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1 July 2015 | Approved: 5 August 2015

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Brenda Gumula, David Hix, John McClelland, Peter Nagrod, and Steve Werts. Others in attendance were Councilor Georgette Cole, Historic Preservation Commission member Mimi Styles and residents Ralph Hurst, John Hutchinson, Maggie Range, Ed Roberts, Jane Seegal and David Wilmering.

Election of New Chair

John McClelland nominated Peter Nagrod to serve as chair of the Planning Commission. Steve Werts seconded. Mr. Nagrod graciously accepted the nomination.
Vote: 4-0 (Gumula, Hix, McClelland, Werts).

Approval of Agenda

Brenda Gumula moved to approve the agenda. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. The Commission decided to move Public Appearances to the third item on the agenda. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Public Appearances

John Hutchinson came to ask for clarity about the purpose of the Block 11 survey of Residual Public Space adjacent to his home. Steve Werts explained not all the survey markers were in the ground and the Town has not yet received the drawing. Therefore, the Planning Commission cannot comment yet. He also reported a meeting will be scheduled with all effected property owners as soon as all markers are in and the drawings are received. There was a discussion about the following:

  • Allowing current 6 ft. fences in the area to remain that height when moved to private land
  • A Board of Zoning Appeals hearing vs. and ordinance change to accommodate the proposed exceptions
  • The difficulties with meeting the BZA milestones
  • Surveys – how they change
  • Width of the path (5 feet)
  • Abandoned walkways
  • WSSC right-of-way

At this point in the meeting, Ed Roberts brought up abandoned alleys from long ago. He stated an alley between #6 The Circle and 203 2nd Avenue had been abandoned by the Town. Half was given to #6 The Circle and the other half given to 203 2nd Avenue. He went on to say the owners of 203 2nd Avenue deeded their half of the alley to the owner of #6 The Circle. He then expressed his opinion about opening up the alley behind his property for equal access to three (3) homes (#6 The Circle, #8 The Circle, 203 2nd Avenue). He said the action is not practical, is a longer walk for him and nothing would be accomplished by opening the area. He also asked about a permit for a ramp that would be 8 or 9 inches tall and extend 6 feet from his porch and one where the earth was raised to accommodate his needs. He was told a permit was required for the first example but not for the second.

Ralph Hurst presented a slight change to the plans for the rebuilding of 203 2nd Avenue. The wall at the rear and facing The Circle will be squared-off. The Commission reviewed the proposed change and asked Ralph to provide a larger drawing for the record. Ralph agreed.

Approval of the Minutes

David Hix moved to approve the June minutes. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications

  • 117 Washington Grove Lane – Peter Nagrod reported this ramp did not meet the setbacks and would further a non-compliance, therefore, he could not recommend approval. There was a discussion about ADA requirements, County requirements, County permits and the non-compliance issue. Steve Werts stated Article VII, Section 3.326 would allow for the construction of this ramp.

    John McClelland moved to approve the building permit for a ramp at 117 Washington Grove Lane per Article VII, Section 3.326. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.

  • 415 Center Street – Before recommending approval the Commission discussed the fact that some documents were not included in the package. They concluded the missing documents were not really necessary for this permit application. They calculated the lot coverage and noted, even though no boundary survey accompanied the application, it was obvious the fireplace and grill would meet the required setbacks. John McClelland moved to approve the building permit for a permanent fireplace and grill at 415 Center Street contingent upon finding the property corners between 415 & 417 Center. David Hix seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0. Peter Nagrod will get in touch with the owner.

    Brenda Gumula reported the bamboo poles at the Haskett property (205 Grove Ave.) are for a trellis. No permit is required but she will put the information in the house file.

House Files – Status Report

Brenda Gumula reported she and Georgette met twice in June. Twenty eight homes have now been completed. The project will continue with priority given to homes that are vacant, for sale and abandoned.

Permanent Easements for Main Buildings on Town Land

409 5th Avenue – metes and bounds requirement – discussion – The Commission noted the metes and bounds requirement for this application was missing. The recommendation for approval was sent to the Town Council without the document. The Commission believes the Town Attorney will decide if the document is necessary for this application.

Report from Town Council

John McClelland reported representatives from the District 6 Montgomery County Police Department attended the June Town Council meeting. The officers reinforced their goal to be of assistance to Town residents in all situations. They also expressed a negative view of our street signs stating they are not reflective and difficult to read in emergency situations.

The State Delegation (King, Barkley, Reznik) also attended the Town Council meeting. They reported on the most recent session in Annapolis.

John also reported the Town Council will pursue the idea of an abandoned property registry along with the Planning Commission.

Other Business

  • With Peter Nagrod taking on the duties of PC Chair, he turned over the building permit reviews to David Hix. Brenda Gumula will continue to take care of fences.
  • There was a brief discussion about finding a new Alternate. The Clerk will put a volunteer request in the next Town Bulletin. Any suggestions should go to the Mayor.
  • Peter would like to move the placement of Public Appearances to first item on the agenda every month. He asked the Commission to think about other changes in the meeting structure. The following items were listed as topics to consider for the coming year:

    • More Boundary Survey requirement discussions
    • Fences; definition, placement, height etc…
    • Allowing sheds to come to the property line
    • Strategic planning
    • Character of the Town
    • Potential outcome of the House Files project
    • Finding an intern to populate a database for the House Files project.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

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