Mayor and Council Meeting, 2/20/2001
CITY OF GAITHERSBURG
MINUTES OF A REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
February 20, 2001
A meeting of the Mayor and City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m., Mayor Katz presiding. Council Members present: Alster, Davis, Edens, Marraffa, and Somerset. Staff present: City Manager Humpton, Assistant City Manager Felton, Intern Faust, Economic and Community Development Director Tomasello, Planner Schwarz, Planning Analyst Patula, Police Chief Viverette, Recreation Program Supervisor Poole, Fire Marshal Humberson, Permits and Inspections Director Burnette, Capital Projects Coordinator Appenzellar, City Attorney Abrams, and Administrative Assistant Stokes. Planning Commissioners present for joint public hearing: Schlichting, Bauer, Keller, and Levy.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by City Manager's Office Intern Tim Faust.
In lieu of an invocation, Mayor Katz called for a moment of silence.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Council Member Davis, seconded by Council Member Somerset, that the minutes of a Mayor and Council meeting held February 5, 2001, be approved.
Vote: 4-0-1 (Abstained: Edens)
1. Resolution of the City Council Confirming Appointments of the Mayor
This resolution approved the following appointments: Community Advisory Board, Janeth M. Welch, 14 Plum Grove Way, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, two-year term; Gaithersburg Senior Council, Elizabeth E. Debelius, 11212 White Barn Court, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879, and Gloria Mancuso, 18502 Sweet Autumn Drive, #204, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879, two-year terms; Police Chief's Advisory Council, Marsha Leikin, 433 Christopher Avenue, #21, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879, two-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF GAITHERSBURG CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS OF THE MAYOR TO THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD, GAITHERSBURG SENIOR COUNCIL, AND POLICE CHIEF'S ADVISORY COUNCIL (Resolution No. R-12-01) be approved.
2. Resolution of the City Council of Gaithersburg Confirming Appointments of the Mayor to the Board of Appeals
This resolution confirms the appointments of Victor W. Macdonald, 409 Ridgepoint Place, and Gary F. Trojak, 4 Keystone Court, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, three-year terms.
Mayor Katz noted that four positions have become vacate for the Board of Appeals and the City Council desires to establish staggered terms, therefore, the terms of current members Jim Harris and Harvey Kaye have been extend for one year. The new members appointed this evening would have the mandated three years creating the staggered terms the City Council desires. He stated the alternate position would not be filled at this time.
City Attorney Abrams clarified that the expired terms of the above two Board of Appeals members are not being extended, but held over until other appointments have been made.
Mayor Katz administered the Oath of Office to both individuals appointed this evening to the Board of Appeals.
Motion was made by Council Member Somerset, seconded by Council Member Alster, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF GAITHERSBURG CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS OF THE MAYOR TO THE BOARD OF APPEALS (Resolution No. R-13-01) be approved.
3. Resolution of the City Council of Gaithersburg Confirming An Appointment of the Mayor to the Planning Commission
This resolution confirms the appointment of Leonard Levy, 14 Supreme Court, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, five-year term. Mayor Katz administered the Oath of Office to Planning Commissioner-appointed Leonard Levy.
Motion was made by Council Member Alster, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF GAITHERSBURG CONFIRMING AN APPOINTMENT OF THE MAYOR TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION (Resolution No. R-14-01) be approved.
(Note: Resolution confirming the appointment of Kurt Karst (alternate) to the Planning Commission was postponed until some questions for the alternate position are clarified.)
- Certificate of Recognition
Mayor Katz presented the above certificate to Nicole Reed for her participation in the State of the City Dinner. Ms. Reed honored all in attendance with a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer following the invocation at the dinner.
- Certificates of Appreciation
Mayor Katz and Recreation Program Supervisor Elizabeth Poole presented certificates to the following participating sponsors who gave generous support with cash donations or in kind services, and checks (actual checks mailed) to charities receiving funds from the 2000 - 2001 Winter Lights Program.
Sponsors: Mix 107.3 ($52,000 in kind), Lakeforest Shopping Center ($21,000 cash and in kind), Journal Newspapers ($25,000 in kind), Gazette Newspaper ($12,000), Adventist Healthcare ($5,000 cash), Macroland ($5,000 cash), PEPCO ($5,000 cash), Comcast ($30,000 in kind), WTTG Fox5 ($10,000), OBA Federal Savings and Loan ($5,000 in kind), Hughes Network Systems ($1,000 cash), Giant, Inc. ($1,000 cash), and MedImmune ($1,000 cash); Charities: Shady Grove Adventist Hospital - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ($2,500), Hospice Caring, Inc. ($2,500), Friends of Seneca State Park ($2,500), Friends of Wells/Robertson House ($2,500), W. Edward Bohrer, Jr. CHARACTER COUNTS! Scholarship for Youth ($2,500), and Upper Montgomery Assistance Network ($2,500).
- JoAnn Schimke, 734 Tiffany Court, congratulated those individuals sworn in this evening to the Board of Appeals and Planning Commission. She thanked those applicants that submitted their resumes and encouraged them and others to not be disheartened, but to continue to support the City of Gaithersburg and its diverse community.
- Bob Knopf, Quadrangle Development, gave a brief presentation of the changes Arbee Associates have made to the proposed structure at the February 5, 2001 Mayor and City Council meeting. He showed a more traditional building with different windows, roof, and a height change from 35 to 30 feet. He stated Arbee Associates is still making some improvements to the building and asked for some encouragement from the City Council. He stated a meeting with the community is being arranged.
Mayor Katz noted that Arbee Associates did ask for the record to be held open until March 19, 2001. City Attorney Abrams asked the City Council to keep their record open indefinitely and notify the public a week before closing the record.
City Council Members concurred that Arbee Associates should continue to work out the compatibility issue and come to an agreement with the community.
- Larry Seeger, 1015 Bayridge Terrace, expressed encouragement with the efforts of Arbee Associates to work with the community.
FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Marraffa
Stated that WSSC and the State of Maryland are involved in an ongoing study on the water and copper pipes in Montgomery County. He stated two of his neighbors recently dealt with busted pipes and he himself had replaced 90 percent of his pipes in his homes. He asked for staff to investigate on how widespread this problem is and possibly poll HOA presidents.
Council Member Somerset
- Stated she attended a recent grand opening of the new police station to serve the Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Montgomery Village area.
- Stated she attended a District 17 team reception in Annapolis. She noted the Governor and Lt. Governor stopped by and complimented the work that our delegates are doing.
- Reported the Civic Federation hosted a presentation by the Brookings Institute on the Washington Metropolitan Region and some of the changes going on. Asked the City to invite them to make a presentation at a work session to hear about their findings on the macro type changes going on in our region. She suggested possibly inviting PEPCO to give a presentation on electricity availability, cost, and distribution.
Council Member Alster
- Stated he and staff went to Annapolis on February 14, 2001, to testify in support of a proposed Senate Bill to create a task force on telecommunications (calling areas and a variety of other issues). He stated there has been opposition to the bill by some of the larger telephone companies.
- Stated he, Mayor Katz, Council Member Marraffa, and staff were in Annapolis for Gaithersburg Day on February 15, 2001. He stated it was an opportunity to meet with Senators and Delegates and discuss the City's financial needs and share some of our ongoing projects.
- Passed on a video for other Council Members review and staff, provided by the Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board which addresses traffic issues. He suggested possibly airing he video on the City's Cable Channel.
- Asked staff to investigate the potholes on the roads, specifically northbound on 355. Asked staff to contact State Highway Administration regarding scheduled repairs.
- Congratulated the individuals appointed to the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals.
Council Member Edens
Announced upcoming City events.
Council Member Davis
Announced Asbury Methodist Village now receives the cable channels.
- Stated he and Assistant City Manager Felton went to Annapolis on February 19, 2001 to discuss the Legacy Fund, which would possibly allow the City to receive some additional monies.
- Stated a citizen requested staff investigate the entranceway to the South Summit Avenue United States Post Office.
- City Manager Humpton stated construction should begin Summer/early Fall for streetscape improvements for South Summit Avenue. He stated the City Council did approve changes of the access from the Post Office and he received an agreement from the Post Office.
- Asked for a motion from the City Council to defer their executive session scheduled for this evening to discuss a legal and property acquisition matter until after the March 5, 2001 meeting.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Davis, to defer the February 20, 2001 executive session to discuss a "legal" and "property acquisition" matter.
- Asked the City Council to defer the adoption of the Environmental Standards Regulation to allow staff to review several items in the regulation.
- Stated the Gazette and other publications reported a work session next week regarding the park school site at the Lakelands. He reminded the City Council and public that there will not be work session on that topic next week. He stated the City will notify the public of the meeting when it is scheduled.
- Stated a work session will be conducted on February 26, 2001, and the topic of discuss will be the Comprehensive Sign Package for the City's Parks and Facilities. The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee Update will be deferred.
- Reported on the progress for the undergrounding of utilities in front of City Hall. He stated Verizon has completed most of its work and PEPCO can now come back and begin to remove the wires and put the new wiring system underground. Completion is expected by the end of Spring.
1. Joint - SDP-00-005 - Application Requests Amendment to Schematic Development Plan SDP-7-1, Approved July 7, 1997, for Kentlands Midtown, Phase 2, Section 4. The Amendment Proposes to Change 16 Townhouse Offices to 30 Condominium Units and 10,000 Square Feet of Retail Space on Bucksfield Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Property is Located in the MXD (Mixed Use Development) Zone and the Review is allowed by Sections 24-160D.11 and 24-198(c) of the City of Gaithersburg Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 24 of the City Code)
Planner Schwarz stated the above public hearing is an application to amend the SDP-7-1 which was approved in July 1997. She stated Kentlands Midtown, Phase 2, Section 4 is located at the intersection of Kentlands Boulevard and Great Seneca Highway. She stated the application proposes to change what was approved for 16 townhouse offices to 30 condominium units and 10,000 square feet of retail space and six townhouse units. She stated the public hearing was advertised in the issues of the Gaithersburg Gazette on January 31 and February 7, 2001, and 24 exhibits are presently in the record file. She stated Mr. Chuck Covell will give a brief presentation for the applicant, The Bozzuto Group. She noted that during staff''s preliminary review, there was concern about the required parking and the proposed parking that was shown on the site for the uses proposed.
Charles Covell, Vice President of Bozzuto Homes, speaking on behalf of Bozzuto Homes and Great Seneca Development Corporation, gave a presentation showing the proposed site and elevations. He addressed the live/work components stating the proposed revisions would be a condominium product where the individual retail would be based on the lower level and sold as commercial condominiums and the upper level space would be sold as residential condominiums. He reviewed the proposed changes in the streetscape with a more continuous street frontage and flat roofs on the three buildings at a four-story height. He explained the parking concerns, stating the site was originally approved as one SCP in 1997 and since then, the site has been parceled and sold into multiple HOAs. There were concerns as to how much parking was actually allocated to the Craft Star internal units, and Bozzuto condominiums around the perimeter, and residual street parking. He stated that Rodgers and Associates have reviewed and studied parking uses and calculated that the parking would work for all.
Commissioner Bauer questioned the elevations and entryways of the condominiums.
Mayor Katz and Council Members expressed concern with the design and density of the area, stating the original intent of the development was to buffer the commercial from the residential area. Many felt the use was leaning more towards commercial use and expressed concern with traffic and parking.
Commissioner Levy questioned the occupancy requirements for the commercial and residential condominiums.
Mr. Covell stated you will probably see a higher percentage of owners living in the condominium and owning the space below. He stated this would be at the option of the purchaser not a requirement.
Speakers from the public:
- Rick Marvin, 223 Little Quarry Road, expressed support with the development, but had concerns with the parking and the impact on the residential areas.
- Jane Ho, 129 Chevy Chase Street, stated opposition to the larger multi-purpose dwelling units. She stated concerns with traffic patterns in the area.
Mayor Katz announced a tentative work session will be scheduled to address the concerns of the development.
There were no other speakers at this hearing.
Motion was made by Commissioner Bauer, seconded by Commissioner Keller, that the Planning Commission record on SDP-00-005 open indefinitely.
Motion was made by Council Member Somerset, seconded by Council Member Davis, that the City Council hold the record on the above public hearing open indefinitely.
2. An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11 of the City Code, Entitled "Fire Safety" so as to Renumber Section 11-8 Entitled "Severability" to be Section 11-9 and Further to Enact New Section 11-8, Entitled "Smoke Detectors" to Require the Installation of Smoke Detectors in Residential Dwellings and Requirements Applicable Thereto
Fire Marshal Humberson stated the ordinance was introduced on February 5, 2001, Mayor and City Council meeting and advertised in the Gaithersburg Gazette on February 8 and 14, 2001. He reviewed the two key components to the ordinance: 1) would require residents to have smoke detectors on each floor and bedroom. 2) The existing hard-wired smoke detectors be replaced with devices that have battery back up. He stated the current law requires new dwellings to have smoke detectors in each bedroom, but existing structures are only required to have a smoke detector on each floor. He stated most smoke detectors would not work in a power outage.
Marraffa questioned the existing homes that are already pre-wired and whether they would be required to install battery back up detectors in all bedrooms.
Speakers from the public:
- Daniel Juster, 9500 Watkins Mill Road, thanked the City Council for the opportunity to speak on this issue. He stated approximately 2 ½ years ago, his son died in a fire at a sleepover in Saybrooke one evening during an electrical storm and power outages that occurred throughout the City. He stated it would be meaningful if the loss of his son could lead to saving other lives. He stated most of the residents in his community thought they already had battery back up, but turns out they didn't.
- Rick Marvin, 223 Little Quarry Road, stated batteries tend to be removed and questioned whether a reset mechanism can be install without having the detector dismantled.
Council Member Marraffa stated he has installed in his kitchen a smoke detector that can be temporary turned off by pushing a button without disabling the unit. He expressed support for reset buttons for all smoke detectors.
- Stewart Andrew Sutton, representing the families of Samuel Juster and Stephon Collins, Jr. who died in a tragic June 14, 1998 house fire in the City. He asked the City Council to require homes with AC power smoke detectors be upgrade to dual-power smoke detectors.
- Larry Seeger, 1015 Bayridge Terrace, had concerns with require detectors in each bedroom for small dwellings.
Fire Marshall Humberson stated carbon monoxide levels could build to a fatal level before the smoke detector in one room detects smoke in another room.
There were no other speakers at this hearing.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Alster, that the City Council record be closed.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Davis, that an ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 11 OF THE CITY CODE, ENTITLED "FIRE SAFETY" SO AS TO RENUMBER SECTION 11-8 ENTITLED "SEVERABILITY" TO BE SECTION 11-9 AND FURTHER TO ENACT NEW SECTION 11-8, ENTITLED "SMOKE DETECTORS" TO REQUIRE THE INSTALLATION OF SMOKE DETECTORS IN RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS AND REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE THERETO (Ordinance No. O-3-01) be adopted.
Mayor Katz suggested the City put information on the City's Cable Channel and Communiqué to answer replacement and purchase questions. All Council Members concurred that they are more interested in educating people about the need for battery backups for hardwired systems and the need for detectors in every bedroom.
RECESSED THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
AT 8:50 P.M. FOR A HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
MEETING AND RECONVENED AT 9:30 P.M.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
1. Resolution of the Mayor and City Council Authorizing the City Manager to Enter Into a Contract for Construction of a Restroom/Storage Building Addition at Morris Park ($157,029)
Motion was made by Council Member Somerset, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A RESTROOM/STORAGE BUILDING ADDITION AT MORRIS PARK (Resolution No. R-15-01) be approved.
2. Adoption of the Environmental Standards Regulations for the City of Gaithersburg
FROM THE ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER, CITY ATTORNEY AND OTHER STAFF
Assistant City Manager Felton
Stated a letter was received regarding the Maryland Exchange Company asking the Mayor and City Council to reconsider the decision of Text Amendment - T-333, which required existing pawn shops to cease operating by September 1, 2001.
All Council Members concurred that the decision should stay as is.
Announced a sign tour is scheduled for Thursday, February 22, 2001, any citizen interested should contact Assistant City Manager Felton. The City Council asked that the work session discussion topic for February 26, 2001 be incorporated with another discussion topic for another date.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:55 p.m.