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2 September 2020 | Approved: 9 October 2020

Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, this meeting took place via ZOOM videoconference. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Jon Cohen, Georgette Cole, and Robert Johnson (Alternate). Also in attendance were residents Mimi Bolotin, Paula Puglisi, and HPC member Mimi Style. Joan Mahaffey and Audrey Maskery arrived at 7:40 p.m. Deb Mehlferber arrived during the report from the Town Council.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Robert Johnson requested the addition of an enforcement discussion concerning rules for building permits. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Building Permit Applications:

There were none.

Public Appearances:

Paula Puglisi came for discussions about two (2) agenda items and Mimi Bolotin came to listen.

Public Ways & Property Permit:

There were none.

Approval of the Minutes – August 5, 2020:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the August 5, 2020 minutes. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Robert Johnson started a discussion about the removal of a bandstand at 409 Chestnut Avenue. He suggested some clarity was needed. After an explanation from Charlie Challstrom, the minutes will stay as originally written. Approved: 4-0, as presented, Jon Cohen recused himself as he was not in attendance on the 5th.

328 Ridge Road – New Home – Update:

Charlie Challstrom reported there is still no water or sewer connection and, in addition due to COVID-19, there have been some problems with PEPCO. There was a discussion about the following:

  • Placement of the house
  • Definition of “building line”
  • Definition of the “building restriction line”

The Commission discussed Robert’s definition of “building restriction line” which he explained as a lot requirement, not a building placement requirement and the limit of where the building can be placed. There was additional discussion about moving the home and changing the placement of the garage to the right side.

Action: The Committee agreed to use Robert’s interpretation of the building restriction line and to approve the HPC’s conditions outlined in their review. The project is on hold until the Building Permit Application (including a tree protection plan) is brought to the Commission for approval.

Report from Town Council:

Charlie Challstrom highlighted the following items in his report:

  • 123 Washington Grove Lane – condition of renovation
  • WSSC work on Ridge Road and on Grove Avenue has begun
  • New salt barn – no update
  • On-going Maple Lake Water Quality Policy
  • Use of McCathran Hall (Elections, No; Swing Time Big Band, Rehearsal, Yes – outside)
  • Updates to the Public Ways and Property Permit

Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update:

Georgette Cole reported Sections 4.5 and 10 have been reviewed and approved. Section 12 (Housing Elements/Accessory Dwelling Units) is very complicated and will likely require input from residents. Georgette suggested prior to the next meeting (9/16/20), input be solicited from the public in order to facilitate the next discussion. She is not sure if the Housing Element can be completed by December. Concern about working too quickly on this item was expressed and the group decided to treat Section 12 as a stand-alone draft in order to keep the project moving forward. There was additional discussion about Accessory Dwelling Units in a specific zone, criteria for units and parking requirements.

Action: Georgette will solicit Planning Commission input and discuss at a meeting on 9/23/20.

Draft Zoning Text Amendment for Accessory Buildings:

Georgette Cole explained how this change presents a way to solve the practical difficulty relief problem that currently exists in the RR-2 zone. The Commission discussed the following:

  • Current setback requirements for an accessory building in the RR-2 zone
  • Original placement of a shed at 412 4th Avenue
  • Enforcement issues
  • Zoning Text Amendment process
  • Allowing the HPC adequate time for comment
  • Practical Difficulty in the Variance process
  • Relaxing the front setbacks for an accessory building in the RR-2 zone
  • Adjusting the front setback requirements as needed if the back can’t be met
  • Possible loopholes resulting in the use of “other characteristics”
  • Other properties where non-compliant accessory buildings exist
  • Filing the document with amendments to the Council.

Action: Include this item on the October agenda of the Planning Commission.

Establish PC Meeting Process to Consider Accessory Dwelling Units for Inclusion: This topic was covered under #10.

Revision of Application for Public Ways & Property Permit:

Georgette Cole presented a document with the changes which came from Forestry & Beautification, Historic Preservation Commission, and the Planning Commission. After some discussion, it was decided this permit should apply to work on walkways as well. This permit will be treated the same as a building permit application in terms of the Notice To Neighbors requirement as well. Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the updates as presented. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.

Demolition of Historic Structures – Discussion:

Chairman Nagrod stated he thinks a joint meeting with the HPC concerning this subject should take place. He will call HPC Chair Bob Booher to discuss this. Mimi Styles reported the Maryland Association of Historic District Commissions is a good resource. The Commission discussed using the Montgomery County rules as a good starting point.

Other Business:

414 Brown Street – Needs a permit for the porch added to the front of the home. Peter will talk with the property owner.

412 4th Avenue – Needs a permit for the shed already placed on the property. This will be monitored.

3 Ridge Road – Needs a Public Ways and Property Permit for the new concrete driveway apron. Georgette will talk with the property owners.

106 Ridge Road – Needs a permit for the new ramp and porch structure. Peter will talk to the property owners.

There was a brief discussion about enforcement.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:50PM.

Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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