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9 January 2013 | Approved: 6 February 2013

Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Brenda Gumula, Peter Nagrod, Freda Temple, Steve Werts and David Young. Also in attendance were Mayor Cole, HPC Chair Bob Booher and resident Manish Gupta.

Approval of Agenda:

Brenda Gumula moved, Peter Nagrod seconded that the agenda be approved. Charlie Challstrom added Draft Ordinance 2013-02 after item #5 and updates for Towne Crest and the Deer Park Bridge under Other Business. Approved: 6-0.

Approval of the Minutes:

David Young moved, Peter Nagrod seconded that the Planning Commission minutes for December 5, 2012 be approved. Approved: 6-0.

Public Appearances:

There were no public appearances.

Building Permit Applications:

  • 346 Ridge Road – Homeowner Manish Gupta explained the small addition proposed for his home as a simple fill-in of a 1st floor corner that will square-off the house. The addition will double the size of the room. Peter Nagrod distributed his written recommendations and the Commission reviewed the plans.
    Peter Nagrod moved, David Young seconded that the building permit application for a small addition on the rear, northeast corner at 346 Ridge Road be approved. Approved: 6-0.
  • Report on 17051 Oakmont Ave: Charlie Challstrom gave the history of the property and the building and explained his concerns;
    • Use & Occupancy – The County approved the proposed use of “Adult Day Care”. However, the proposed use after day care is over is not allowed in the C-T (Commercial-Transition) Zone. In order to help pay the mortgage, the new owner proposes to rent out the space for receptions, parties, bar mitzvahs etc… A recent event caused a parking mess along both sides of Oakmont Avenue.
    • Signs – Charlie reported that the signs advertising the “Oakmont Grand Hall” for rent are not permitted or approved by Montgomery County. Charlie has had phone and e-mail conversations with the new owner (see exhibits A & B). Montgomery County told Charlie that this potential violation would only be addressed if he filed a formal complaint, explaining that the complaint is the way to start the process. A discussion ensued. The Planning Commission would like to support the Adult Day Care use. Charlie Challstrom will call the new property owner and explain that we support the permitted use (Adult Day Care) but that a formal complaint about the other use and the signs will be sent to Montgomery County.

Draft Ordinance No. 2013-02; Ordinance to Amend Article IV, Building Permit Regulations to Modify the List of Structures for Which Building Permits are not Required:

Charlie Challstrom distributed addition documentation to the Commission. A lengthy discussion about standards, safety, reasonable heights, setbacks, slopes, landscaping designs, timing, other permitting exemptions, railings, number of steps, the definition of a “structure”, changing the 3 foot threshold to 18 inches, and what problem would really be addressed (or not) by this action. The Commission agreed to do some homework to clarify the language and continue this discussion in February.

Report from Town Council:

David Young reported that professional engineer David Wallace examined McCathran Hall. He reported that the building needs stabilization and recommended a study of the corners and the sill plates. The Council approved the funds for this study. David also reported that the Council introduced Ordinance No. 2012-07; requiring outside entities (WSSC, PEPCO, Verizon etc…) to obtain a permit from the Town when doing work on Town land, at the December 5th meeting. The Public Hearing was scheduled for 14 January 2013.

Other Business:

  • Town Crest – Charlie Challstrom reminded everyone of the February 15, 2013 meeting with the County Hearing Examiner. He also reported that amended plans will be filed by Friday, 2/11/13. E-mails to attorney David Brown indicate that the amended plan may include all of the changes that were requested; however, the plan, amended or not, still violates the current zoning and has compatibility problems.
    Deer Park Bridge Update – Charlie Challstrom reported that the Bridge Advisory Group continues to consult with CSX. Preparation for a Special Town Meeting is also happening. There was a brief discussion about long-term plans and a MARC Capital Reinvestment plan.
  • Survey Plats – Charlie Challstrom reported that the recent survey plats were recorded with Montgomery County today.
    Peter Nagrod brought up two things;

    1. An article in the Washington Post which mentioned the Town.
    2. The condition of the Lottes property (330 Ridge Road). The Clerk will look into a recent complaint that a neighbor filed and report back to the Commission and the Mayor.

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

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