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6 November 2019 | Approved: 4 December 2019

Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Jon Cohen, Georgette Cole, Deb Mehlferber, and Robert Johnson (Alternate). Also present were residents Andy Bielin, John McClelland, and Mike Schank. Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Member Kirk Greenway arrived at 7:45 p.m.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Deb Mehlferber seconded the motion. The agenda was amended with the addition of a brief discussion about a driveway construction policy and the receipt of an application for a variance by Jane Seegal (315 Grove Avenue).
Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Building Permit Applications:

  • 342 Ridge Road – Jon Cohen explained the plan for a shed on the property. He reported it is fully compliant. The Commission reviewed the plans. Jon Cohen moved to approve the building permit application for a shed at 342 Ridge Road. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0, as presented.
  • 121 Chestnut Avenue – Jon Cohen explained this plan did not make the deadline for submission having just received it on Sunday. The Clerk explained the plan was not increasing the footprint but removing a set of exterior stairs and a balcony, therefore, she saw no harm in getting it started in the process. This plan will be up for approval at the next meeting on December 4, 2019.
  • 412 4th Avenue – A boundary survey for this property will be delivered soon. Charlie Challstrom explained a rather significant error made by Adcock Surveyors triggering concern about lot coverage and a proposed rear deck with steps. Charlie suggested the surveyor should do the boundary survey gratis. There are no issues with the plan for this renovation. Charlie Challstrom moved to approve and allow signing upon receipt of the boundary survey. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Public Appearances:

Insurance agent John McClelland, who occupies offices at 11 Brown Street, came to discuss an ordinance violation by the tenants occupying the space below his offices (Movimiento Pentecostal Rios de Agua Viva, Inc.). The tenants address is 105 Washington Grove Lane. Per Article 11 Section 2.10, John wants their business license revoked. He reported repeated noise violations and John is looking for support from the Planning Commission before going to the Town Council. John also asked the Commission to consider only allowing church use at 107, 109, 113 Washington Grove Lane because these three (3) units do not have businesses above them and disturbance from excessive noise would not likely be an issue. Commissioner Challstrom expressed his discomfort with that request. There was a discussion about the following:

  • Article VII Section 8.2 Use Regulations
  • Violations of Town ordinances
  • Town process – John was directed to take his concerns to the Town Council
  • How does the Town deal with perjury in a public hearing?
  • Requiring use requests to come from the landlord, not the individual entity

John McClelland then asked the Planning Commission to address the art studio use in the space across the hall from the Allstate offices. He believes this use was approved erroneously. John has an e-mail record of a discussion about an office use vs. a studio use. There is no desk, no phone, no computer and, therefore, no office. In addition, the “tenant” (there is no lease) has installed a sign on the building without getting approval from the Town. John asked to either approve the use as a studio or deny it. The landlord has a total disregard for Town and County regulations. John will bring his concerns to the Town Council.

Approval of Minutes – October 2, 2019:

Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the October minutes. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Zoning Text Amendment to Modify RR-3 Zone:

Charlie Challstrom distributed documents for back-up and review. He gave a summary of the issues at hand. The Commission discussed the following:

  • The proposed subdivision
  • Part 2, C and possible effects to future owners
  • Porches
  • Detached garages
  • Covenants to protect the old house
  • Remove any incentive to take down the house and/or to further subdivide
  • Amending Part 1, E

The following language changes were made:
Part 2, C; removed completely the language concerning subdivision approval and requiring the retention of the existing home on the property as a specific condition.

Part 1, E; removed language concerning retention of the home as a specific condition of subdivision approval and simply noted the home has been identified as a contributing structure to the Washington Grove Historic District.

Charlie Challstrom moved to file and accept Ordinance 2019-18 as amended. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Boundary Survey of West Woods and Draft Request for Proposal:

Charlie Challstrom explained the reason for doing the Request for Proposal and a discussion about the following ensued:

  • Clarity
  • Defending Town property
  • Changing the FR zoning designation
  • Stormwater management work
  • Current insurance liability requirements
  • Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s opinion about the boundary of Washington Grove Lane

Charlie Challstrom moved the Planning Commission recommend moving ahead with issuing the RFP. Jon Cohen seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Report from Town Council:

The Commission reviewed Charlie’s report. It was decided that the minutes did not need to include his entire report. Instead, only the items highlighted by Charlie will be included.

Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update:

Georgette Cole reported the next meeting will be November 20th.

Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:

Nothing to report.

Other Business:

  • Driveway Construction Permit – Jamie Ayoub’s (414 Brown Street) proposed driveway was discussed.
  • Ordinance 2019-15 Additional Language – The Commission added the following language to this ordinance; “This section does not apply to ordinary maintenance and repair of existing residential driveways and parking areas.” Georgette Cole moved to approve the additional language to Section 14 D. Deb Mehlferber seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM.

Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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