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5 September 2007 | Approved: 3 October 2007

Chairman John McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:35 pm. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Peggy Ebner, and Robert Evans. Also in attendance were Town residents Sung Chang and Jim Lang and State of Maryland Department of Planning representative Mike Nortrup.

Approval of minutes

The minutes of the August Commission meeting were approved.

Building Permits

The following building permits were reviewed by the Commission:

  • 119 Washington Grove Lane – A permit application. for a 4’5" recessed fence was approved per Article 7, Section 3.328.
  • 203 Washington Grove Lane – A permit to build a shed was approved per Article 7, Section 9.
  • 352 Ridge Road – A permit to build a shed was approved per Article 7, Section 9.
  • 206 Cherry Avenue – A permit to build a porch was approved per Article 7, Section 9; the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) had submitted its comments.
  • 119 Grove Avenue – An addition to the home was approved per Article 7, Section 9; the HPC had submitted its comments.
  • The Commission also reviewed plans for a porch and addition for 146 Ridge Road; the review was preliminary only as the plans have not yet been reviewed by the HPC.

Master Plan Revision

Mr. Nortrup of the State Department of Planning made a presentation to the Commission about the new state requirements for planning by municipalities as the result of the enactment of HB1141. He distributed a memorandum summarizing the new requirements and described them orally. Of significant note, by October 1, 2009, each municipality must adopt a “municipal growth element” and a “water resources element” as part of its Master Plan. The elements must be put out for broad public comment by state and county officials as well as Town residents. No rezoning of land can be done by a municipality after October 1, 2009, unless it has adopted both elements. Mr. Nortrup volunteered to assist the Commission in any way he could to address the requirements of HB 1141. The Commission thanked him for his presentation and offer of assistance.

Field Use

Chairman McClelland raised concerns about problems which have occurred in recent weeks regarding the use of the Town’s soccer field and the permitting process and led a discussion of possible steps which might be taken to improve the situation. Among matters discussed were the use of the field for longer than the three-hour timeframe provided for in the current ordinance; the lack of specificity about the hours for which a permit is valid on some permits; the Town’s failure to anticipate that Town events on the Labor Day weekend would preclude the issuance of permits for the events’ timeframes; the need for clarification in the ordinance of whether more than one three-hour permit may be issued for the same day; the responsibilities of Town “sponsors” of outside groups to ensure their compliance with the permit; the need to clarify that a permit is not transferable to a different day, time, or group; the lack of an official Town stamp on the permits; the question of whether the Town should charge a fee for the issuance of permits to cover the Town’s costs in issuing and enforcing permits and maintaining parkland, as is done by Montgomery County ($48 per event); the need to assign responsibility for enforcement of permits in a single individual; the question of whether permits should not be granted for specific days of the week; and the desirability of not granting permits for certain months of the year (e.g., December to March as Montgomery County does) to permit the fields to recover from use. A consensus of the Commission supported suggesting to the Town Council that it assign responsibility for enforcement of the permits to one individual; that the permits specify the specific hours for which they are granted and indicate clearly they are not transferable; that the responsibilities of sponsors of outside groups be clarified; and that no permits be granted for Sunday use.

Town Council report

Councilor Challstrom reported that the Town Council September 10 will hold a public hearing and then consider a revised ordinance regarding enforcement of Town ordinances, the effect of which would be to provide a legal enforcement mechanism for future violations. Chairman McClelland expressed concern about the ordinance’s apparent lack of retroactive enforceability. Councilor Challstrom also discussed the Town’s surveying effort and the concerns it has raised among some Town residents about its impact on their property lines. It was suggested that the Town explore offering to adjacent landowners the opportunity to purchase strips of Town land which would allow them to maintain their existing structures on their own property, as has been done in past decades by the Town.

Robert Evans

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

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