16 May 2017 | Approved: 20 June 2017
Members Present: Bob Booher, Wendy Harris, Gail Littlefield, David Stopak and Mimi Styles, along with Mayor Joli McCathran, Pat Klein, Joan Mahaffey Georgette Cole and Audrey Maskery. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.
Approval of Agenda:
The agenda was reviewed and approved, as amended.
Adoption of Minutes:
The draft minutes from the meeting of April 16, 2017, were approved unanimously.
- 205 Washington Grove Lane (Maskery): Construction of an open single-vehicle carport was formally reviewed.
- 125 Grove Ave (Chandler): Construction of a breakfast room and covered porch at the back of the house was formally reviewed
Location of possible Dog Park
The Mayor, Joli McCathran, and the Co-chairs of the Woods Committee, Pat Klein and Joan Mahaffey, came to discuss the locations of a possible Dog Park that had been proposed by the Planning Commission, raising concerns specifically for its possible location in the East Woods. The Mayor and the Co-chairs asked for guidance as to this usage and whether it would be consistent with the historic significance and past uses traditionally assigned to the Town’s forests. The Mayor was concerned in particular that approval of a dog park might open the woods for other active uses, rather than the passive recreational uses that are currently prevalent. The Woods Committee was concerned primarily with the severe degradation of the East Woods and the effect of a dog park running counter to their efforts to preserve and restore the forest.
The HPC Chair, Bob Booher, later summarized the view of the HPC in a public letter sent to the Mayor (see attached “Chairman’s letter to the Mayor regarding Dog Park”). In brief, the HPC analysis was that general uses and attitudes towards the woods have changed, so that no historically consistent usage can be singled out. Maintaining the good health of the forests and the restoration of the East Woods is consistent with the history of the Town and the great value it has placed on trees, the forests, and nature generally. However, without a specific plan with which to gauge the impact of a dog park, it was impossible to make a determination in the abstract about this particular usage.
Expansion of National Register nomination:
The discussion around preparation of an RFP for update of the National Register revolved around a handout provided by Wendy Harris (see attached document Wendy Harris on National Register Historic District RFP). 4 major tasks were identified that the updated nomination should accomplish.
- Create a building-by-building inventory of contributing and non-contributing structures that would also involve the expansion and reassessment of the periods of significance, and to include the new fifty-year threshold (up to 1968).
- Include more fully the elements of the streetscape, not only the radial-centric layout and alternating system of roads and walkways, but also Ridge Rd. as a rural road and the evolution of the existing landscape.
- Address more fully the significance of the East and West Woods to the cultural landscape, along with Maple Lake and Whetstone Spring, the parks and open spaces, as contributing elements of historic relevance to the community.
- Extend the boundaries of the Historic District to newly annexed areas and amplifying the historic significance of areas that are included in the historic district, but were not emphasized, such as Washington Grove Lane.
It was agreed that since the fourth task was probably the most complex and challenging, it should be scheduled for the second year. The documentation and updated definition of the historic district addressed in the other tasks will shape the approach to the extension of WG’s boundaries and should help make that effort successful.
Gail Littlefield gave an update on her continued research on wooden signs. She brought samples with reflective, adhesive letters that appeared like they could provide a good solution. She will get estimates for production of wood and MDO to be fashioned 16 pieces at a time.
Because of the Town’s historical status, it is exempt from the design specifications provided by the Federal Highway Administration; therefore, the continued use of wooden signs would be allowed. According to Gail’s research, Washington Grove is the only town in MD that continues to use wooden signs.
However, it is very important that the Town achieve balance with historicity and safety improvements recommended by the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service and subsequently by the Washington Grove Emergency Preparedness Task Force. Gail will consult further with the Fire Dept. as to where reflective signs are most needed and to follow-up with the WG Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Easement for 15 The Circle
Mimi Styles and Gail Littlefield began some of the necessary background work to develop the HPC documentation for the easement at 15 The Circle. Mimi took current photos and will ask Taunton Payne for some of his pictures, some of them historic. Mimi and Gail made measurements, noting some idiosyncrasies. They hope to continue to make progress and have a full report by July/August.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 pm.
Minutes prepared and submitted by: David Stopak