1 February 2012 | Approved: 7 March 2012
Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Samantha Beres, Brenda Gumula, Peter Nagrod and Steve Werts. Also in attendance were Mayor Georgette Cole, HPC Chair Bob Booher, HPC Member David Stopak, TC member Audrey Maskery, residents Mike Schank, Jim Snyder and Liz Robertson. Ms. Erin Girard (Linowes & Blocker attorney) and Mr. Stacy Hornstein (developer) came to participate in the Towne Crest redevelopment discussion. Joe Clark arrived after the approval of the minutes.
Approval of Agenda
Brenda Gumula moved to approve the agenda. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
Approval of the Minutes
Peter Nagrod moved to approve the minutes from January. Samantha Beres seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
Mike Schank (302 Ridge Road) came to get clarification about a letter written by Chairman Challstrom in reference to his permit to relocate a shed. Mike expressed his displeasure with the letter and stated that he did not understand why the Planning Commission had the right to do anything concerning his shed. Charlie briefly explained the goals of the Planning Commission and stated that the letter was an attempt to stay on top of and monitor this action citing equal treatment and follow-up as his main concerns. He went on to say that compliance is what the Commission was looking for. There was a lengthy discussion about temporary use permits (2 were issued), fines, municipal infractions, history, process, current difficulties in moving the shed, setbacks, the unique nature of this property in terms of the front yard, legal addresses, removing trees, maintenance on the gravel road to the East of the property, and the construction of a garage. The Commission agreed that the front of this property should be the yard facing the paved Ridge Road. Mike will come back with an updated drawing and do another permit application showing the placement of the shed in a location where it will be compliant with Town Ordinances. This location is close to its current placement.
Building Permit Applications
- 127 Maple Ave – Brenda Gumula reported that the application is complete, Notice To Neighbors signs are posted, all survey markers are visible and corner flags are in place.
Peter Nagrod moved, Samantha Beres seconded that the building permit application for the fence relocation be approved. Approved: 6-0.
- 201 Maple Road – Charlie Challstrom gave a brief history of the existing carport stating that it appears to be a non-compliant structure because it was built in the front yard (Maple Road) of the property. Town Ordinances state that a structure found to be non-compliant may not be altered to increase the non-compliance. Jim Snyder reported that a conversation with former owner Jeannie Myers revealed that the current placement of the carport was a compromise. There was a discussion about the 25 foot strip of Town owned land that runs the length of Maple Road beginning at the forested area North of the property known as 104 Maple Rd. Bob Booher suggested that using Cherry Ave. for the property address would be historically correct. However, Mr. Snyder has recently place a shed on the Cherry Ave. side of his property and that would have to be moved. There was additional discussion about Cherry vs. Maple addresses after which it was decided that Mr. Snyder had the following three (3) options;
- Change the address to Cherry Ave. and move the shed.
- Modify the current application to change the location of the garage and attach it to the house.
- Keep it the same because of the previous approval and historic precedent, the PC would deny this and Mr. Snyder could take it before the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The Clerk will officially log this in and let the application go through the process.
Deer Park Bridge
Charlie Challstrom reported that there was no new information about this. The fine tuning of the Town’s position continues and will be brought to a Special Town Meeting in the near future.
Driveway Permits Update
This item was tabled.
Block Survey Plats Approval Status
Charlie Challstrom reported that with the help of Pat Patula, our new Town Archivist, he expects to move forward the recordation process with Montgomery County during the coming year. It was noted that these plats should be put on the Town website.
Towne Crest Redevelopment
Charlie Challstrom gave a review of the situation. He distributed three (3) documents (labeled A, B, C);
- Evaluation of Towne Crest Apartments Redevelopment Proposal (dated Feb. 2, 2012).
- Letter and Resolution from 1983.
- Excerpts from Montgomery County Code Chapter 59
A discussion ensued which included; the proposed PD-60 density (60 units per acre), Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan (Airport Study Area), current zoning of the property (R-30 & RT-12.5), West Woods compatibility and consulting the Town attorney. It was stated that the proposed zoning for the redevelopment project at the Shady Grove Metro is 34 units per acre. This 45 acre area is slated to be a transit oriented, mixed use development of 1,521 units. That is far more urban than the Towne Crest property. There was a brief discussion about the greater good and benefits, if any, of the proposed zoning change. It was also stated that the Town was not against something new on this property but that the proposed zoning change would be harmful to the Town and the surrounding areas. The discussion focused mainly on the change of zoning. The incompatibility details and other specifics will be discussed later.
Brenda Gumula moved to approve and put forth to the Town Council a document known as “Evaluation of Towne Crest Apartments Redevelopment Proposal by the Washington Grove Planning Commission (Feb. 1, 2012)” along with a process timeline for their consideration. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 6-0
Report from the Town Council
Joe Clark reported that the Town Council discussed the use of Woodward Park again. He made note of the changes. He also stated that unless someone volunteers to be the Woodward Park coordinator there would be no permits issued for large organized soccer games. So far, the feedback indicates that the Town would like Woodward Park to go back to being a community park and not a regional soccer field. There was a brief discussion about enforcement issues. Steve Werts suggested that the Town contact the local police to inform them of our efforts to curtail large games and ask for help with enforcement.
- Brenda Gumula asked Charlie if he could use help with specific areas in the Towne Crest redevelopment proposal. The entire document is a hard read and perhaps it would be easier to digest in sections. Charlie asked for help with the traffic study.
- Joe Clark volunteered to call the Saybrooke community and the City of Gaithersburg to get their thoughts on the proposed rezoning and redevelopment project.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.