301-926-2256 [email protected]

18 June 2019 | Approved: 16 July 2019

Members Present: Bob Booher, Mimi Styles, Wendy Harris, David Stopak and Darrell Anderson.
Absent: Gail Littlefield, Robyn Renas
Attendees: Robert Johnson
Bob Booher took minutes.

Approval of Agenda and Adoption of Minutes

The proposed agenda was modified and then adopted unanimously. Guidelines item deleted.

Project Review

The Owner of 412 4th Avenue attended for another early Consultation. He brought in 3D CAD drawings of two alternative designs prepared by his architect. He indicated that the architect had become familiar with the HPC guidelines before producing the designs and this was evident as both designs were compatible with the existing historic house and the neighborhood. He did not request an Early Review and will submit the competed design in the near future. The HPC was very pleased with his early engagement regarding the design.

Old Business:

National Register Nomination Progress:

MHT is still reviewing the final Draft.

Masterplan update:
The Masterplan Working Group incorporated the Section 5 HPC comments that included the historic descriptions of the various parks from the NR Final Draft at the May meeting. There will be no June meeting and will be moving on to Section 6 Environmental Concerns in July. There are three other groups that have provided input for this section: the Lake Committee, the Woods Group, and the Forestry and Beautification Committee. The HPC has not provided comments for this section.

No comments have been provided by the HPC for Section 7 Water Resources Element. Most of the historic concerns were included in Section 4 Community facilities. Bob will review to verify no further comments are needed.

The comments on section 8 Commercial Corner provided by Robyn were discussed and amplified. Bob will present these to the working group.

Bob reminded the group that section 9 Development and Preservation Strategies will require a subgroup of HPC members to work on.

Status of Sale of Land at 409 5th Avenue

Bob reviewed a draft of the formal letter that will indicate the HPC comments and forward the approved Exhibit C. This letter was modeled on the 315 Grove letter. That letter included comments on the draft ordinance for sale. As there has yet to be an ordinance drafted with the final revisions from the lawyer on the 315 property, the HPC could not finalize their final recommendation letter. It was postponed until a draft ordinance is received.

Archive Report:
Pat has encouraged the HPC members to take advantage of the online conference offerings August 28-30. Wendy and/or Mimi have expressed interest.

Design Guidelines
No discussion.

Bulletin Material
No items ready.

MSA Tour
The time has been set as July 22 at 10:30. Gail secured Clare’s slideshow for Bob to present before the tour. Mimi will offer to provide lunch and will offer to show here house on the tour.

PC Meeting Report
Wendy provided written notes from the June Planning Commission meeting.

Council Report
Darrell provided a written summary of the June Town Council Meeting. Ordinance 2019-10 was deferred until a future meeting. Action on the Sale propertied was postponed. A meeting with WSSC prior to their work was scheduled for the end of July.

New Business:

Ordinance 2019-10 Adopting an Amendment to the WG Zoning Ordinance to Modify Definition of Dormer and to Modify the Minimum Lot Line Standards for the RR-3 Zone;

This ordinance was proposed by the PC to be introduced by the Town Council. It has two unrelated parts.

  • The first deletes the definition of dormer entirely. The definition may have been added in an effort to prohibit a condition where a three story house may masquerade as a 2 ½ story house with a dormer that may in fact be the full width of the house. Thus a limitation of 10’ was placed on the width. The PC advanced the argument that a definition does not really make it a requirement. As the width is an arbitrary dimension, it is not an effective clause. This may actually leave the Town vulnerable to the above condition.
  • The second part modifies the area and minimum width of subdivided lots of the single property in the RR3 zone. The intent of the zone is to allow subdivision into two lots but the area and width requirements as they stand could result in the required demolition of the historic house. The alteration would accomplish subdivision with the house intact. The members were in favor of the alteration, but suggested that the Town take the opportunity to add requirements that would assure the new house be compatible with the character of the Grove and neighborhood. Bob will summarize the comments to the TC and the PC.

Demolition Process;
Two houses that involve porch demolition are currently underway.

  • 3 Ridge Road received a building permit for enclosing a portion of the porch with insect screen. The submitted documents did not portray the intent that the original “battered” posts along the front were to not be replaced “in-kind”. The replacement posts do not reflect the original.
  • The porch floor and supporting posts at 125 Grove have been demolished without a permit. The intent apparently is also to replace them “in-kind”, so per recent ordinance the action does not require a permit. There is concern that this type of action may lead to gradual loss of historic features if they are not in fact replaced “in-kind”.

David indicated that MAHD offers assistance on drafting effective demolition ordinances.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 7:30pm in the McCathran Hall meeting room.


Bob Booher

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