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5 July 2017 | Approved: 2 August 2017

John McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Georgette Cole (Alternate), Dave Hix, Deb Mehlferber and Steve Werts. Others in attendance were Mayor Joli McCathran, Council members John Compton and Pat Klein, Historic Preservation Commission member Gail Littlefield, Woods Committee Co-Chair Joan Mahaffey and residents Mildred Murray (346 Ridge) and Tom Appleby (112 Chestnut).

Approval of Agenda:

Steve Werts moved to approve the agenda. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Public Appearances:

Mildred Murray 346 Ridge Road – Ms. Murray came to the meeting, on Joli McCathran’s recommendation, to inquire about rules and regulations governing the installation of an above ground pool. There was a discussion about the following:

  • County permit requirements (pool & fence)
  • Town approval/sign-off of permit
  • Town fence permit requirements
  • Ownership of the split rail fence
  • Locking ladders and self-locking gates

Ms. Murray will need a fence permit from the Town and a pool permit from Montgomery County. Tom Appleby 112 Chestnut Avenue – Mr. Appleby came to discuss his own boundary survey and purported differences with older tax maps – specifically the corner of Chestnut Ave. and Brown Street. John McClelland explained the PC cannot override or discuss survey differences, especially one that Mr. Appleby himself submitted to the PC for prior building permits. All survey issues would need to be addressed with the surveyor that he had hired. Tom asked if the Town would be doing his block as part of its Block Corner Survey Project. The Commission will look into possibly extending the Morgan Park survey to Hickory Road.

Approval of the Minutes:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the June minutes. Dave Hix seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Building Permit Applications:

125 Grove Avenue – Dave Hix presented the 2nd submission of plans for this property. He does not recommend approval until the required boundary survey is completed. This item was tabled until the next meeting.

Mylar Signature on Survey Document De-platting East Woods:

John McClelland reported all copies of the East Woods survey have been signed by Chair Peter Nagrod. John pointed out that the PC has been operating under an incorrect assumption that the area north of Center St. along Grove Rd. to Boundary St. and east to Maple Ave. is not technically the “East Woods.” It is currently zoned RR-1 and listed as an extension of Woodward Park. The East Woods is zoned FR (Forest Recreation) allowing for passive recreation. There was a discussion about the following:

  • Master Plan maps
  • Definition of the FR Zone (Forest Recreation)
  • The effects of de-platting on zoning
  • The great lengths gone to in order to discourage development of the area
  • Area in question made up of RR-1 and dedicated parkland
  • Locating the dog exercise area at the end of Grove Road extended to the existing fence near Boundary Street
  • Wetlands
  • Town treatment of the area north of Center Street is Forest Reserve and South of Center as Park
  • Passive and active recreation definitions
  • Re-zoning area in question to Forest Reserve
  • The need for consistency in use of the terms Forest Reserve and Forest & Recreation in Ordinances and Master Plan
  • The will of the people (past and present) and intent of the Master Plan
  • Potential consequences of overly restricting use of the area

Review PC Role with Public Property in the Town:

A brief history of the reasons for using passive recreation designation in the Conservation Meadow Park was given. The Town’s official position regarding passive recreational use of Conservation Meadow Park was based upon the historical significance and current passive recreation use of the Town’s own woods as well as the Town’s commitment to protecting its residents from issues associated with “active recreation.” There was a discussion about the following:

  • Historical significance of passive recreation
  • Ability for the Town to make changes in zoning based on PC recommendations
  • The Town’s will to change the area in question to Forest Reserve
  • Access to proposed dog exercise area
  • Virgin woods

Mayor McCathran quoted State law explaining the PC’s role in determining location and position for, in this case, a proposed dog exercise area.

Master Plan Update:

Peter Nagrod will be spearheading this project. The Mayor sent out the original assignments to the Commission via e-mail.

Maple Lake Fence:

John McClelland suggested a board-on-board fence might help solve the problem of holes being cut in the fence to gain access to the lake. He reported the Saybrooke wooden fence (although taller) seems to have helped with their similar problem. The Montgomery County Police encouraged the Town to re-do the barbed wire across the top of the existing fence. There was a discussion about showing ownership with fencing and with signs designating the area to be property of the Town of Washington Grove.

Cator Property Development – Update –

Deb Mehlferber reported she reinforced the silt fence requirements in a conversation with the contractor.

Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:

Georgette Cole reported the group met three (3) times this month. A total of 122 homes have been completed. During one of the meetings, the group showed Dave Hix the methods used to obtain the information.

Report from Town Council:

John McClelland reported a petition requesting the approval to establish a dog exercise area was submitted to the Town Council at their meeting on June 12, 2017. The Town Charter requires action take place at the next regular TC meeting or a special TC meeting.

Other Business:

There was additional discussion about the pool at 346 Ridge Road. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM. Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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