and economic growth is important to increase the tax base and create jobs in the county. Further stated that the current APFO lacks an enforcement mechanism for the completion of a development and the capacity needs of the community. Urged the City to include citizens and educational advocates in future discussions.
There were no other speakers from the public.
Motion was made by Commissioner Kaufman, seconded by, Commissioner Winborne, that the Planning Commission record be held open until 5 p.m. on January 25, 2012.
Motion was made by Council Member Ashman, seconded by, Council Member Drzyzgula, that Mayor and City Council record be held open until 5 p.m. on February 2, 2012.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:25 p.m.