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19 October 2010 | Approved: 16 November 2010

Bob Booher, Mimi Styles, David Stopak, David Neumann. Liz Robertson was present to discuss her plans for her renovation project. Councilor Joli McCathran was present as Town Council Liaison. The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. David Neumann took minutes.

Project Reviews

Liz Robertson, presented her plans for a renovation of 315 Brown Street. Mimi Styles agreed to write the review. A few aspects of the history of the house were explained by Joli McCathran. , . The project proposed by Liz Robertson is to add a wrap-around porch to the front and sides of the house, remove the rear portion of the house, and replace it with a new rear section whose floor is level with the main or front portion of the home. As there was no building permit application form with the plans and drawings, the members agreed to do an Early Review of the project. When the plans with a permit application reach the Planning Commission, they will be looked at by a member of the HPC to make sure that they are consistent with the plans that were reviewed by the HPC.

Kent Williams presented his plans for a renovation of an accessory building (a garage) at 415 Grove Avenue. The house was built according to Town records ca. 1894-1915 and was substantially remodeled in the 1950’s. It was formerly the home of Mrs. Pat Deeley who moved out approximately one year ago. The accessory building had been built by the Deeleys many years ago, but had been proposed by them to the Town as an addition to the main building. Over the years the garage was never connected to the main building and stood in violation of the Town Zoning Ordinances for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the height of the structure. The new owner, Kent Williams, proposes to lower the building height to bring it into compliance with the Town’s Zoning Ordinances which have a maximum of 20 feet for accessory buildings. The discussion of HPC members dealt with the relative scale of the accessory building to the main building. In this case the accessory building with its barn shaped roof is taller than the main building and the two buildings have comparable enclosed areas. One of the members of the HPC asked whether the building would be in compliance with code as it seemed to have a second floor and code stated that it had to be at most 1.5 stories. Mr. Williams pointed out that since the building has a gambrel roof it is only 1.5 stories tall. Members of the HPC took note of this and proposed that if this is the case, then in the future The Town should re-examine the “Story, half” definition in the Town Ordinances (Art. VII, Section 4). Members were concerned that the proposed reduction in height might bring the building into legal compliance, but would not make it compatible in scale with either the neighborhood nor with the main residence. It was also suggested that the investment of funds to correct the height of the building might be better spent to improve the house rather than the accessory building. Given that the accessory building does not comply with setback requirements, members discussed the question whether the Town, given its cooperation with the new owner, should have asked or still should ask the new owner to provide some guarantees (possibly via an easement to the Town) that any renovations to the main building in the future be done in manner that preserves light and air to neighboring building on Johnson Alley and to the Alley itself. This could be done, for example, by requiring that no second floor wall be built on the main building that encroaches into a set-back of ten or fifteen feet on the south side of the main building. The exterior materials of the accessory building were also discussed. It was agreed that no change in the exterior materials would aid in reducing the disproportionate visual scale of the barn-shaped accessory building.

1 According to Joli McCathran (see also Philip Edwards’ history of the Grove) the house was constructed ca. 1906 as the home of Rev. Dr. Albert and Phebe Osborn. The Osborns were the in-laws of Mayor Roy McCathran. Dr. Osborn was a Cornell University graduate, (Class of 1872), was the founder of The Washington Grove Methodist Church, Inc., wrote a biography of Methodist Episcopalian Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, the founder of American University, and served in various capacities at the University as an early organizer, registrar, teacher, and historian.
2 "Washington Grove 1873-1937 – A History of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association" Philip K. Edwards (1988), pg. 208.

Approval of Agenda and Adoption of Minutes

The proposed agenda was reviewed, modified and adopted. Joli McCathran was in attendance as the Town Council liaison. As she had just joined the Town Council, and as this was her first HPC meeting, she did not give a council report. She will probably do so at our next meeting. The agenda was modified and voted on and approved unanimously. Minutes for the June 2010 and September regular HPC meetings were approved subject to a few changes. They will be filed in the Town office and submitted to Bill Saar to be added to the Town Web Site.

HPC Rules of Procedure

Draft 21 of the Rules of Procedure for the HPC were circulated to members by email on October 17. Due to time constraints, the discussion of this draft was postponed to the November HPC meeting.

PC/HPC work sessions on Mansionization

David Stopak reviewed the progress of both the Trigger and the Maximum Square Foot subgroups. He showed the graphs and tables provided by Charlie Challstrom and Eric Gleason to Councilor Joli McCathran.
The members discussed subgroup preparation for the upcoming work session on Mansionization, probably in the first months of 2011. Members discussed Charlie Challstrom’s draft proposed ordinance. It was felt that the formula for Max. SF needs further justification of its slope and enclosed space intercept. The letter by Charlie Challstrom sent to the Maryland Municipal League was also discussed. The next PC-HPC Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, at 7:30 pm.


The next meeting will be Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 7:30pm in the McCathran Hall meeting room.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 p.m.

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