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4 March 2015 | Approved: 1 April 2015

Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. In attendance were commissioners David Hix, John McClelland, Peter Nagrod, and Steve Werts. Also in attendance were Councilor Georgette Cole and residents Bruce Rothrock and Cynthia Werts.

Approval of Agenda

David Hix moved to approve the agenda. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Approval of the Minutes

Peter Nagrod moved to approve the February minutes. David Hix seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Public Appearances

Georgette Cole appeared on behalf of the Historic Preservation Commission. She came to ask about the revised “Rules for Building Permit Applications” and what happened to the idea of the placement of the HPC review at the beginning of the building permit application process. For several months the change has been advertised in the Town Bulletin in order to educate residents. Georgette wondered if the fire at 203 2nd Avenue took the focus away from this change that had been accepted and approved in March 2014. Due to the process HPC thought was ongoing, they were disconcerted by the building permit rules approved by the Planning Commission in February. There was a discussion about the following:

  • The sequence of things
  • The value of HPC education seminars
  • Allowable procedures based on the current ordinances
  • Continuing to encourage residents to go for a preliminary HPC review and to use the resources they have to offer
  • Historic Trust credits
  • The goal for preservation of historic ambiance of the Town

In conclusion, a process from the HPC for the placement of the review on the front end has not been brought forward. As it stands now, residents will be encouraged to go to the HPC first, but not be required to present a review with the building permit application.

Building Permit Applications

There were no building permit applications. There was a discussion about sign permits and the approval process. John McClelland has applied for a permit for an additional sign for his business at 11 Brown Street. The Town’s application is a letter from the person requesting the sign and the Town’s permit is a letter from the Mayor.

Charlie Challstrom reported the new roof on an accessory building at 402 Grove Avenue measures 16 feet 4 inches in height. Steve Werts and Charlie did the measurement.

Annual Report to Maryland Department of Planning

Chairman Challstrom presented the annual report that he will send to the Council and then to the State. There was a brief discussion about the required training, comprehensive planning (Railroad St. Improvement Plan & Forest Management Plan) and Master Plan updates.
Planning Commission Minutes Ordinance No. 2015-03 – Amendments to Article IV, Sections 1 & 10: Charlie Challstrom reported Jane Seegal (315 Grove Ave.) withdrew her application for a permanent easement. He went on to say even though the application has been withdrawn, the process will be enhanced by the new language provided by the Town attorney and will very likely need to be used at some point. The Commission discussed potential liability issues. Georgette Cole expressed her hope that this document continues to move forward and stated it would be appropriate for the PC to recommend the same to the Town Council. Peter Nagrod moved to approve the Town attorney’s changes and forward Ordinance 2015-03 to the Town Council for introduction. John McClelland seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

House Files

Status Report: This project has been slightly delayed because of bad weather.

Railroad Street Improvements Plan

Charlie Challstrom distributed copies of his testimony given at a recent meeting with County officials about a new sidewalk from Oakmont Avenue to Central Avenue. He stressed the pressing need for additional parking at the MARC station. They discussed the following:

  • Upcoming meeting of the Greater Shady Grove Civic Alliance
  • Cator Property
  • Roberts Oxygen
  • Inadequate crossings at Railroad Street (to MARC train) and Washington Grove Lane (to lake)
  • Safety, signals
  • Arched metal signs with “Town of Washington Grove” on Washington Grove Lane (near Daylily Lane) and on Railroad Street @ Roberts Oxygen and at Hanagan’s.
  • Identity and a sense of place

Council Report

John McClelland reported the Council passed a new resolution reinforcing the process for Recreation Committee sponsored programs. He also reported that Jane Seegal (315 Grove Ave.) backed out of her request for a permanent easement because of insurance restrictions and the joint meeting between TC, PC, and HPC happened on February 18th.

Other Business

  • Area Master Plan Update Discussion –Charlie Challstrom mentioned the area Master Plan updates (Gaithersburg East) that will start in the summer or fall of 2016. This includes the area around the Towne Crest Apartment complex which means another redevelopment plan for Towne Crest will likely follow the updates.
  • The Commission also briefly discussed the pending legislation about double telephone pole removal and about vacant and blighted buildings.
  • Steve Werts mentioned a street light problem with finding old parts for our fixtures and with PEPCO storing enough bulbs as promised in the original agreement. This is a Council matter.

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

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