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5 December 2012 | Approved: 9 January 2013

Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Brenda Gumula, Peter Nagrod, Freda Temple, Steve Werts and David Young. Also in attendance were Mayor Cole, HPC Member Gail Littlefield and resident Bud O’Connor (409 5th Ave.).

Approval of Agenda

Brenda Gumula moved, David Young seconded that the agenda be approved. Charlie Challstrom added “Proposed Ordinance for Public Ways” as item 3 and “Sidewalk Maintenance” and “Larry Plummer’s Contract Renewal” under New Business. Approved: 6-0.

Approval of the Minutes

Peter Nagrod moved, Brenda Gumula seconded that the Planning Commission minutes for November 7, 2012 be approved. Peter Nagrod expressed his concerns about the inconsistency of the primary parking restriction placed on the Kennett’s at 123 Washington Grove Lane and questioned if the language in the minutes could make this restriction a law. A discussion about precedent setting language, current encroachments, parking on Town property and how these “triggering events” affect residents ensued. Approved: 6-0.

Public Appearances

Bud O’Connor came to discuss permit requirements for fence repairs. Part of his fence sustained major damage during the big June storm (derecho). His dog has figured out how to escape after every attempt at repairing the damage. He would like to permanently fix the problem with the installation of a split rail fence and wire in the area that abuts the property at 500 McCauley Street. There is a history of disagreement about this property corner. Charlie Challstrom stated that the new rules would require the location of all of the property corners either with a boundary survey or self-location by Planning Commission members. The Commission discussed the following; the location of corner markers, emergency situations, Town block corner survey project and the need for a resolution of problems that came about as a result of the surveys. Bud stated that he will try to fix the problem again and come before the Commission with more details in the spring.

Proposed Ordinance for Public Ways

Chairman Challstrom explained the reason for this ordinance as the Town’s need to exercise more authority over the use of Town land and for predictability and order when outside entities (PEPCO, WSSC, Verizon etc…) need to do work in Town. He praised the work and expertise of Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson. The Commission discussed the fee, how it would affect residents who wish to make a new driveway, other possible burdens to residents, the CSX bridge project, enforcement, permits and plans. Mayor Cole expressed some concern over the impact that this version may have on residents. The Commission reviewed the document but felt that more time was needed in order to make an educated recommendation to the Council. They will send revisions to each other and produce a document to give the Town Council by their meeting on December 10, 2012. They will also copy the Town Attorney with their thoughts.

Building Permit Applications

There were no building permit applications.

Plat Approval for Block 2 Survey

Charlie Challstrom presented the paper copy of Block 2 to the Commission for review. He pointed out one oversight in the language and will ask Snider & Associates to make the correction. Peter Nagrod moved, Brenda Gumula seconded that the survey of Block 2 be approved as amended by Chairman Challstrom. Approval: 5-0.

Report from Town Council

David Young reported that the request made by Jim Snyder for an ordinance review committee was discussed at the November meeting of the Town Council. The request was deemed unnecessary at this time. He also reported that a bid for snow removal had been accepted.

Other Business

  • Sidewalk Maintenance – Charlie Challstrom brought up the issue of snow removal responsibilities for the newly constructed concrete sidewalk along Washington Grove Lane. Montgomery County requires that snow removal be done by residents who front a sidewalk; however, the Town does not have any such requirement. A discussion ensued. The Commission agreed that this issue should be resolved because of potential liability that may come upon the Town should someone fall on a sidewalk that has not been shoveled. It is possible that this issue may be addressed in the maintenance agreement that was approved when the original blacktop sidewalk was constructed.
  • Code Inspector’s Contract Renewal – Charlie Challstrom reported that Code Inspector Larry Plummer renewed his contract with the Town.
  • Sand Pit Drain Area on Brown Street Extended – This parcel is called “Outlot A”. Charlie Challstrom reported that after many years of correspondence with the former developer and Montgomery County an agreement concerning back taxes and ownership was finally reached. Outlot A now belongs to the Town and the deed will be recorded shortly. Repair work in this area needs to be done as soon as possible, as Montgomery County will likely be out to inspect it in the near future.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:33 p.m.

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