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Next meeting: Tuesday, October 15, 2019; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.

National Register Update…

Continued Progress on the Updated & Expanded National Register Historic District Nomination
In last month’s Town Bulletin we let you know that the latest (and nearly final) draft of the updated and expanded National Register of Historic Places Washington Grove Historic District nomination is now available on the Town website. Since then the HPC has continued to work closely with our consultants (Robinson and Associates) as well as with the Maryland Historic Trust (the state agency that assists and encourages efforts to preserve Maryland’s historical and cultural heritage). We now have further progress to report.

The Maryland Historic Trust has recently finished their review of the draft nomination. Most importantly, they have approved nearly all of the proposed expansions (i.e. areas not included in the original 1980 Historic District, some of which are not within the Town’s boundaries). The two expansions not approved contained residences of comparatively recent construction, including eight houses at the far eastern end of Brown Street as well as a group of four houses located on the eastern side of Ridge Road, opposite its intersection with Center Street. The approved expansions include: Ridge Road’s eastern extension; the Conservation Meadow; the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad corridor, including the Humpback Bridge (already independently listed on the National Register); portions of the Oakmont Subdivision (including Hershey’s and two other buildings); the Commercial Corner; and three houses on the western side of Washington Grove Lane. Before any of these areas can be incorporated into the Historic District, however, a majority of the property owners within each one must first provide written consent to their inclusion. To this end, the Maryland Historic Trust has sent a letter to each property owner explaining the meaning and benefits of listing on the National Register as well as the process for either consenting or objecting. In the event that a majority of property owners within any of the expanded areas object to being included in the Historic District, the boundaries of the updated Historic District will be revised accordingly.

A few more steps remain until the new version of the Historic District is officially listed on the National Register. Next, a group of historic preservation specialists known as “the Governor’s Consulting Committee” will review and most likely approve the nomination at their bi-annual meeting on October 15. Because some of the proposed expanded areas overlap properties under the jurisdiction of Gaithersburg and Montgomery County, their Historic Commissions will also be given an opportunity for review. Following any requested revisions, the nomination will be sent to the National Park Service (home of the National Register of Historic Places) for a final review that must be completed within 45 days. Based on prior experience with the process and because of their support of our nomination, the Maryland Historic Trust is predicting that the proposed updated and expanded Historic District will finally be approved and listed in early 2020. The HPC will continue to provide updates as the nomination works its way through the system.

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