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21 February 2017 | Approved: 21 March 2017

Members Present: Bob Booher, Wendy Harris, Gail Littlefield, David Stopak and Mimi Styles, along with Georgette Cole, Town Council Liaison, and Cynthia Werts. Also in attendance were the following Town residents: Shelly Winkler, Bruce Rothrock, Peter Nagrod, Ann Briggs and Ed Mroczka. Town Archivist, Pat Patula, was also present.

Approval of Agenda:

The agenda was reviewed and approved, as amended.

Adoption of Minutes:

The draft minutes from the meeting of January 17, 2017, were reviewed with no changes. Mimi made a motion, seconded by David, to approve the minutes, as written. The motion carried unanimously.

Street Signs:

Gail prepared a draft report to discuss appropriate preservation guidelines for the Town’s existing street and pathway signs. The Commission agreed that the dark brown wooden signs, with white lettering, mounted on 4’x4’ posts that have been used in the past, as well as the present, are character-defining features of the Town’s historically significant rustic vernacular and natural landscape. It was agreed, however, that updating the Town’s street signage to meet state and county safety requirements need to be taken into consideration. The use of reflective lettering is one of the major issues. At the last Town Council meeting, the Mayor appointed a work group (Margot Bohan, Gail Littlefield and Susan Van Nostrand) to research the different options and alternatives available for this project. A report will be submitted at the next Town Council meeting in March. Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to have David work with Gail to revise the draft report on HPC guideline recommendations. The motion carried unanimously. Once the revision has been reviewed and approved by Commission members, it will be submitted to the Mayor and Town Council for consideration. Gail will also contact Steven Werts, Maintenance Supervisor, and the Emergency Preparedness Committee to discuss their ideas and recommendations.

Archives – Annual Report:

Pat Patula presented her 2016 annual report for review and guidance. In her report, Pat gives an update on what was achieved in 2016, with suggestions for what needs to be done in 2017.

The 4-page document included an in-depth review on the following archives projects for the Town of Washington Grove:

  • Collection Care – Archives storage area
  • Records Management Plan
  • PastPerfect Program
  • Town Website
  • Oral Histories
  • Photographs
  • Equipment
  • Public Education Achievements
  • Budget Recommendations Summary for 2017

Pat just received an update on February 21, 2017, that the Records Management Plan has finally been approved by the State. The plan can now be implemented with emphasis on the transfer of the oldest and most vulnerable documents.
A special thank you goes to HPC members, Marilynn Frey, the Town’s Records Management Officer, and Kathy Lehman, Town Clerk, for their ongoing assistance in these projects.
Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to approve the Annual Report, as written. The motion carried unanimously. Bob will send the report to Mayor McCathran, and copy Council members for their review.

Review Session – Projects:

304 Chestnut Avenue: The HPC declined to formally review a project submitted by homeowner, Jason Newman. The building permit application, dated February 15th, is for window well enlargement. The actual work was completed before the application was filed with the Town. The HPC was unable to determine from the public ways the extent of changes made to the existing window wells, and that information was not provided by written description or visual depiction. The house is a non-contributing structure and there are no contributing structures immediately adjacent to the property.
114 Ridge Road: Ralph Hurst, architect for Gary and Freda Temple, submitted a building permit application for a proposed 13’x15’ sunroom addition and enlargement of an existing deck on the back of the house. There was sufficient documentation provided with the application for the HPC to review.
The proposed addition will be visible from Cherry Avenue and it is compatible with the existing structure and with the historic district. Mimi will prepare a written review and submit to the Planning Commission accordingly.

Expansion of National Register nomination:

The HPC discussed the possibility of expanding and updating the Town’s National Register HD designation, which was originally drafted in 1979 by members of the Planning Commission. The period of significance for contributing structures under the current nomination is 1937. Since the Town has continued to develop and grow since its incorporation, it is important to continue to preserve the historic resources and cultural landscape. The current NR designation allows the Town to have a “seat at the table” when negotiating future environmental issues concerning the surrounding region. Expanding the NR designation will strengthen our position when trying to protect the West Woods and annexed areas added to the Town since the original designation was drafted.
The cost involved in hiring a professional architectural historian/firm to evaluate the expansion and updating of our existing nomination will be in the vicinity of $30,000.00. Gail and Wendy will prepare written justification, based on the 2009 Master Plan, to be submitted with the HPC budget recommendations for 2018.

HPC Budget:

The Commission discussed budget recommendations presented by Pat Patula in her Annual Report. Bob will prepare a draft budget for members to review before being submitted to the Town Treasurer. Budget items will include:

  • Expansion of National Register
  • Monument sign for Political Hill
  • Update of Historic Preservation Design Guidelines
  • Ongoing education
  • Modify Archives Room
  • Repair of bench located in old Council Chambers
  • Secure place for library

TC Meeting Report:

Georgette reported that the RFP for roadways was finalized and sent out to prospective bidders. She also reminded the Commission of an Informational Town Meeting scheduled for February 27, 2017, in McCathran Hall. The Town Council voted to accept a 5-year contract with Invasive Plant Control to work on the removal of non-native plant material in the East Woods. The purpose of the meeting is for representatives from IPC to review the methods of removing invasive plant material and answer questions residents may have about the process.

PC Meeting Report:

It was agreed that HPC representatives attend future Planning Commission meetings per the following schedule:
March – Mimi Styles
April – David Stopak
May – Wendy Harris
June – Bob Booher
July – Gail Littlefield

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 pm.

Minutes prepared and submitted by:
Cynthia Werts

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