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5 August 2015 | Approved: 2 September 2015

Chairman Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were commissioners Brenda Gumula, David Hix, John McClelland, Deborah Mehlferber, and Steve Werts. Others in attendance were Councilor Georgette Cole, Historic Preservation Commission member David Stopak, Mayor Joli McCathran and residents Linda Baim, Charlie Challstrom, Ralph Hurst, John Hutchinson, Maggie Range, Bruce Rothrock and Jane Seegal.

Approval of Agenda

John McClelland moved to approve the agenda. Brenda Gumula seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Public Appearances

Ralph Hurst came to give an update on the 203 2nd Avenue project. The digging for the basement has begun. It will be four (4) feet below grade and two (2) feet out of the ground. A basement will be under the entire home. After lots of discussion, Ralph was asked to get a good-faith timeline for the project from the contractor. There was also a discussion about the Public Ways and Property Permit for this project including the following:

  • The 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM work time M – S and working on Sundays
  • Stop Work orders
  • County laws and enforcement
  • Original reasons for the conditions (large equipment in a small area, closeness)
  • Clarity: No large vehicles on the avenues during the off-times

Approval of the Minutes

Brenda Gumula moved to approve the July minutes. Steve Werts seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications

  • 102 Center St. – David Hix moved to approve a building permit application for a non-walled, open carport attached to the shed at 102 Center Street. Steve Werts seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
  • 118 Chestnut Ave. – John McClelland moved to approve a building permit application for a new split rail fence at 118 Chestnut Avenue. Steve Werts seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Block 11 Survey of Residual Town Land – Discussion

Chairman Nagrod acknowledged the many complications concerning the area. The subject of a land swap came up. A discussion about the recent survey of residual land in Block 11, the current Sale of Surplus Policy requirements and equal access to #6 The Circle, #8 the Circle and 203 2nd Avenue ensued. There was additional discussion about the following:

  • Unpermitted structures at #8 The Circle built on Town land
  • The process for doing an ordinance (must be site specific) to allow 6 foot high fences
  • Assigning a value to the residual Town land
  • Selling surplus parcels
  • Cost of re-doing the plats
  • Potential land swaps

The residents will meet on their own and then ask for a worksession with Charlie Challstrom and Steve Werts at another time. This item will be on the agenda for the September meeting.

Brenda Gumula moved that two (2) Commission members (John McClelland and Peter Nagrod) meet to discuss solutions to the problems with the residual Town land in Block 11 and present it at the next Planning Commission meeting. David Hix seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

House Files – Status Report

Brenda Gumula reported the resignation of Freda Temple. Deb Mehlferber has joined in her place. Four (4) more homes were completed in July and the group continues to work on the project. There was a discussion about creating a database using Excel or Access. David Hix volunteered to help with this.

Permanent Easements for Main Buildings on Town Land

409 5th Avenue – metes and bounds requirement – discussion – Mayor McCathran reported Town attorney Suellen Ferguson has been briefed on the issue of the problem language (“competent person”) in the metes and bounds requirement in the Permanent Easement agreement. Ms. Ferguson recommends removing “competent person” and replacing it with “qualified surveyor”.

Report from Town Council

John McClelland reported the following:

  • A Task Force for Vacant Properties has been formed. The Mayor will create a charge for this group soon.
  • He also reported the caved-in roof at 409 6th Avenue has been reported to Montgomery County Housing Code Enforcement. This information was seen on the County website.
  • Peter Nagrod and Steve Werts attended a meeting with County and other Town officials about the Shared Use Bike Path connecting the Town to Crabbs Branch Way.
  • Excessive speed was brought up in a Public Appearance at the last Council meeting.

Other Business

  • 344 Ridge Road driveway – The sale of 800 square feet from 342 Ridge to 344 Ridge has made 342 Ridge non-compliant. A driveway easement would be a good solution to this problem.
  • Shared Use Bike Path – Peter Nagrod reported much confusion and misinformation about this project. He expressed his opinion that the Planning Commission should have some options to present to the Town when the time comes. He said the Town should speak with one (1) voice. The Commission discussed the many players involved in this project, the timeline (many years away), the County Capital Improvements Plan, lack of funding for the project, lack of a sidewalk on Oakmont Avenue and other associated issues. This discussion resulted in the clear understanding the Town must stay in communication with the County in a proactive way.
  • Charlie Challstrom brought up the new Warren Wright development on Central Avenue. He expressed the opinion the Town should support this R-200 zoned plan.
  • Brenda Gumula will be the PC representative on the Task Force for Vacant Properties and Peter Nagrod will continue to participate in the Shared Use Bike Path discussions.

At this time, Chairman Nagrod took a moment to acknowledge Charlie Challstrom’s leadership and untiring efforts during his time on the Planning Commission. The Commission thanked Charlie as well.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:28 p.m.

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