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1 December 2010 | Approved: 5 January 2010

Georgette Cole called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Samantha Beres, Eric Gleason, Jane Seegal and Steve Werts. Also in attendance were Commercial Corner Manager Steve Beckish and residents Charlie Challstrom, Laura & Terry Kennett and David Neumann. Georgette Cole asked to amend the agenda by moving #6 (Boundary Survey Discussion) to #4 and Building Permit Applications to #5. The Commission agreed.

Approval of Minutes

Samantha Beres moved to approve the November minutes. Jane Seegal seconded the motion. Approved: 3-0; 2 abstained.

Boundary Survey-Discussion

Georgette read the current requirements as stated in the documentation that is given to all who request a building permit application. She used 215 Washington Grove Lane (fence on Town property) and 344 Ridge Road (home is in the setbacks) as two (2) recent examples of why this requirement came into effect. She went on to talk about some new examples of possible exceptions. They are;

  • When a resident’s property is flanked by properties with completed boundary surveys with stakes in the ground and copies of both surveys are included with the application.
  • When the proposed construction is so far removed from the known corners that there is no effect.

A discussion ensued, specifically about 315 Brown Street and about arbitrary distances from the construction and/or lot line. An example of the language for this exception might be; A boundary survey may be waived if the construction is 1 ½ times the minimum setback and a house location survey is presented. There was more discussion about flexibility and exceptions.

Georgette Cole moved to waive the boundary survey requirement for the permit application for 315 Brown Street due to the circumstances noted in the minutes from the November 3rd meeting of the Planning Commission. Samantha Beres seconded the motion. It should be noted for the record that this action is not a precedent setting action. The waiver was approved 5-0. At this time Georgette asked the Commissioners to come up with some new language that would address exceptions to the boundary survey requirement and bring it to the next meeting.

Building Permits

  • 315 Brown Street – As all documentation is now in order, it was moved and seconded that the permit application for 315 Brown Street be approved with the waiver of the boundary survey requirement. Approved: 5-0.
  • 415 Grove Ave – It was moved and seconded that the permit application for 415 Grove Avenue be approved. Approval: 5-0.
  • 123 Washington Grove Lane – There was a lengthy discussion about whether there were valid boundary surveys flanking this property and about the validity of the existing markers in the ground at 121 W.G. Lane. Although 125 W.G. Lane does have a valid boundary survey, it was determined that 121 W.G. Lane only had a house location survey. Therefore, in order to proceed with this building permit application, the residents will have to obtain a boundary survey. The applicants were advised that they could wait and see what the list of expectations may look like following the next meeting to see if they would still need a boundary survey. They were also told that is was still very likely that they would need a boundary survey regardless of the possible exceptions.
  • Commercial Corner – Steve Beckish presented a drawing of the exterior view of #105 W.G. Lane with the proposed alterations. His plan included the removal of the mansard roof and a restoration of the façade that will take it back to its original form. It was determined that a demolition permit would be needed from both the Town and Montgomery County. Mr. Beckish was given a permit application packet. He will return the completed application to the Clerk upon which time it will be stamped by Georgette Cole.

Draft Ordinance to Amend Article VII, Sections 3 & 4 of the Code of Ordinances Regarding Mansionization – Discussion

The Commission discussed lowering the threshold, larger homes on large lots, large homes on small lots, rationale behind the current threshold, the Menlo Park Task Force recommendations, the trigger concept, Eric’s amended FAR charts, zones, lot sizes and protection without being abusive. David Neumann gave the Commission a handout (Discussion of Characteristics of the Four Residential Zones in the Town of Washington Grove, Exhibit A) to help with the discussion. Discussion of these issues will continue at the joint meeting on December 15th.

Report from the Town Council

There were no questions about this report (Exhibit B).

Other Business

Jane Seegal reported that she was still working on the propane tank issue (setbacks and/or burial) but the Fire Marshall was of very little help.

Eric Gleason mentioned his willingness to take over as chair of the Commission but under certain conditions. He asked for feedback from an e-mail that he recently sent. In response to Eric’s email, Samantha Beres agreed to take over the review of permit applications and plans as they are submitted.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.

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