301-926-2256 [email protected]

20 January 2015 | Approved: 17 February 2015

Members Bob Booher, Gail Littlefield, Wendy Harris, Mimi Styles, and David Stopak were present. TC liaison Georgette Cole and resident Cynthia Werts were also present. The meeting was called to order at 7:35 pm at the Town Council chambers.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved by consensus with some rearrangement: Item 3.6 will follow 3.2. Under new business Gail Littlefield will update on her nomination of the Humpback Bridge for a Montgomery County Preservation Award. Wendy’s update on the steatite quarry next to the Washington Grove Conservation Meadow was distributed to the HPC by email and will be incorporated into the minutes under new business as well.

Approval of Minutes

David Stopak moved to approve the meeting minutes for 16 December 2014 as amended. Mimi Styles seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
Mimi Styles moved to approve the meeting minutes from 18 November 2014 as amended. David Stopak seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Project Reviews


Town Council report

Resident Jane Seegal inquired about the absence of her Permanent Easement Application from the agenda. Mayor McCathran reported the HPC was preparing diagrams to complete the packet. She thought they would be completed by the February meeting. Mayor McCathran will put this item on the agenda for February.
Application for Zoning Text Amendment: The Mayor and Council discussed setting the date for the public hearing. The public hearing will be on February 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM in the Council Room.

The idea of a joint work session with the Town Council, Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission was discussed. This meeting will take place on February 18, 2015 from 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM. Mayor McCathran will send an invitation to PC and HPC members. She will solicit input from all three bodies and assemble a draft agenda. Georgette noted that agenda suggestions must be sent to Mayor McCathran by Wednesday February 11.

Planning Commission report

Gail reported the PC had voted on the new ZTA after it had been reviewed by the Town Attorney but Bob’s email regarding a dormer exception was not addressed. Georgette explained the PC voted only on ZTA sections that had been changed by the Town Attorney and section 5.32 had not changed and could not be re-voted. The HPC will be able to present their option for a dormer exception at the public hearing on February 23. The ZTA can be changed by the Town Council before they approve it based on input from the public hearing and other testimony.

David asked if horizontal or vertical exceptions to the non-compliance section should be considered. Wendy suggested using the character-defining features language from the National Register Nomination to support what the HPC proposes. Members will think about potential wording before the next meeting. David brought up handling the problem by rewriting the current variance criteria. A subcommittee of PC/HPC could work on this project.

Houses on Town Property

  • 315 Grove Avenue: The HPC version of the Easement package for 315 Grove Avenue was distributed to the HPC for final review.

    Mimi Styles moved to approve the Easement package language; David Stopak seconded. The first item reviewed was the Deed of Easement: minor numbering changes were noted.
    The second item reviewed was the packet of Exhibits for the Deed of Easement. These included
    a List of Exhibits, Exhibit A (the metes and bounds description), Exhibit B (the plat), Exhibit C (the Historic Integrity Features Description).
    Exhibit C consists of 5 sections. C1 (Two Drawings of the Easement Improvements), C2 (Schedule of Historic Integrity Features), C3 (Schedule of Figures of Easement Improvements including Historic Integrity Features), C4 (Images of Easement Improvements [fig 1-7]), C5 (Documentation and Analysis of significance and context of Historic Integrity Features).
    The HPC decided to use the Figure titles in C4 to list in Schedule C3, they removed the figure references from C5 deeming the figures themselves to be sufficient explanation. Bob’s edited version of Gail’s Schedule C2 list was substituted. In discussion of Exhibit C1 (the drawings) it was noted that the height of the roof peak can be estimated from the drawings and is about twenty-one (21) feet or about twenty-two (22) feet from grade.
    Approved: 5-0, as amended. The amended documents will be attached to these minutes.

    David Stopak moved to approve the language for Resolution 2015-**; Wendy Harris seconded. A minor wording change was made in the second “whereas”. The HPC noted the Deed of Permanent Easement is incorporated in the Resolution as an attachment in the second whereas. Also, the additional package of 315 Grove material is incorporated by reference as an attachment in the sixth whereas. Approved: 5-0, as amended. The amended documents will be attached to these minutes.

    Since this package of information needs to come before the Council with enough lead time to permit a review by the Town Attorney it was agreed to expedite the package cleanup prior to distribution. Gail and Wendy graciously agreed to incorporate the various amendments into the documents and send them to Bob Booher by Friday. Bob will do the final check and then PDF the documents aiming for distribution to the Mayor, Town Council, and Planning Commission on January 26. The Mayor will get the Word documents as well to forward for review by the Town Attorney.

Enabling Ordinance for Permanent Easements

The HPC discussed Ordinance 2014-03 which authorizes the issuance of a Permanent Easement for eight specific properties which have a portion of their Main Building on Town Land. HPC proposes the language be clarified with respect to the role of the HPC in the process. In addition, an Easement Review that covers any alteration (including repair) of the structure on Town land needs to be added. Gail brought language to add to the fourth whereas and the text for a new fifth whereas. The need for reworking Section 1; numbers 3 and 4 was discussed. David and Georgette will collaborate on proposed new language in section 1. This document should be reviewed/approved at the February 17 HPC meeting so it can be sent to the Mayor, Council, and Planning Commission before our joint meeting on February 18. The HPC will recommend consideration of clarified language in the enabling Easement Ordinance 2014-03 as an agenda item for Feb 18.

Bulletin Material

Wendy and Pat will discuss what to give Kathy. The HPC agreed the focus this month should be on the National Register Nomination which supports the role of the HPC in the Easement process. Gail suggested it would be worth using HPC budgeted funds to get another plaque commemorating the National Register nomination to be placed in a more accessible location than the Sacred Circle.

Archives-Records Management

see January report submitted by Pat Petula.

Permit Reviews-Procedure revision

Bob suggested the process be called Project reviews, especially if the PC was not requiring a finalized HPC review to be physically attached to the building permit application. Currently the fact that the HPC has reviewed the plans and a written permit is pending is sufficient to have a building permit application accepted by the Town Clerk (who is also the secretary of the Planning Commission). Revision of the HPC procedures will be worked on as soon as time permits. Margot Bohan worked on this when she was on the Commission and Bob suggested she might be willing to work with Georgette and Brenda who are addressing the PC permit process procedure.

Zoning Text Amendment

See PC Report (above).

New Business

  • Steatite Quarry Archaeological Site: Wendy reported that Charlie and Mary Challstrom have successfully established the boundary line that separates the Town-owned Meadow Conservation Park (upper field) from the County-owned Piedmont Crossing Park (lower field). Based upon previous delineations of the Steatite Quarry Archaeological Site’s boundaries, this suggests that the site (as presently defined) lies slightly beyond the Town’s boundaries and is located on County property. Wendy pointed out, however, that until such time as an actual subsurface archaeological investigation of the site is conducted, we won’t know for sure whether buried portions of the site actually extend into Town property as well. She recommended that since the entire area is so prone to foot traffic and visitation, we continue to monitor the site for signs of disturbance. Additionally, there have been discussions of the County developing Piedmont Crossing Park, including the construction of an extension of Crabb Branch Way. Because of this, she also recommended making a better effort to define the site’s boundaries by assessing the presence or absence of surface artifacts and other indications of past quarrying activities. Whether we are dealing with the Town, the County, other government agencies, or developers, it would be useful for the HPC to have such information readily available.
  • Past Minutes: The HPC reviewed the status of past minutes submissions. For 2014 three months are in the HPC Minutes binder in the Council Room. Two more months were approved tonight. More minutes were submitted by Gail in hard copy but aren’t in the binder. Since the minutes really ought to be on the web site as well Georgette asked Gail if she could please gather all the electronic minutes she had for 2014 and send them to both Kathy Lehman and to Bill Saar (our WG web master). Kathy will put any that are not in the binder into it. Bill will start catching up with the web site posting. In the binder: for 2013 ten of twelve months, for 2012 eleven of twelve months, and for 2011 ten of twelve months. As time permits the paper minutes will be scanned into PDF files and sent to Bill Saar for posting.
  • Montgomery County Award for Historic Preservation: Gail is preparing the paperwork to nominate the CSX renovation of the historic Deer Park Humpback Bridge. David Stopak moved for HPC to endorse the nomination; Mimi Styles seconded. Approved 4-0.

The meeting was adjourned at 11 p.m.

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