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7 March 2012 | Approved: 4 April 2012

Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Samantha Beres, Brenda Gumula, Peter Nagrod and Steve Werts. Also in attendance were residents David Hammett and Jim Snyder.

Before approving the agenda, Chairman Challstrom made a few announcements;

  • Mayor Cole has engaged the services of the law firm Knopf & Brown to assist the Town in dealing with the Towne Crest redevelopment project. They will review the application and provide a legal analysis. The Planning Commission will defer making final recommendations to the Mayor and Council until that analysis is complete.
  • The Planning Commission will have a special meeting on Monday, March 26, 2012 starting at 6:00PM before the Budget Work Session.

Approval of Agenda

Peter Nagrod moved to approve the agenda. Steve Werts seconded the motion. Chairman Challstrom added the status of the building permit at 215 Washington Grove Lane (Price) and he moved the Towne Crest redevelopment to item #2 on the agenda. Brenda Gumula added follow up on the Schank shed and Samantha Beres added a preliminary review of a proposed fence at 121 Chestnut Avenue. Approved, as amended: 5-0.

Towne Crest Redevelopment

Charlie Challstrom reported that the City of Gaithersburg had not received a copy of the redevelopment plan/zoning change application until very recently. They will support Washington Grove as much as they can. The Shady Grove Alliance wrote a letter to Park & Planning in opposition of the density (PD-60). David Hammett expresses his concerns about this development in terms of the number of cars, what he perceives as nefarious activity, Shade and Shadow laws and parking problems on nearby Boundary Street. A discussion about Towne Crest and about the content of the special meeting on the 26th ensued.

Approval of the Minutes

Peter Nagrod moved to approve the minutes from February. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications

  • 201 Maple Road – Charlie Challstrom explained that this was an application to convert a carport to a garage. He went on to say that the carport is non-compliant. The applicants plan would increase the degree of non-compliance (additional 4 ft. towards the house) based on Article VII, Section 5; Non-Conforming/Non-Complying Uses. The plan also does not meet the front setback requirements for an Accessory Building in the RR-1 zone per Article VII, Section 9; Schedule of Standards. Owner Jim Snyder explained that when he bought the property he did so in good faith. There were no leans on the property and the previous owner indicated that the Planning Commission had approved the building of the carport in its current location. Therefore, it was compliant at the time. A discussion about the front vs. the rear and about ways to make this plan to enclose the carport work ensued. Mr. Snyder was advised that he could go to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Steve Werts moved to deny the building permit application to enclose the existing carport at 201 Maple Road. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Denied: 5-0. Mr. Snyder said that he would like to go for a variance with the Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • 215 Washington Grove Lane – It was noted that the both the County and the Town permits had expired. After some discussion, it was decided that the owner will have to start the Town process again. Because the Town Code Inspector will not be needed, this will still be a minor permit ($10.00). The County may issue an extension. Samantha Beres will call the resident.
  • 302 Ridge Road – Steve Werts reported that the shed on this property was moved to a proper location as requested.
  • 121 Chestnut Ave. – The Commission reviewed a draft proposal to relocate a fence on this property. It would be moved back from Chestnut Road in order to meet the requirements for a 6 foot high fence. They looked at the survey to see if iron pipe survey markers were shown and they determined that they were. This was not a formal submission.

Budget Planning for FY 2013

  • Code Enforcement Inspector – The Commission put $1,000.00 in the budget for this category.
  • Block Corner Surveys – The Commission put $5,000.00 in the budget for this category. In anticipation of the sidewalk replacement along Washington Grove Lane, they decided to do Blocks 1 & 2 for the next part of the ongoing Block Corner Survey Project. The Commission also discussed the possibility of annexing the three (3) remaining properties between 204 W.G. Lane and the Railroad St. intersection.

Report from the Town Council

Joe Clark submitted the follow report;

  • Street Lights – The replacement of existing Town street lights will begin within the next several weeks. The replacement bulbs will be more efficient and save ht Town considerable expense on operational costs – the saving could be in excess of $5,000 per year.
  • Woodward Park Resolution – The recommendation was to reduce the number of weekend days for organized field use to be from 1 – 4 p.m., two (2) Saturdays a month, to remove the permanent soccer goal posts and to begin issuing permits when a Field Coordinator can be found. Until that kind of oversight can be in place, no permits for regular adult organized sports activities will be allowed. Please remember that this is a “work in progress” and future changes are expected as we move the understanding of the field from a “regional athletic facility” to a “Town park”.

Other Business

Peter Nagrod asked about the three (3) fenced areas in the East Woods. It was explained that they were a Woods Group initiative for the purpose of seeing how the understory would do without the “benefit” of deer browsing. There was a brief discussion.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:42 p.m.

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