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30 April 2006 | Approved: 16 May 2006

MINUTES of the Special MEETING of the Commission

HPC members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Chris Kirtz, Mimi Styles, Ed Mroczka, and David Neumann. David Stopak attended as liaison for the Town Council. The meeting was held in the meeting area of McCathran Hall.

The agenda for this special meeting consisted of a two items
(a) to hear a report by Bob Booher on his meeting on April 25 with Joan Mahaffey and Ralph Hurst;
(b) to discuss ideas or recommendations to the Town Planning Commission (PC) for possible changes in the building permit review process that would encourage historic preservation when an applicant makes changes to his/her construction drawings. David Neumann took minutes for the meeting.

Report by Bob Booher

Bob Booher reported on his meeting with Joan Mahaffey (owner) and Ralph Hurst (architect) that took place in the evening on April 25. That meeting was to discuss a letter dated April 20 sent to the Town Planning Commission by the Bob Booher on behalf of the HPC members regarding the construction project at 102 Ridge Road.

The HPC had discussed with Joan Mahaffey at the review meeting in December and had written its review for the PC with the understanding that the main gable was to remain and be modified with dormers. All additions to the house were to remain below the original peak. The application and drawings were reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission at its meeting on Jan. 4, 2006.

Since there appeared to be a substantial difference between what we reviewed and what was under construction, the HPC felt that it should ask the PC to examine the matter and compare it to the required copy of the County approved drawings which were unavailable to the HPC at the time.

Bob Booher reported that he had explained to the owner and architect that the HPC was concerned about the differences. The HPC had not understood from the drawings that the central gable was to be demolished and replaced with a new gable approximately four feet taller than the original gable the HPC had assumed was to remain. Since there seemed to be a substantial difference, the HPC felt that it should ask the Planning Commission to examine the matter. In addition, the HPC had not found a copy of the County approved plans/drawings in the Town records.

Ralph Hurst gave Bob Booher a copy of an 8½ x 11" elevation of the building from the Cherry Avenue side of the house showing the existing, the planned, and the actual construction. Mr. Hurst explained that although the drawings were not clear, the intention shown in the submitted drawings was to build a new gable from the Ridge Road side to the Cherry Avenue side that was two feet higher than the existing gable. For various other reasons, including safety, the actual construction had to be an additional two feet taller still making the total 4ft taller than the HPC had understood.

The owner explained that she felt the manner of delivery of the copy of the letter to the PC was not professional. She was also critical of comments made at the HPC meeting in December.

Discussion by Members

David Neumann suggested that the issue was no longer a matter for the HPC as it had sent its comments on to the Planning Commission. Chris Kirtz suggested that comments on the Washington Grove ListServ had given people the impression that the HPC was in some way intruding into the executive powers of the Town officials. He felt that the HPC should explain the facts and its ideas on this matter on the ListServ. After discussion, it was agreed that this was not the correct forum for such a discussion, especially as many residents were not subscribers to the ListServ. It was decided to abandon plans for another special meeting on Thursday, May 4 to discuss residents’ ideas about the HPC.

The next regular meeting on May 16 would devote substantial time to those comments. A notice of that meeting will be posted on the door to the meeting room in McCathran Hall. The agenda will be emailed to subscribers to the Washington Grove Listserv and posted on the Town Web Site. It is hoped that some of the individuals who commented on the ListServ will attend.

Miscellany. The next regular monthly meeting will be on May 16, 2006 at 7:30 pm.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

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