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20 December 2016 | Approved: 17 January 2017

Members Present: Bob Booher, Gail Littlefield, David Stopak and Mimi Styles, along with Georgette Cole, Town Council Liaison, and Cynthia Werts. Bud O’Connor, Town resident, was also present. The meeting was called to order at 7:35 pm.

Approval of Agenda:

The agenda was reviewed and approved with one additional item added for discussion.

Adoption of Minutes:

The draft minutes from the meeting of November 15, 2016, were reviewed with no changes. Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to approve the minutes, as written. The motion carried unanimously.

Review Session:

The Commission spoke with Taunton Paine (son of George Paine and current property owner) via a conference call regarding the deterioration of #15 The Circle. He has been consulting with a real estate agent and contractor on ideas to get the home up to a “level of standard” to enable it to be put on the market in Spring of 2017. Due to extensive damage that has occurred over the past 10-15 years, he is contemplating demolition of the side addition that was added sometime in the 70-80’s. The addition was poorly joined to the original part of the house causing severe water damage throughout the years. The foundation will remain in place with the possibility of building a deck and installing french doors for access to the outside. In addition, the pipes recently froze causing considerable damage to the kitchen, which now needs to be renovated. The HPC suggested that Taunton provide additional data (pictures, drawings, etc.) of the proposed construction so the Commission can prepare an early review. Demolition and building permits will be required, and, Gail advised Taunton of the tax credits available through the Maryland Historical Trust. Should he be interested in pursuing this avenue, more information can be obtained from their website.

Old Business:

Bud O’Connor was present to express some displeasure with Exhibit C of the Easement Agreement for 409 Fifth Avenue. The Town Council approved the Easement Resolution on November 14, 2016, and Mayor McCathran sent the final documents to the Town attorney, as well as to Bud & Carolyn O’Connor and their attorney, for review. The O’Connor’s are very uncomfortable with the language that exists in Exhibit C (description of the historic integrity features). They feel that there is too much description and language that doesn’t belong in the document.

The HPC assured Bud that the existing document was created as a benefit to the owners of the property. Bud agreed to come to the next HPC meeting, bringing a copy of the final Easement Agreement, in order to discuss his specific objections with the language in the description.

Archives – Monthly Report:

The Commission reviewed an update received from Pat Patula on the progress of archival work for October through December 16, 2016:

  • Records Management Plan: A resubmission of the plan was mailed to the State Archives on November 14th. Most of the changes made to the plan were text adjustments, with supplementary pages added for the Camp Meeting Era records.
  • New Book Donation: A copy of Clare Lise Kelly’s recent book, Modern Montgomery, has been donated to the Town’s library by Bob Booher.
  • HPC Design Guidelines: To assist the Commission in their research, Pat has assembled several samples of design guidelines originally gathered by the Preservation Study Group, including some additional examples from the Cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville, into one binder. The binder will be presented to the Commission at their December meeting for review.
  • HPC Reference Library: For easier access, the binders which contain HPC minutes and reviews are now located on the shelves in the Council chambers. A new binder has also been set up for Permanent Easement documents that are under way. In addition, a copy of “The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings” will be handed out to Commission members to insert in Section 7 of their HPC binders.

The Commission also discussed forming a sub-committee to do an in-depth review of other design guidelines. Mimi volunteered to work on the committee and Wendy and Pat will be asked to participate, as well. Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to have funds put aside to pay Pat for her time. The motion carried unanimously.

In addition, Bob handed out copies of preservation rules for Martha’s Vineyard and Boulder for Commission members to review.

Vacant Properties:

David reported that the group was on hiatus, however, they will continue with their work next year. To date, there are three contributing structures that are vacant: 408 4th Avenue, 402 5th Avenue, and 120 Chestnut Avenue.

Bulletin Material:

Pat and Wendy are continuing to work on projects for upcoming Town bulletins.

TC Meeting Report:

Georgette gave a brief report on issues addressed at the Town Council meeting in December. The only subject relevant to the HPC was the discussion of the TC/PC/HPC joint meeting. Mayor McCathran will notify all Commission members (via email) that the meeting has been scheduled for Monday, January 30th, at 7:30pm in McCathran Hall.

PC Meeting Report:

Wendy submitted a written report for the HPC to review. The building permit for 201 Brown Street (fence) was denied – a boundary survey will need to be provided by the owner before the Commission can proceed with this application. Also, a public hearing will be held on December 17th to determine if a variance should be granted to allow a 6-foot privacy fence at 112 Chestnut Avenue. The building permit was denied by the PC for reasons cited in Article VII of the Town Ordinances. A Request For Variance has been submitted to the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Board may grant the variance if all required conditions are met.

There was some discussion regarding the HPC continuing with preparing documentation on the historic integrity features description for the remaining property easements. The HPC would like to understand the O’Connor’s issues with the current language in the easement documentation for 409 5th Avenue before pursuing this task.

With no further business to discuss, Dave made a motion, seconded by Gail, to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 pm.

Minutes prepared and submitted by:
Cynthia Werts

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