7 December 1999
Jim Leng called the meeting to order at 7:50 p.m. Commissioners Vicki Andrews, Irene Carrato, Bob Evans, John McClelland and Allen Winter were present. Also present were Bob Ellis (property development-former WSSC); Harry Stone of Bell, Rehder & Rose (commercial corner-Atlantis Company); resident Jim Fletcher, Michael Voigt (Washington Grove Hills resident) and Marty Berman (representing Shirley Ricketts and Charlie Harrison RE: the Cator property. Ed Roberts is unable to take minutes due to serious health concerns.
Minutes from the July meeting were approved; one addition made to the first half of the October minutes.
Guest Bob Ellis made a presentation of three front elevations of two house plans with detached rear garage. House plans are about 26,000 – 28,000 square feet plus basement. Also, the total property square footage is larger than thought – greater than 40,000 square feet – so 15% of the property is required for public land forest conservation. He showed drawings of the property with the forest conservation easement on the back lot line in a strip varying from 25 to 53 feet wide, changing from lot to lot in a zigzag pattern (copy requested from Mr. Ellis for record). This land totals 11,788.96 square feet and is referred to as Parcel A. There will be future discussion as to what plantings to make. Exact location of main sewer lines could affect selection. Additional discussion of the development included builder option of second floor over detached garages. This is not possible (violates code) but if the garage could move closer to house (not flush with front) and be attached, then option of second story over garage is feasible. Due to costs associated with the detached garage, longer driveway and “gingerbread”, cost estimates are revised up to a range of $300,000 to $310,000. This estimate will be an additional $6,000 higher if additional models are provided. Vicki Andrews expressed disappointment at the lack of unique models. Mr. Ellis proposed to bring an additional plan in the future so three homes facing west will be different; he intends the end house (facing NNE) to be a “mirror” plan. Additionally, concerns were expressed about the zigzag nature of the forest conservation plan making maintenance as public land harder both physically |and mentally.
The Commission considered the impact of this development plan on Washington Grove Hills, as per annexation and subsequent potential for zoning changes from RR-3 to RR-1. Discussion included Ridge Road traffic load and possible opening at other end; potential development density; forest conservation easements; Casey property development. The zoning change on the WSSC property was allowed primarily because it did not double density; due to lot specifics, it resulted in a total increase of one house. A change in zoning for Washington Grove Hill from RR-3 to RR-1 could add approximately 45 houses, creating serious problems for Ridge Road handling capacity and access. Additionally, the Commission considered the possibility of ordinance to require a 15% conservation set-aside regardless of lot size. Jim Leng moved that “the Commission recommend to the Council that the WSSC property zoning be changed to RR-1, to include four elevations on five parcels and the 15% green space in back”, John McClelland seconded. The motion was passed with five votes supporting and one abstention. Guest Marty Berman, representing Shirley Ricketts and Charlie Harrison of the Cator property, suggested the annexation and subsequent development of that property as senior citizen cluster housing. Mr. Berman stated the Cator house is below code and of no historical value, so plans would be to tear it down. Mr. Berman wanted reaction from the Commission about a proposal to build 14-18 units of about 900 square feet (depending if duplex or single). These would all be single story, perhaps contiguous, but definitely minimal separation. It would be roughly like Leisure World. Currently the lot is zoned R-200; there would need to be a zoning change. The Commission expressed serious interest in annexation of the Cator property. It also expressed interest in trying to zone for retirement housing. This is compatible with the recommendations of Ann Briggs’ committee on annexations. Some issues that were raised: setbacks etc. for such development; the arrangement of open space; the management and maintenance of the structure exteriors and landscape – a home owners association would not be allowable by code. Mr. Berman expressed his thanks and intentions to continue work on this project.
John McClelland reported the issuance of a building permit for a fence for the McConnell property on Railroad Street. The family also wishes to change their address to Maple Avenue. Jim Leng moved to change the house address to Maple Avenue, an odd number less than 16; Vicki Andrews seconded. One opposed, all others in favor, the motion passed.
Al Winter requested comments on the letter submitted by Town lawyer Bill Roberts. This letter to Atlantis Corporation responds to their earlier letter to him requesting information on allowable uses of the property. All Commissioners agreed, the letter will go out (copy to be attached). Additionally, Al will draft language for specific text amendments in preparation for the February window for requests from Atlantis.
Guest Harry Stone read a letter from Bill Roberts to the Shepards about the moving of Prime Choice Caterers. John McClelland brought up the possibility of negotiating with Atlantis about the exterior facade if the catering business is allowed to stay via ordinance changes. The Commission was opposed to this idea. Vicki Andrews moved for adjournment at 10:25 p.m., John McClelland seconded; passed unanimously.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.