301-926-2256 [email protected]

21 January 2009 | Approved: 17 February 2009

Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Mimi Styles, David Neumann and Ed Mroczka. Joe Clark, member of the Town Council (TC) and Liaison to the HPC, was also present.

David Neumann agreed to take minutes for the meeting and the meeting was officially called to order at 7:30pm by the Chair. The agenda proposed by Bob Booher was reviewed, modified, and then adopted by the members. Minutes of the regular HPC meeting of December 16 were reviewed and approved subject to changes which David Neumann agreed to make.

Review of Projects

There were no projects to be reviewed.

Council Report

Council member Joe Clark presented his report to the HPC. He explained the new barrier on Johnson Alley that had been requested by Sarah Steel had been approved by the Town Council and constructed. He explained the recent problem of people driving vehicles on the grass in the Town athletic field and the TC discussion on the type of barrier that may be needed along the border of the athletic field and Grove Road. Mimi Styles and other members of the HPC agreed that a low post and beam barrier – not necessarily continuous would be compatible and is used in many state and federal parks.

Joe Clark explained that the Town Council is still discussing a revised version of the proposed Ordinance 2008-07 which deals with Building Coverage Standards for Residential Zones. There is a proposal to have a work session on the Ordinance so that individual owners and residents can become more aware of the impact that the changes might have on them. Joe suggested that the HPC provide its comments to the Town Council before the beginning of February.

Members examined a table showing the following data for residences (by owner’s name and address) in the RR1, RR2, RR3, and RR4 zones: Zone, Land area in square feet, Current maximum coverage allowed, the proposed maximum percent coverage allowed under the originally proposed ordinance and under the newly revised proposed ordinance. The tables did not show the present percentage of the lot that is covered by the residence and other structures.

Planning Commission – HPC Review Procedure

The idea has been proposed to the Planning Commission that the review by the HPC be required earlier in the process to simplify the process. Thus, it was proposed that applicants submit the review by the HPC with their application for a building permit. The chair of the PC at the December meeting also suggested that changes be made in the review process to avoid problems or conflicts. Perceptions of delay have arisen when a building permit application is submitted after the HPC has had its monthly regular meeting and before the Planning Commission has held its regular meeting. Applications submitted in that limited time period must, under present procedures, wait until the next HPC meeting to obtain a review from the HPC and therefore cannot be considered for approval by the PC at their next meeting, but must wait until the one following that. Thus, two solutions were proposed

  1. earlier review by the HPC – prior to submission of the application, or
  2. not accepting applications for permits during the two weeks after the HPC meets and before the PC meets. The HPC could possibly meet a week later to shorten the interval, but it needs at least a week to write its review for the PC and applicant.

Members suggested that the HPC chair and the PC chair meet to discuss the issue and subsequently write up a proposed regulation or ordinance change that meets the needs of both groups.

The Library and Archive

Residents have donated a considerable collection of magazines and books dealing with home renovation and historic preservation. The collection is now housed on shelves in the meeting room of the Town Hall. The archives are now being managed by our returned Town Archivist, Missy Yachup.

Town Bulletin

Members requested that the announcement in the Town Bulletin be modified every two months. It was suggested and members agreed that portions of the guidelines (given out with a building permit application) be included in the HPC section of the Town Bulletin each month.

Proposed Modification of the Town Zoning Ordinance 2008-07

Members felt that it would be best to have the data on present or existing lot coverage in order to decide on the positive and negative impacts of the proposed ordinance. Members suggested that a previous table that showed the existing square foot lot coverage enclosed area as recorded on the tax records was in principle helpful but unfortunately inaccurate, and felt that it would be advantageous if the Town gathered the data on the houses accurately. It was agreed that we would each calculate the enclosed area of our properties to verify the data.

As the principal purpose of the Ordinance is to address the issue of Mansionization in the RR2 zone, it was not clear whether increasing the allowable lot coverage in the RR1 zone would aid in this or work to encourage an increase in the scale of the 50 or so houses potentially affected. The effects on these properties in combination with the present setbacks and height limits is yet unknown. One recommendation was to see if an architecture department at a nearby university might be interested in working with the Town on the project.

Master Plan Public Hearing

Members were reminded that there would be a public hearing on the Town Master Plan at 7:00 pm on Monday night.

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

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