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2 October 2019 | Approved: 6 November 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 Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Chair Bob Booher and residents Meredith Beckhardt and Jamie Ayoub.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Deb Mehlferber seconded the motion. The agenda was amended with the addition of Small Cell Wireless, 500 McCauley Street building permit application for a shed, and approval of the August PC minutes.
Approved: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications:

500 McCauley Street: Jon Cohen presented a permit application for a shed. The Commission reviewed the drawing. Jon recommended approval. Jon Cohen moved to approve the building permit application for a shed at 500 McCauley Street. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
412 4th Avenue: Jon Cohen presented a permit application for an addition and renovation of the home. The Commission reviewed the plans and discussed the lack of a boundary survey, lot coverage, allowable enclosed space, and the proposed rear landing and steps. The permit application was not approved due to the lack of a boundary survey. Jon Cohen will call the property owner to discuss the issue.

Public Appearances:

Jamie Ayoub (414 Ridge Road) – Jamie came to get advice about replacing his old wire fence with a new wooden fence. The Commission discussed the fact that no boundary survey existed for this property. Charlie Challstrom volunteered to help look for any points in the ground. Jamie will likely have to get a boundary survey before installing the fence.

Robert Johnson (400 Center Street) – Robert referenced a survey of the West Woods proposed by the Stormwater Management Committee and included in a Request For Proposal (RFP). He wondered if this survey should be pulled from the RFP and taken on by the Planning Commission. The general consensus was to let the PC handle the survey and use money already budgeted for that purpose.

Approval of Minutes:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the August minutes. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. There were a couple of minor changes to the Speed Hump discussion. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the September minutes. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. There was a minor change to the Building Permit Applications discussion.
Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Draft Ordinance 2019-14; Sale of Land Adjacent to #8 The Circle:

The Commission reviewed the document as it applies to #8 The Circle. There was a discussion about the following:

  • Current width of the alley
  • Existing steps
  • Illegal steps
  • Fence heights
  • Possible imposition of conditions
  • Proposed 5 ft. width of the alley in question (requires moving points)

The PC’s recommendation is to maintain viable and attractive access to #6 The Circle. In addition, the alley should be 5 ft. wide for handicapped access and any proposed fence will be restricted to 4 feet in height. A letter from the PC with recommendations and conditions will go to Mayor Compton. The public hearing will be on October 14, 2019.

Draft Ordinance 2019-15; Expanding Applicability of the Public Ways and Property Permit:

The Commission reviewed the draft. This ordinance makes a simple change to the Public Ways and Property Permit to include a permit requirement for residential driveways and parking areas. The public hearing will be on November 11, 2019.

Report from Town Council:

Charlie Challstrom reported the following:

Ordinance 2019-14 Sale of Land Adjacent to 8 The Circle – The Council introduced this ordinance, and the discussion included:

  • homes that access this back alley (#6 The Circle, #8 The Circle, 203 2nd Avenue),
  • current access from and around the house on #6 The Circle,
  • a rear bay/bow window (#8 The Circle) that overhangs the Town land requested for sale,
  • the 6-foot fences specially allowed for these Block 11 properties, and
  • retaining sufficient public land to insure access for emergency equipment.

The Mayor and Council set the date for the Public Hearing as Monday, October 14, 2019.

(Note this excerpt from my September PC Report to Town Council: Maggie Range has submitted a letter to Mayor Compton requesting purchase of a portion of Town-owned land adjoining her property, including parts of a former alley and a former park, containing 169 square feet. The PC reviewed the diagram provided with Maggie’s request, and noted the retention of public access to Grove Avenue for all five homes in Block 11. The PC authorized the Chairman to compose a letter of endorsement for submission to the Mayor and Council.)

Ordinance 2019-15 Expanding Applicability of the Public Ways and Property Permit – The Council introduced this ordinance, noting the proposed change will extend requirements for a Public Ways and a Property permit to include residential driveways and parking areas. The Mayor and Council set the date for the Public Hearing as Monday, November 11, 2019.

HPC Alternate – The Council approved the Mayor’s appointment of Kirk Greenway as the alternate member for the Historic Preservation Commission.

WSSC Sewer Line Work on Ridge Road and Grove Avenue – Mayor Compton provided an update on this project for replacement of old sewer lines and many of the lateral lines connecting the sewer to houses. To reduce tree impacts, WSSC has proposed some main line replacements with minimal trenching. Some of the necessary trenching along Ridge Road will involve newly paved segments, and WSSC has agreed to re-paving the full width of the road, rather than patching. The Ridge Road segment between Brown Street and 112 Ridge Road (on Town plans for future repair) will also be re-paved, and WSSC has proposed to do the road base and paving work for this segment at a cost of ~$1900 to the Town. Before the Public Ways and Property Permit is issued by the Town, more work is needed to locate the lateral lines, to assess tree impacts, and to revise the engineering and trenching plans.

Speed Humps – After another discussion on speed reduction properties of speed humps vs. speed tables, and the effectiveness of the speed humps on Ridge Road, the Council approved ordering a speed hump made from recycled rubber, 3 inches high and 7 feet long, for trial installation across Grove Road at Oak Street.

Montgomery County Pedestrian Master Plan – Mayor Compton encouraged review of this new planning project described on the County Planning Board’s website.

Cherry Avenue Stabilization – For the segment of Cherry Avenue just south of Center Street, there is a long history of efforts to manage stormwater flow that impacts adjacent properties. Mayor Compton reported on current concerns, a proposed solution from Town Maintenance, and now referral to the new Stormwater Management Committee.

Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update: Georgette Cole reported the last meeting went very well. They have finished through 6.3.2. Section 5 was reviewed twice as was material in Section 6.3.2. Up next are Brown Street and Ridge Road corridors. Stormwater management should be completed by November.

Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:

Nothing to report.

Other Business:

Charlie Challstrom gave a summary of Draft Ordinance 2019-17 concerning Small Cell Wireless Facilities. The purpose of the ordinance is to establish criteria for granting a Public Ways & Property Permit for this type of action. Local governments are struggling with how to address the installation of 5-G Facilities on public land. There was a discussion about the following:

  • FCC regulations
  • Health concerns
  • Current bills pending at the State level
  • Fees (raise to $300 because of legal review)
  • Distances between the facilities
  • Interstate Commerce Commission regulations

The Commission made some modifications to the ordinance and will send the amended version to the Mayor for distribution to the Council and to the Town attorney for legal review.

Chairman Nagrod presented October 16th or November 5th for the joint work session with the Historic Preservation Commission. Bob Booher will check with the HPC at their next meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:00 PM.

Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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