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4 June 2008 | Approved: 2 July 2008

Chairman McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:45 p.m. after a quorum was achieved. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom and Peggy Ebner. Also in attendance were Town residents Bruce Crise, Reggi Norton, Tom Appleby, and Steve Werts.

Building Permits

The following permits were reviewed by the Planning Commission (PC):

  • 208 Chestnut Ave – A 6-foot fence was approved unanimously as per Article VII, Section 3.328. This fence will replace the current fence along the Hickory Road side of the property, and also along the boundary with 10 Center Street as needed. The replacement fence would be set back from Hickory Road at least 7 feet. For the property boundary adjacent to 10 Center Street, Bruce plans to install a drainage swale to replace the crushed plastic pipe.
  • 118 Chestnut Ave – An accessory building (garage and workshop) was approved unanimously as per Article VII, Section 9. During this review, a problem was noted in the Town’s Zoning Ordinance with regard to inconsistency between the definition of “Story, half” in Article VII, Section 4, and the Schedule of Standards for Accessory Building in Section 9. With the definition of “Story, half”, it would appear that attic space above an enclosed ceiling could be considered as a half story. The PC concluded that it was intended that an accessory building could have such attic space. To correct this apparent inconsistency, the PC will recommend that the next zoning text amendment include modification to specify the maximum height of an accessory building to be 1.5 stories.
  • 118 Chestnut Ave – A 4-foot fence was approved unanimously as per Article VII, Section 3.328. This fence will replace a current non-complying 6-foot fence along Hickory Road. It was noted that information in the building permits file for this property indicates that the 6-foot fence was constructed in 1973 after owners got a permit from Montgomery County, but without a permit from the Town. Property owner, Reggi Norton, stated that a 4-foot fence would be adequate for screening in conjunction with the previously approved garage.
  • 112 Chestnut Ave – Tom Appleby presented his lastest information for a proposed home on one of his parcels (Block 1–Lots 11, 11A, 12 & 13) which has a total area of 31,075 square feet. During this review the PC noted: the proposed location exceeds the minimum front setback from Chestnut Ave, the proposed home would meet standards for maximum ground covered, and the height of the new home would be less than 30 feet. Tom reported that the Historic Preservation Commission had requested a porch on the side facing Chestnut Ave, but Tom does not plan to have such a porch and plans to add shutters instead. This was a preliminary review as all the information was not complete to allow the PC to approve the building permit.
  • 10 Maple Ave – A tree house was approved unanimously as per Article VII, Section 9. Plans submitted indicate a location between the home and an existing accessory building. Applicants will be advised that this tree house also requires a building permit from Montgomery County.

Master Plan Update

The PC unanimously approved the proposed edits to the Master Plan Third Draft as documented in the May 21, 2008 memo from Commissioner Challstrom, and designated the resulting version as the “Planning Commission Recommended Master Plan” for posting to the Town’s website. The PC set the date for the public hearing as Wednesday, September 3, 2008. After the update is posted to the Town’s website, the required notices of the public hearing will be sent to State, County, and Gaithersburg offices. Growth element consultation with also be scheduled with County planning staff.

104 Maple Road

The PC received an update on the situation at this home where excessive numbers of people and cars have been reported. Chairman McClelland indicated that he had begun documenting the situation with photos. Commissioner Challstrom offered to contact the Code Enforcement Manager for the City of College Park to seek a sample citation of municipal infraction which could save the Town significant time and legal expense.

Building Permits: Repair vs. Replacement

The PC noted that recent discussions of fences indicate a need to better understand how to distinguish fence repair from replacement. Documentation in the building permit files is critical to evaluating the situation. Examples of guidance and ordinances from other jurisdictions will be explored.

Fence Height for Pipe Stem Lots

The PC discussed the potential for 6-foot fences along both sides of a driveway on a pipe stem lot, for example at 344 Ridge Road. Options were briefly considered, e.g. a zoning text amendment to require minimum setback of tall fences from public rights of way to be consistent with setback requirements for accessory buildings/structures. This discussion will continue at a later meeting.

Operational Procedures

Compliance Officer – Chairman McClelland will contact Larry Plummer to initiate inspection associated with the building permit issued for the home addition at 501 Brown Street.

Report From Town Council

Commissioner Challstrom reported the Town has received a letter from Montgomery County regarding the Deer Park Bridge and safety concerns. Also lots of recent discussion/emails about changing plans for the Casey 6 and 7 properties near Town, and about the Piedmont Crossing/Toll Brothers responsibilities to ensure continued water supply for homes in Town along Ridge Road.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

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