17 October 2006 | Approved: 21 November 2006
HPC members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Mimi Styles, Ed Mrozka and David Neumann. David Stopak attended as liaison for the Town Council. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.
The agenda proposed by Bob Booher was approved by the members after changes were made. David Neumann agreed to take minutes for the meeting. Minutes of the regular meetings of September 19, 2006 were approved, subject to changes.
We discussed a building permit application to build a porch onto the residence at 116 Ridge Road. The application had been submitted by William and Diane Garoini, owners. The material was submitted by the architect under contract: Ralph Hurst. As the HPC did not get the material in time, i.e. within the 30 days of its receipt by the PC, the HPC members waived writing a review.
1. House Histories.
At present a data base is displayed on the Town Web site showing the histories of a large number of the buildings within the Town. This database was put together by Clare Kelly several years ago for her own research and donated to the Town in 2004. Over the last year the HPC members have discussed ideas about how additional data including old as well as possibly new photographs could be added to this section of the Town website while preserving the integrity of Clare Kelly’s work.
A conversation with the Town Web Master, Bill Saar, is clearly needed. David Stopak suggested that we do it a bit like Wikpedia. It was proposed that we ask for Bill Saar’s ideas. It was suggested that we continue to show Clare Kelly’s information and organization, but that new information would be provided by links embedded in the current display. It was suggested that we make sure that the links to Clare’s data and to new data clearly attribute the author of each piece of information – old or new. David Neumann said he would email Kathy Evans and Bill Saar and solicit their assistance.
2. Town Archive.
Clare Kelly donated the paper files that she collected for her research on the histories of the houses in the Town of Washington Grove. This donation was received by Bob Booher at his home. He has transferred the material to two plastic file boxes. Bob explained the contents of the boxes and he said he would bring them to the meeting on Nov. 21. At that time the boxes will be transferred to the Town archivist. It is hoped that she will keep the material together as the Clare Kelly Collection.
3. HPC By-Laws and Rules of Procedure.
As a new version of the draft By-Laws and Rules of Procedure were not ready, this was postponed. David Neumann apologized for the long delay in getting the new draft ready.
4. Council Report
Councilman David Stopak presented various items from the last Town Council meeting that were relevant to the HPC. The main point was the discussion of changes to Art. XII. Subdivision Regulations and Art. VII – Zoning Ordinance. As he had done at previous meetings, he explained the new proposed Cluster Zoning. In the present draft, the rules for accepting or rejecting a proposed Cluster Zone were not stated, thus the PC would be able to easily reject an application for a Cluster Zone. The HPC members agreed that they would like to suggest some positive reasons to grant C-Z. David Stopak also presented new information on the status of the Ridge Road Field.
5. The Intercounty Connector- ICC
Bob Booher explained that in early September he wrote to Ms. Carol Legard of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. In his letter he explained that the Town had finally been, after repeated requests, included as consulting party in the 106 process for the ICC project. As we were not included from the start, even though the Town is on the National Register for Historic Places, consideration was not given to the visual and sound impacts of the ICC on our Town. A copy of Bob Booher’s letter is attached. A determination of “no impact” has been made by the SHA and the FHA despite the fact that the Town has already been strongly affected by noise, etc. emanating from I370 and there is certainly going to be a further deleterious effect on the Town from the opening of the ICC and the ramp up in usage of I370.
The 106 process is required under Federal Law and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) should have met with the Town and helped mediate with federal officials regarding the adverse effect on the Town. The Federal agencies involved are required to complete the evaluation process which usually ends with a statement of understanding between the SHA, the FHA, and the State Historic Preservation officer. This did not happen as the MHT seems to have agreed that there will be no impact on the Town from the ICC.
Bob Booher will meet on Friday 10/20/06 with Federal and State officials to look at the physical layout of the field with respect to the ICC and I370.
6. Town Master Plan. The recommendations of the “Section 8 Subcommittee to the Town Master Plan” entitled “Section 8. Economic Growth and Resource Protection” were presented to the HPC by Bob Booher. Bob handed out a copy of the initial, to which more is to be added, draft of the Subcommittee and referred the members to the new Web pages set up by Charlie Challstrom for the Master Plan review. The URL for the site (as of Dec 2) http://www.washingtongrovemd.org/official/pdraft_mp.shtml
7. Other Business
a) Members discussed the problem of tracking the building permit applications. David Neumann suggested that maybe some changes to the routing sheet would help. He said he would look at the routing sheet to see if he could suggest some changes.
b) David Neumann suggested that structures that are now too close to the property line should not be allowed to increase the degree of non-compliance above or in a horizontal direction. He suggested that it might help if the maximum height of such structures close to property boundaries be limited either to no change or else to something more reasonable. At present the vertical maximum at the property edge is the same as at the set back line for a non-complying structure. He suggested that either the non-complying section should not be permitted to be increased in height or that the height be limited by a line starting at 4 feet at the property line to the maximum for the zone at the set back limit. Bob Booher said that one would have to know in detail the effect of such a new rule on all non-complying structures. He also said that he thought that the rule should be less severe when the non-compliance is at a property line that abuts on open space or a right-of-way than when it abuts on space between houses.
c) The question was discussed as to how the Board of Zoning Appeals could have greater flexibility to make exceptions or waivers. One way would be to permit the community nearby to participate more and enable them to say what they think about the effect of rulings by the BZA. It was agreed that the PC could enable a forum between neighbors by encouraging them to come to PC meetings. Neighbors need to be invited and given notice of building permit applications. “Neighbors” would have to be defined somewhat arbitrarily depending on the location of the project. Members of the HPC resolved to send a copy of the HPC reviews of applications to the “neighbors” of projects that they review.
d) We resolved to ask the PC to put something in their procedures to require an applicant to attest that he has given his neighbors an opportunity to see his/her plans.
Chris sent an article in from the Wall Street Journal “Invasion of the Roof Snatchers”
Bob Booher reported that he had attended the Traditional Building Conference. He talked about two presentations he had heard on conservation zones in Rockville. He explained the efforts groups have made to define the character of neighborhoods. The keynote address involved the question of how to determine whether additions to a building are “compatible.” Bob mentioned the concept of “Fresh,” i.e., foot print, roof lines, envelope (exterior shape), skin (exterior materials), holes (windows). Thus, these aspects of construction are a short list of what needs to be considered to assess compatibility. The next meeting will be on November 21, 2006 at 7:30 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 p.m.