|Mayor and Council Meeting, 3/15/2004||
A meeting of the Mayor and City Council was called to order at 7:30 p.m., Mayor Katz presiding. Council Members present: Alster, Edens, Marraffa, Schlichting and Somerset. Staff present: City Manager Humpton, Assistant City Managers Felton and Tomasello, Director of Public Works and Engineering Arnoult, Planning and Code Administration Acting Director Ossont, Parks, Recreation and Culture Director McGleish, Police Sergeant Scarff, Senior Plans Examiner Lee, Long Range Planning Director Depoe, Permit Analyst Kitzmiller, Youth Services Director Smith, Recreation Program Supervisor Paig, Fleet Coordinator Vogel, Project Manager Kappas, City Attorney Borten and Administrative Assistant Stokes.
I. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Principal Thelma Smith, Gaithersburg Middle School.
The invocation was delivered by the Reverend Lou Piel, Grace United Methodist Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion was made by Council Member Alster, seconded by Council Member Somerset, that the minutes of a Mayor and Council meeting held February 17, 2004, be approved with amendment.
Vote: 4-0-1 (Abstained: Edens)
IV. CONSENT ITEMS
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 TO PURCHASE THREE (3) 2004 FORD CROWN VICTORIA POLICE VEHICLES (Resolution No. R-20-04) be approved.
Resolution Confirming Appointments and Reappointments made by the Mayor
This resolution confirmed the following: Community Advisory Board, Christine Bechtel (reappointment), 47 Leaning Oak Street, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, two-year term; Cultural Arts Advisory Committee, Michael Griffin Kane (appointment), 120 Hutton Street, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, two-year term; Education Committee, Tina Winters (reappointment), 955 Clopper Road, # A-4, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879, two-year term, and the Policy Chief's Advisory Council, Carlos Solis (appointment), 426 East Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877, two-year term.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that a RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL CONFIRMING APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR TO THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD, CULTURAL ARTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE, EDUCATION COMMITTEE, AND POLICE CHIEF'S ADVISORY COUNCIL (Resolution No. R-21-04) be approved.
VII. PUBLIC APPEARANCES
VIII. FROM THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL/ANNOUNCEMENTS
Council Member Marraffa
- Stated the National League of Cities held a meeting in D.C. He added that the Community and Economic Development Committee lobbied Capital Hill this year and Senator Sarbanes expressed his support for the Capital City Transitway light rail. Other areas discussed were affordable housing and block grant funds. He announced that the City will host the committee on May 15 and 16, 2004, to work on lobbying Capital Hill on transportation and housing issues.
- Reported a great time was had at the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Council Member Somerset
- Referred to the recent conviction under the new animal cruelty act. Stated she had accompanied the City's Animal Control Officers to Annapolis to testify in favor of legislation increasing the penalty for animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony.
- She echoed Council Member Marraffa on a great time at the Parade.
Council Member Alster
- Encouraged citizens to view the "12 Angry Men" performance at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn.
- Reported he, Mayor Katz, several Council Members and Rockville's City Council met with Derick Berlage and Park and Planning to discuss their plans for the Shady Grove Sector. He stated that many ideas were presented with an emphasis on smart growth, but that it is a plan in the early stages.
- He also echoed a great time at the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
- Requested the following motion:
- Motion was made by Council Member Schlichting, seconded by Council Member Marraffa, that the City Council conduct an executive session on March 15, 2004, to discuss a property acquisition matter.
- Announced the Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission will conduct a joint work session on March 22, 2004, to receive an update on the draft sign ordinance.
- Read the following statement:
"I would like to take a moment and thank the many people who took the time to call me or visit with me to talk about our last meeting. I received calls from some people who do not have Cable television to find out what had taken place, but most who called either had watched our proceedings on television or in person and called because of what had happened. By far the most calls were generated by what one person deemed their concern about "bullying". They said that they wanted me to know that we should not be bullied by other officials, and they wanted me to know that we should not be bullied by anyone else as well. I assured them all that we will not be intimidated by anyone. We looked at a difficult issue, considered the facts, and came to a conclusion based on the facts. Obviously it was not a unanimous decision, but that in itself is a reflection on what our community felt, some with one opinion some with another. We demonstrated that every person is entitled to their opinion and every person should be given an opportunity to express it. I know there are some people who only wanted their views heard. That we should disregard what everyone else says because it does not agree with their views. We cannot and should not ever do that, and we did not do it this time as well. We listened to the facts and not the emotion. Those of us involved in the decision did not allow this issue to be personal, even when some would hope we would. We dealt with the reality. We remembered this involved a serious legislative concern, one that affects people's lives and livelihoods. The City of Gaithersburg gave the topic of smoking in eating and drinking establishments in our city something in my opinion that no other jurisdiction in Montgomery County did. We gave it a fair and impartial hearing. And in fact, we gave it more then one. I did receive a phone call from a concerned friend who thought that in my explaining that I would have vetoed Ordinance III, that it could have been perceived as a negative reflection on the City Council. I thanked my friend that called, and said that I had not thought of that in those terms. I want to be very clear. My statement about the possibility of a veto was not about the Council, but about what I considered to be the potential for adopting poor legislation for our City. It was unprecedented on my part, but I felt that this was an unprecedented concern. I mentioned then that I have never vetoed an ordinance, and that I have said many times that I hoped I never would. And I am very pleased that I still have not. Last meeting was a difficult one for us. We disagreed on a very important topic. But rather then show a split between the Mayor and Council, it illustrates our strengths. It proves that even when we disagree, we do it with civility. Even though this was a difficult disagreement for many, we did it in an agreeable way. I am proud of our City Council. Not only because we got through last week, but because that topic is now behind us and we will show what few other jurisdictions can show, that we only disagree on the topics and that it does not carry over to any other topic. I want to publicly thank all involved. I know that all are not pleased, but I thank them for helping us reach our decision. And I thank the City Council for all that they do not just on this issue but for the many issues they deal with and I thank them for the way that they do it. And I sincerely hope other governments could and would do the same. Thank you."
IX. PUBLIC HEARING
An Ordinance to Repeal and Reenact With Amendments Chapter 17AA, Entitled "Property Maintenance" and Adopt by Reference With Certain Modifications the International Property Maintenance Code/2003
Acting Director for the Planning and Code Administration Ossont stated the 2003 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code is developed to provide an up-to-date property maintenance code for the maintenance of existing properties. The City is currently using the 2000 edition. He stated that adopting the new property maintenance code will recodify the existing code; however, staff has reviewed the Code and developed amendments to meet specific needs for the City. Significant changes include: an ordinance requiring businesses to retrieve shopping carts from public rights of way and other areas where carts may pose a hazard to pedestrian or vehicular traffic; and an amended "Swimming Pool" maintenance ordinance to include hot tubs and spas. He stated the public hearing was advertised on March 5, 2004, with no public comment received. He added staff recommended the City Council hold their record open for 25 days with final action anticipated on April. 19, 2004.
Speaker from the audience were:
Robert Skelton, 329 West Deer Park, expressed concern with overcrowding under the current tax laws and square footage allowed per townhouse/condos. He asked for the language to be amended. Mayor Katz suggested that staff meet with Mr. Skelton and give the City Council an update at a later date.
There were no other speakers at the hearing.
Motion was made by Council Member Somerset, seconded by Council Member Alster, that the City Council record on the above, be held open for twenty-five (25) days.
X. ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
This resolution awarded a grant to the Greens of Warther Condominium Association and the Shady Grove Village III Homeowners Association for landscaping improvements, in the amount of Two Thousand Six Hundred Fifteen Dollars ($4,388); said funds to be expended from the Capital Improvements Budget.
Motion was made by Council Member Alster, seconded by, Council Member Somerset, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL AWARDING MATCHING GRANTS TO THE GREENS OF WARTHER CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION AND THE SHADY GROVE VILLAGE III HOMEOWNERS (Resolution No. R- 22-04) be approved.
XI. POLICY DISCUSSIONS
MP-2-03: Special Conditions Associated with Map Designations and Special Study Areas of the Master Plan Amendment MP-1-03: 2003 Land Use Plan, an Element of the City's Master Plan
Long Range Planning Director Depoe stated the above is a policy discussion and resolution for the special conditions associated with map designations and special study areas of the Master Plan Amendment MP-2-03, 2003 Land Use Plan. The Mayor and City Council and Planning Commission held a joint public hearing on February 17, 2004. He added that a letter was received by the City since the public hearing and is not exhibit 17. He stated that there were two other letters submitted by BP Realty Investment on February 17, 2004, which was provided to the Mayor and City Council as part of their outside correspondence on March 11, 2004, referring to the February 17 letter. He stated that the letters will be added to the Index of Memorandum. The Planning Commission record closed as of March 3, 2004, and at their March 4, 2004 meeting, they forwarded a recommendation of approval to the Mayor and City Council. The Mayor and City Council record closed on March 15, 2004. He stated that per the discussion from the public hearing and the Planning Commission recommendation of approval, staff drafted a resolution adopting the proposed Master Plan Amendment MP-2-03.
Motion was made by Council Member Edens, seconded by, Council Member Somerset, that a RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL ADOPTING MP-2-03: SPECIAL CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH MAP DESIGNATIONS AND SPECIAL STUDY AREAS OF THE MASTER PLAN AMENDMENT MP-1-03 (Resolution No. R- 23-04) be approved.
XII. FROM THE ASSISTANT CITY MANAGERS, CITY ATTORNEY AND OTHER STAFF
Assistant City Manager Tomasello
Referred to the March 1, 2004 public hearing to solicit proposals for the expenditure of FY'05 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) public service funds. He stated that at the conclusion of the hearing the City Council voted to hold their record open for ten (10) days with policy discussion anticipated for the March 15, 2004 meeting. He added that the City, as a new entitlement grantee for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) funds, the City is now required to amend its five-year Consolidated Plan and submit an annual Action Plan that includes activities under both the CDBG and HOPWA programs. Grants Coordinator Kauffmann has sent a letter requesting a 90-day extension for such submittal, giving staff time to make those amendments. Staff suggested the City Council reopen their record for an additional 30 days to allow staff to review new and revised public service applications, with policy discussion anticipated at the April 19, 2004 meeting. Council Member Alster asked staff to notify the public of the extension to submit applications.
Motion was made by Council Member Schlichting, seconded by, Council Member Marraffa, that the City Council reopen their CDBG hearing record.
City Attorney Borten
Updated the Mayor and City Council on the lack of construction activity at 122 Midtown Road House. Stated that she and Greg Ossont went before Judge Vaughey in the District Court to obtain assistance. Staff will continue to work on this matter.
There being no further business to come before this session of the City Council, the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:25 p.m.