Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Governance / Minutes / 2023 / April


Date: April 18, 2023

Place: Village Hall, 5906 Connecticut Avenue

Time: 7:30 PM

Present: Greg Chernack, Maryann Luongo, Josh Galper, Ron Bolt, Jason Cokinos, and Ashley Kavanaugh as well as several Section 5 residents. Pat Xeller joined by phone.

Agenda Item: Greetings and Introductions

Chair Greg Chernack called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.

Agenda Item: Review and Approval of March Council Meeting Minutes

Chair Chernack moved that the minutes from the March meeting be approved; there was a second, and the motion passed.

Agenda Item: Residents Comments

A resident asked about the timing for repaving the roads that were excavated during the WSSC water main project. The Manager noted that the Section hopes to repave in July or August once they finish work on the adjacent Section streets.

Agenda Item: Discussion and Possible Adoption of Resolution to raise awareness regarding Antisemitism, as presented by the Town of Chevy Chase

In March, the Town of Chevy Chase drafted and approved a resolution to raise awareness regarding antisemitism in response to the rise in antisemitic activities in Montgomery County. The Town of Chevy Chase then asked Section 5 and the other surrounding Chevy Chase municipalities to also consider becoming a signatory. The Section 5 Council and residents discussed the Town’s resolution. The Council also noted the unfortunate and disturbing incidents in Section 5 this spring that involved the distribution of antisemitic flyers to many residents’ homes. The Council decided given the Section’s direct experience with antisemitism, they would join the Town in signing the resolution. Council Chair Chernack moved that Resolution No. 1-23-2 be approved; there was a second, and the resolution passed by unanimous vote.

Agenda Item: Discussion and Possible Introduction of Ordinance No. 4-23-1 regarding the purchase of property

The Section’s municipal attorney, Ron Bolt, led much of this discussion. For some time, the Section 5 Council has been interested in the possibility of acquiring land in the Section that could be used for a park or green space for residents. While the Council has been interested in purchasing property, it has proved difficult to find an appropriate parcel, at an acceptable price, that remains available given the often-fast-moving real estate market. To this end, the Section was recently made aware of a piece of property listed for sale at the foot of the cul de sac on Windsor Place. The property is almost a half-acre of undeveloped land. The property is currently under contract. The contract has many contingencies including feasibility studies due to a small creek that runs across it.

Given the contingency, the Council decided it was prudent to better understand Section 5’s charter requirements regarding purchasing property and engaged Mr. Bolt. He advised that the Council is authorized to purchase land, but State law requires an ordinance be passed to do so. Section 5’s charter requires a two-step procedure to enact an ordinance. The ordinance must be introduced at one meeting, and then voted on at another. The Council must also make reasonable efforts to provide written notice of the proposed ordinance and to hear the views of residents at a Council meeting. Given these requirements, the Council decided to introduce an ordinance regarding the purchase of property at the April meeting to allow for more flexibility should the property become available, and to allow the Council the ability to move in an expeditious manner given real estate demand should they determine that is necessary. Chair Chernack formally introduced Ordinance No. 4-23-1, a non-emergency ordinance to allow the Section 5 Council the authority to purchase the aforementioned property on Windsor Place. The ordinance could be voted on as early as the May meeting.

The Town Manager will continue to monitor the property’s status, in addition to finding out more information from Montgomery County Parks and Planning regarding the specific site location and usage restrictions. It is important to note that while the Council believes it was in the best interest to move forward with the ordinance introduction, this is just the first step in the process.

Agenda Item: Discussion and introduction of Ordinance 4-23-2, to adopt the budget for Fiscal Year 2024

Ron Bolt noted that the State of Maryland requires municipal budgets to be approved by ordinance. Accordingly, Chair Chernack formally introduced Ordinance No. 4-23-2, a non- emergency ordinance to allow the Section 5 Council to adopt the budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The Town Manager then presented a draft of the FY 2024 budget to the Council. After a detailed discussion of all the line items, income, and expenditures, the draft was approved with no changes. The draft and a copy of Ordinance 4-23-2 will be sent to residents for their review in advance of the Annual Meeting on May 9.

Agenda Item: Manager’s report

-The Manager said that we will have a voting election at this year’s annual meeting on Tuesday, May 9. Three of the five seats on the Council are up for election. The following eligible nominees have indicated their willingness to be candidates for election. Three will be elected.
Peter Bass – Williams Lane
Greg Chernack* – Thornapple Street
Sean Downey – Glendale Road
Jennifer Dyszkiewicz – Thornapple Place
Philip Giordano* – Underwood Street
Emily Strulson – Underwood Street
*Indicates incumbent
Since we have not had a contested election in some time, the Council sought guidance from Mr. Bolt regarding our charter and election best practices. He noted that our charter allows for election tellers to be selected by the Council. Josh Galper announced that the council members who are not up for election this year (Josh, Maryann Luongo, and Pat Xeller) have appointed three residents to serve as official election tellers. The 2023 Election Tellers are: Balinda Hinds (Thornapple Street), Kristina Lowell (Leland Court), and Brooke Thomas (Woodbine Street). These tellers will oversee all aspects of the election process including absentee voting. There was a formal vote by the Council to appoint these residents as election tellers. There were three votes in favor: with two councilmembers (both running for election) abstaining.

-The Council continued the discussion regarding a resident’s request to remove a Town tree (a tree located within the public right-of-way) on Underwood Street. The Manager said that Dr. Feather had visited the location again, along with the other locations of lace bark elm trees in the Section and had determined that for reasons not immediately clear (possibly poor drainage) the tree at 3703 Underwood is contributing to a significant build-up and maintenance issue in the right-of-way and surrounding yard. By contrast, the other lace bark elm trees in other locations do not present the same issues. The Council decided to take a final vote on whether to allow removal. Chair Chernack moved to allow this particular tree to be removed for the reasons stated above by Dr. Feather. A condition of removal being that a large canopy tree must be immediately planted in its place; there was a second, and the motion for allowing removal passed by a vote of 3 to 2.

-The Manager noted that Lindsey & Associates has sent us an audit engagement letter for the FY 2023 audit. There is a modest price increase from $9500 to $9975. The Council agreed to the increase and authorized the Manager to sign the letter.


Chair Chernack adjourned the meeting. The next meeting will be held May 9, 2023, at 7:30 PM at the Village Hall, 5906 Connecticut Avenue. The Village Hall has handicapped access. Everyone is welcome.