15 November 2016 | Approved: 20 December 2016
Members Present: Bob Booher, Wendy Harris, Gail Littlefield and Mimi Styles, along with Georgette Cole, Town Council Liaison, and Cynthia Werts, Town resident. Michele Potter, a Board member from the Maryland Municipal League, was present for a brief time to take a photo of herself with the members of the HP Commission. November is MML month and their Board members are required to visit other municipalities and show evidence of their attendance by submitting a “selfie”. Mayor McCathran was present at the meeting and was included in the photograph. In addition, Bruce Crise, a Town resident, attended the meeting. The meeting was then called to order at 7:50 pm by Chair, Bob Booher.
Approval of Agenda:
The agenda was reviewed and approved with one additional item for discussion.
Adoption of Minutes:
The draft minutes from the meeting of October 18, 2016, were reviewed with two corrections. Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to approve the minutes, as amended. The motion carried unanimously.
There were no new projects for discussion.
Mayor McCathran was present to thank the HPC for the outstanding job that was done in preparing documentation of Exhibit C to the Deed of Easement (Historic Integrity Features Description) pertaining to the existing front porch at 409 5th Avenue. The package that the Commission presented to the Town Council was very thorough and precise, and, the Council appreciated their suggestions regarding the Resolution Granting a Permanent Easement and the Deed of Easement Agreement. However, the Mayor informed the Commission that it was not the HPC’s responsibility to make changes to the language in these legal documents. The Town Council passed the Resolution at the November meeting and it will take effect in 30 days.
Archives – Monthly Report:
The Commission reviewed an update received from Pat Patula on the progress of archival work done in September 2016:
- Records Management Plan: Progress is being made, however, somewhat slow. Work is still being done with the State Archives to finalize revisions. Marilynn Frey, the Town’s Records Management Officer, and Town Clerk Kathy Lehman have been a tremendous help in providing the necessary guidance and answers to the many questions on the inventories.
- Prisoner of War Pillars: No additional information has been received on this project. The pillars are located at the historic site where Camp Gaithersburg was located during World War II.
- Town Bulletin: Pat and Wendy continue to prepare articles for the series devoted to Washington Grove’s earliest days based on historical newspaper articles and original records in the Grove’s archives.
- Administrative Work: Documents are still being scanned as needed. The State Archives has requested us to include our indexing system on the Plan itself in addition to referencing it on the inventory sheets.
Gail questioned as to whether the Town had purchased a new scanner. It was a budgeted item under supplies and archival equipment for FY2016, however, it appears that the old scanner is still being used. Gail will email Pat to get an update on this purchase. Gail also suggested that there should be some type of cross-reference system in place for making all the house history files and materials, including easement reports, more accessible to those parties interested in the doing research on the Town’s historic houses.
Pat has prepared the next article, “Romance and Religion, Part Two” which will appear in the December Town bulletin. Part One of this series was published in the November issue.
The Commission continued the discussion of HP design guidelines from surrounding jurisdictions that have architectural similarities to Washington Grove. Bob had previously distributed material from other historical communities on their construction and preservation rules. One example of guidelines for review is Martha’s Vineyard. Commission members will review this material and have further discussion on the topic at next month’s meeting.
Town Council Report:
Georgette gave a report on issues discussed at the November TC meeting. An update was given on Ordinance 2016-10 to allow charitable, religious or educational institutions in the Commercial Zone. A public hearing was held on November 14th to take public comment on the proposed zoning text amendment. All prospective tenants will need to conform to the current hours of operation, with no activity occurring after 9:00 pm.
As Mayor McCathran commented earlier in the meeting, the Town Council passed the O’Connor’s Easement Resolution. Georgette also reported that John McClelland brought up the idea of asking the Historic Preservation Commission to complete the easement reviews for all eligible properties in order to be prepared for other applications for permanent easement. The Mayor and Council thought this was a good idea.
Planning Commission Report:
Mimi was present for the November meeting. She updated the HPC on issues discussed. One item of interest to the HPC is that the property located at #15 The Circle (George Paine) is scheduled to go on the market in the spring of 2017.
Susan Van Nostrand was present at the meeting on behalf the family and she advised the PC that due to the deterioration of the new addition built in the 60’s, the family intends to have it removed and possibly build some type of deck in its place. Because the addition will be torn down, a demolition permit will be required. They were also advised to come to the HPC for advice on new plans.
An update was given on the Cator property development, as well. The HPC still has several concerns on how the conditions of the annexation agreement between the Town of Washington Grove and the prospective property owners will be enforced. Bob will contact PC Chair, Peter Nagrod, to discuss these concerns.
Wendy Harris is scheduled to attend the next PC meeting in December.
Clare Kelly Presentation:
The event was well received with approximately 40 people in attendance. A $200.00 honorarium was given to Clare at the end of the presentation. A signed copy of her book, Montgomery Modern, was purchased for the HPC and it will be kept in the Council chambers for reference.
As Town Council Liaison, Georgette was asked to approach the HPC on the subject of permanent easements for houses constructed in part on land owned by the Town. To date, the HPC has prepared documentation on the historic integrity features description for three of the eight properties that apply (203 2nd Ave., 409 5th Ave. and 315 Grove Ave.). The PC has suggested to the TC that it would be very beneficial to have the HPC prepare documentation for the other five houses for future reference. The following properties would apply: #1 Circle, #2 Circle, #13 Circle, #15 Circle and #17 Circle. The Commission has agreed to put this project on a future agenda for further discussion.
With no other business to discuss, Mimi made a motion, seconded by Gail, to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 pm.
Minutes prepared and submitted by: