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21 March 2002 | Approved: 6 April 2002

Washington Grove’s Historic Preservation Commission held its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2002. Members present were Clare Cavicchi, Bob Booher, Larry French, David Neumann, and Chris Kirtz (designee). A quorum — with all members present — was declared and the meeting commenced with the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting held on February 19, 2002.

The bulk of the meeting was spent in interactive discussion with John McClelland, Chair of TWG Planning Commission, as to how the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission [HPC] should interact with each other.

It was noted that the HPC Ordinance states that the HPC "shall review all applications for building permits filed with the Town Planning Commission which would involve any change to a structure or site visible from any public way. . ." The purpose being for historical accuracy, integrity, and compatibility with the neighborhood . . . The HPC has 30 days to complete its review and forward same to the Planning Commission. One of the ideas suggested was to encourage potential applicants to consult with the HPC to get its “informal” views before submitting plans for approval to the Planning Commission.

Mr. McClelland promised to provide the HPC with a list of the issues in the current Town Zoning Ordinances that he believes the Planning Commission would like us to consider from the point of view of Heritage preservation. The HPC members agreed to discuss these issues and give our recommendations to the Planning Commission.

Mr. McClelland presented the HPC with two sub-division concepts recently discussed by owners with the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission believes that the sub-division criteria in Section 3 and 4 of Article XII of the Town Ordinances need review. HPC members stated that they would begin to do some research into the types of criteria related to heritage preservation that might be appropriate to add to Section 4 of Art. XII. If the criteria in the Ordinances are modified and adopted by the Town Council — the HPC might be in a better position to advise the Planning Commission on subdivision plans within the Town.

The Town Zoning Ordinances were discussed, especially the definitions of "Story" and "Story, half" in Section 4.2 and the maximum height limits in Section 9 both of Article VII. David Neumann pointed out that he had had calls from Town residents asking whether the renovation at 102 Center St. (owned by Chris Kirtz) was producing a structure that exceeded the height limits in the Town Ordinances. Mr. McClelland pointed out that the plans for the renovation of the 102 Center St. were approved by the Planning Commission. In addition, Mr. McClelland recommended that the HPC do a practice review of the renovation plans as a “dry-run” of the review procedures of the HPC. Chris Kirtz, designee on the HPC, said that he would be pleased to assist the HPC in such a dry run.

Mr. Kirtz stated that the height of the addition to 102 Center St. would be in keeping with the original structure and that the roofline would complement the roofline of the old structure when viewed from Center Street looking south.

There was a cursory discussion of the vacant position of Town building inspector (see Article I, Section 13.3 where the position of the building inspector (BI) is defined. Only one function of the BI is discussed there — in connection with the condemnation of dangerous buildings). No recommendation was proposed to be sent to the Town Council, Mayor, or Planning Commission.

Clare Cavicchi reported out on the March 20, 2002 meeting of the Heritage Committee. She alerted HPC members to a myriad of Historic Preservation conferences and activities in March, which is Maryland’s designated Historic Preservation month. She will attend some of these events and other Grove residents others. She announced the Heritage Committee intends to hold a fall event with the possible topic "The use of Historic Tax Credits" — using successful Grove applicants and projects as examples of what can be done.

The importance of establishing a standard monthly meeting date was discussed. It was noted that some members could not commit to meetings on Thursdays. The HPC members agreed to meet on the third Thursday of each month. They also agreed that an extra work session was needed — besides the monthly public meeting — to work exclusively on HPC procedures and by-laws and possibly also on criteria for subdivisions. Members agreed to have this work session from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6th.

Members also agreed that the HPC would hold its next monthly meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday, April 18th.

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