17 May 2011 | Approved: 21 June 2011
Present Bob Booher, Chair, and members: Gail Littlefield, David Stopak, Mimi Styles, Margot Bohan, and Town Council Liaison, Joli McCathran. David Neumann, resident, attended and agreed to take minutes. The meeting began at 7:45 p.m.
Approval of Agenda and Adoption of Minutes
The proposed agenda was modified and then adopted unanimously. Bob Booher had done last month’s minutes, but their adoption was postponed until the next meeting on June 21. The approved minutes of the March 15 regular meeting will be filed in the Town office and submitted to Bill Saar to be added to the Town Web Site.
There were no projects to be reviewed.
Report by the Council Liaison
Joli McCathran, the Council Liaison to the HPC summarized recent activities of the Town Council relevant to the HPC. The new mayor, Georgette Cole has taken office. The anti-mansionization ordinance was passed by the Town Council.
New Commissioner appointed to the HPC
Ms. Gail Littlefield was welcomed as a new member of the Town of Washington Grove Historic Preservation Commission. She has an extensive and professional background in architectural and historic preservation.
Discussion on Anti-Mansionization Ordinance
Bob Booher reviewed the history or process by which the new anti-mansionization ordinance was passed. The accuracy of the enclosed areas on existing residences was discussed. The question was asked whether we could or should ask the State Assessment Office to check the houses in the Grove. Also the question was asked whether the formula in the ordinance will be updated in the future. David Stopak reminded members that the Planning Commission (PC) will check (via submitted plans) the existing enclosed area. He suggested that the database be updated as people renovate existing structures.
David Stopak asked whether the HPC could update the knowledge base of the Town re: size, style, etc., by working with interns or students. There was discussion on enlisting support for this from colleges or universities nearby.
Gail Littlefield suggested the HPC might want to consider extending the cutoff (used to determine if a building is a “contributing structure”), now 1937, to a more recent time. It might be possible to include an addendum to the list of houses in the nomination form. Bob Booher suggested more formal documentation of the fabric of the Town, i.e., the housing stock. Possibly that could be financed if the HPC applied for a grant.
The “Trigger” concept was discussed. Joli McCathran suggested that the Mayor will ask the PC to begin to consider further changes to the zoning ordinances. The PC had agreed that it would propose additional zoning ordinance changes once the new zoning ordinance was passed that limited enclosed space based on lot size. It was not clear if the HPC and the PC have the same goals in mind.
The Windows Workshop was a success with approximately 15 attendees. The instructor’s videos of similar workshops, available by web links, were discussed. Margot said that she would try to circulate some or all of her list of possible workshops. The Maryland Historic Trust tax credits were discussed and a workshop, talk, or seminar on that subject was proposed. Also the idea of “Small House” lecture or talk was mentioned. Gail Littlefield suggested inviting people from Gaithersburg Historic Preservation Commission and Montgomery Preservation to attend our talks or seminars. (Invitations to the window workshop had indeed been extended to the Gaithersburg and Rockville historic preservation groups. Montgomery Preservation will be included in future invitations.)
Margot Bohan and Mimi Styles will provide new material for the Bulletin.
Permit Review Procedure
Bob Booher explained that coordination with the Planning Commission is needed. He and David Stopak will attend the PC meetings on changes in the building permit application process. Again, the suggestion was made that the HPC does its review first and that review be included in the material provided to the PC by the applicant when he/she applies for a permit. That would encourage applicants to bring their plans to the HPC early even before investing in formal drawings. Margot Bohan showed her draft of an application form for review by the HPC.
David Neumann, acting archivist for the Town, reported on a meeting he had had with members of the Historic Preservation Committee of Garrett Park, MD. Garrett Park is interested in hiring an archivist and so the subcommittee has been visiting various archives in the municipalities in Montgomery County, e.g. Somerset, Washington Grove, etc. They are interested in using Past Perfect as a means of computerizing their files and storing their records in a manner similar to ours. The subcommittee is interested in working with the Town in writing a job description for an archivist. Some discussion ensued regarding the sharing of an archivist among a few of the small communities. David Neumann volunteered as archivist to follow up on a request for information made by Jane Wright on the history of the Camp Meeting Association.
Mimi Styles asked that David Neumann give the HPC a tour through the archives, and he agreed to do this in the near future.
Bob Booher explained that the CSX Corporation is waiting for a Memorandum of Understanding from the Town. The construction may take place in 2014. Gail Littlefield explained that there are some local experts who could be helpful in the 106 negotiations process. Under the Federal Hist. Preservation Act – Code 36CFR800 – The link to this is http://www.achp.gov/regs-rev04.pdf Gail Littlefield volunteered to make some enquiries.
Joli McCathran said that she would find out about the Hall easement and see if the Town has made a retroactive request to modify the surroundings of the Town Hall.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm. The next regular HPC meeting will be Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm in the McCathran Hall meeting room.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.