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5 November 2014 | Approved: 3 December 2014

Chairman Challstrom called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Brenda Gumula, David Hix, John McClelland, Peter Nagrod, and Steve Werts. Also in attendance were Mayor Joli McCathran, Councilor Georgette Cole, HPC Chairman Bob Booher and residents Bruce Rothrock, Jane Seegal, Jim Snyder and Ryan Young. Ralph Hurst arrived at 7:45 p.m.

Approval of Agenda

Brenda Gumula moved, Peter Nagrod seconded, that the agenda be approved. Chairman Challstrom added 410 Oak Street and 121 Chestnut Ave. to #5; Building Permit Applications, a third Public Ways and Property Permit from PEPCO and the restoration of Grove Avenue and 2nd Avenue to #6 and restoration of Town marker by CSX, an updated tool from Montgomery County and road bonds to Other Business. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Approval of the Minutes

Peter Nagrod moved, Brenda Gumula seconded, that the Planning Commission minutes for October 1, 2014 be approved. Approved: 5-0.

Public Appearances

Ryan Young came to discuss a problem with obtaining his occupancy permit from Montgomery County due to the old, non-compliant stairway in his home. The occupancy permit can be issued only if a dormer is constructed in the roof above the stairway to bring the stairs into compliance with current County code requirements. This is a safety issue because of head clearance. Architect Ralph Hurst presented a sketch of the proposed dormer. It was noted there were no real measurements on the sketch. There was a lengthy and thoughtful discussion about measurements, placement of the dormer, non-compliance of the first floor wall, gable dormers, potential problems with the ever-changing Montgomery County Code, precedent setting actions, interpretation of Town code, and BZA hearings. It was stated that proper language about the minimum headroom requirements should be attached to the proposed change.

Steve Werts moved to approve the conceptual drawing with the County’s minimum headroom requirement and other measurements to be added by Ralph Hurst ASAP. John McClelland seconded the motion.
Vote: 5-0, modification approved after numbers are added. Bob Booher asked that the side elevation be shown in order for the HPC to comment.

Permanent Easement Application

  • 315 Grove Avenue – The Commission reviewed the application. The intent is clear and statement requirements are met. There was a brief discussion about overhangs.

    Steve Werts moved to forward a positive review to the Mayor and Council noting specifically the overhang and tolerance are included in the Boundary Survey. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications

  • 201 Maple Road – The Commission reviewed Mr. Snyder’s most recent drawings for his project. Steve Werts noted because of a change in County Code, Mr. Snyder would be required to use LVL beams which would make the project four (4) inches higher. This change still keeps the height under the required amount and makes the connection to the main building better. Brenda Gumula stated one of the main concerns all along has been that the plans do not really show a clear picture of the mudroom connection to the main building. Peter Nagrod moved to approve the application to enlarge and enclose the existing carport at 201 Maple Avenue. John McClelland seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
  • 501 Brown Street – The Commission reviewed plans for an exterior stair modification on the screen porch addition to this property. A second set of “complimentary stairs” will be added to the right side (when facing the new construction) for balance. Peter Nagrod moved to approve the modification to the existing plans. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
  • 410 Oak Street – The Commission reviewed the plans for a shed on this property. The existing shed will be replaced by a new one. Brenda Gumula moved to approve the application for a new shed on this property. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0; Steve Werts abstained, Alternate David Hix voted.
  • 121 Chestnut Avenue – Brenda Gumula moved to approve the shed delivered to 121 Chestnut Avenue on October 3, 2014. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.

Public Ways and Property Permit Applications

  • 205 Grove Avenue – Geothermal installation. No further information for this specific property has been turned in. There was a general discussion about recent installations of geothermal units in Town and most agree the contractor(s) are not doing adequate job with the repairs of Town land or the containment of the liquid produced in the drilling process.

    Lessons learned are as follows:

    • Town should require a bond for this type of project (minimum $8 – $10K).
    • Drip lines of trees should be marked.
    • Best practices for tree protection should be required; for example, use of mulch mats.
    • An “Impact Review” should be completed before the project starts.
    • PC should educate residents about new requirements. Start with the Town Bulletin.
  • PEPCO/402 Grove Avenue – The Commission reviewed the PEPCO request to dig on Town land in order to put wires underground. John McClelland moved to approve this Public Ways and Property Permit application to put PEPCO wires underground for 402 Grove Avenue. Steve Werts seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
  • PEPCO/Improve Feeder Reliability Work/Replacement of 13 poles: The Commission reviewed the plan/map to replace 13 poles and associated equipment. The HPC would like to look at this as would Audrey Maskery, Councilor in charge of Forestry & Beautification. Maintenance Supervisor Steve Werts and Audrey Maskery will review the plan for potential tree impacts. Audrey will also get in touch with PEPCO. John McClelland moved for approval contingent upon a review by Steve Werts, Audrey Maskery and the Historic Preservation Commission. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
  • PEPCO/Improve Feeder Reliability Work/Replace fuse cutouts, animal guards, associated equipment: The Commission reviewed the plan/map. John McClelland moved for approval contingent upon a review by Steve Werts, Audrey Maskery and the Historic Preservation Commission. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
  • Restoration of 2nd & Grove Avenues – Steve Werts brought up the ruts and mess left by the demolition contractor for 203 2nd Avenue. He asked who would be responsible for the restoration of the area. The Mayor or Mayor ProTem will contact the contractor about this.

Application for Zoning Text Amendment Filed by the Planning Commission

Chairman Challstrom reported that this document was under review and being re-worked by Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson. She is specifically working on outdated definitions of dwelling, dwelling unit, household and an improved definition of main building. Suellen is also reviewing the language pertaining to signs because of First Amendment concerns, content challenge restrictions and a lack of process for granting a permit for signs. John McClelland moved to reconsider the ZTA. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0. John McClelland moved to table the discussion of the ZTA. The motion was unanimously approved.

Building Standards Compliance Checklist – Status Report

Brenda Gumula reported that information on ten homes, eight (8) of which have encroachments on Town land, have been scanned to the computer. Seven (7) of the eight (8) have been completed. Four (4) others are ready for review. The project is moving along. The group will meet again on 1 December 2014.

Council Report

John McClelland reported the following from the October meeting of the Town Council:

  • The new Traffic Committee made its recommendations to the Town Council.
  • Drainage issues and handicapped access to the playground were discussed. Town Maintenance has $2500 for the in-house work on this project.
  • ZTA was sent back to the Planning Commission for additional work.
  • Bill Robertson resigned from the Council and Cindy Frei was approved to take his place.

Other Business

Chairman Challstrom reported Clark Construction replaced the missing Town survey marker that was lost during the CSX/Deer Park Bridge project.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:03 p.m.

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