3 April 2019 | Approved: 1 May 2019
Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Georgette Cole, Dave Hix, and Deb Mehlferber. Also present were business owner’s Sam and Cynthia Fosu and resident John McClelland.
Approval of Agenda:
Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Dave Hix seconded the motion. The Committee added 5G Small Cell Towers, status report on the steps at 203 2nd Avenue, 6 The Circle survey, and 409 5th Avenue status to the agenda. Approved: 5-0, as amended.
Business License Request – Tag & Title at 11 Brown Street:
Sam Fosu, representing Bertmund Automotive Management, LLC, presented a list of services his company will provide and stated his hours would be 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and would average 2 – 4 patrons arriving at the same time. The Commission discussed the following:
- Proposed business would be an allowable use per Town Ordinances
- Application and materials are in order
- Actual space for this business (Currently being used by an Artist)
The Commission agreed this seemed like a reasonable use for the space. Charlie Challstrom moved the Planning Commission confirm compliance with Town Ordinances. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
In reference to the recent Board of Zoning Appeals decision to allow a church to do business in 105 Washington Grove Lane, John McClelland inquired about Article VII, Section 11.4 Appeal from Decisions of Board. He asked if his only recourse to appealing a BZA decision was a legal one. Charlie Challstrom explained the Town process. Bottom Line: If John feels the new business is creating a nuisance, he should file a complaint. The Mayor can be asked to take action on a violation of the business license. There was additional discussion about disseminating incorrect information under oath and about conditions of the approval.
Building Permit Applications:
125 Grove Avenue – Upon review, Dave Hix concluded no Town permit was needed for the proposed ordinary maintenance and repair of foundation and porch at this property. However, a County permit may be required. The Commission agreed and will allow any available PC member to sign the County permit when submitted.
Approval of Minutes:
Georgette Cole moved to approve the March minutes. Dave Hix seconded the motion. A few minor amendments were made. Approved: 5-0, as amended.
Review of Development Capacity Analysis:
Charlie Challstrom explained after the Commission reviews this document, it will be sent to the State. He updated the sections on In-fill Development, Re-development of land parcels, and finances. There was a discussion about Ridge Road wells and Georgette Cole concluded this water item should be included in the Master Plan Work Session.
Planning Commission Annual Report to Maryland:
The Commission reviewed the document. Chairman Nagrod signed it and Charlie will take it to the Town Council for approval.
Report from Town Council:
Charlie Challstrom reported the following:
Ordinance 2019-01 enacted — adopting amendments to Article VII Zoning to delete definitions for “Repair” and “Ordinary Repairs” and add a definition of “Ordinary Maintenance and Repairs”
Ordinance 2019-02 enacted — adopting amendments to Article IV Building Permit Regulations to modify requirements for building permits.
Ordinance 2019-04 introduced – to permit deer management hunting with conditions. Some features of the proposed ordinance are: a resolution authorizing each session must be adopted by the Town Council; the bow hunting sessions may be authorized only within the East Woods and West Woods properties, and may, with appropriate consultation with and concurrence from M NCPPC, be conducted in the Conservation Meadow; the Town-authorized deer bow hunting will be limited to a Town-selected established group, or groups, of State-licensed and State-qualified bow hunters, and must be conducted in accordance with all applicable State and County rules and regulations; and when possible, deer meat harvested during bow hunting sessions will be donated to food banks, food pantries, and/or soup kitchens to feed the hungry. The public hearing for the proposed Town ordinance is scheduled for Monday, April 8, 2019.
Speed Hump Discussion — Mayor Compton reported feedback about the speed hump installed on Grove Road indicates the speed hump is effective in slowing people down. It was suggested the Town consider using this new-style speed hump to replace an asphalt speed hump on Ridge Road. The Mayor and Council also talked about installing this new style speed hump on Chestnut Road. I repeated my concerns for safety and Town liability associated with the non standard speed bumps currently installed at stop signs on Chestnut Road.
Leaf Collection and Disposal Contract – After opening and comparing three competitive bids, the Council voted to award a 1-year contract to the current contractor, Green Earth, with the option for up to 4 additional years on this contract.
Ordinance 2019-03 discussed – to authorize sale of Town land under 315 Grove Ave to Jane Seegal. Discussion included: marketability of a home with a covenant providing for reversion, striking the reversion provision in Section E.4, modifying Section E.4 to include a requirement for the Town to follow a process before pursuing reversion, and the PC proposal for Sections E.2 and E.3. Recall the PC proposed to reword Section E.2 to read “The conveyed land may not be used to meet minimum building lot square footage requirements, percentage of lot coverage requirements, or set back requirements” and to delete Section E.3. An email message from Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson confirmed the earlier language for these two sections did not originate from her. The earlier language originated with John McClelland and conflicted with lot line adjustments required to reflect the transfer. Mayor Compton will further consult with Suellen regarding reversion of ownership, and the Council will revisit Ordinance 2019-03 at the Council meeting on April 8.
Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) – Mayor Compton announced the BZA approved the special exception use of 105 Washington Grove Lane as a church for Movimiento Pentecostal Rios de Agua Viva, Inc. We are waiting for the BZA opinion document to confirm the rationale and conditions associated with this approval.
Small Cells Coming – Prompted by a report for the March 11 Council meeting and follow-up discussions with other municipalities, I’ve learned of progress by local governments regarding preparations for small cell installations. I’ve reviewed ordinances online and from the Maryland Municipal League, some prepared by our Town Attorney Suellen Ferguson to assist other municipalities. Suellen assisted Washington Grove with our “Public Ways and Property” permit, and I’m speculating this PW&P permit process might be appropriate when considering small cell installations. Federal and State actions may preempt local government permitting authority, perhaps leaving only aesthetic standards for local control. I’ve asked Mayor Compton to request legal advice from Suellen regarding: 1) deadlines, if any, for establishing standards to fit the small cell equipment into the character of the community; and 2) how to incorporate a set of aesthetic standards as criteria for approval of an application for our PW&P permit.
Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update:
Georgette Cole reported the work sessions are going well. Meetings have been scheduled for the remainder of the year excluding the months of June and December.
Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:
Nothing to report.
203 2nd Avenue – Georgette Cole reported nothing has been done to fix the non-compliant steps at this property. She showed photos as they exist now and expressed concern that nothing had been done to correct the violation. The Commission discussed best practice reminder strategies and concluded a letter should be written by the Mayor asking for compliance. Charlie Challstrom moved that the Planning Commission recommend the Mayor and Town Council take enforcement action to correct the steps at 203 2nd Avenue. Dave Hix seconded the motion. Approval: 5-0.
6 The Circle Survey – Charlie Challstrom referenced a location drawing prepared by Snyder and Associates dated 28 January 2019. It shows encroachment of the house (6 The Circle) on Eva Polston’s property (203 2nd Avenue). Eva has asked the new property owner of 6 The Circle to settle the encroachment. There are several options available to settle this, however, it is a matter between property owners.
409 5th Avenue – Status – Charlie Challstrom explained the O’Connor’s request to purchase Town land under their porch was received in January 2019. He went on to say the Town government is focusing on the completion of the request from 315 Grove Avenue and then will work on the O’Connor’s request. There was a discussion about the process and next steps. In order to keep things moving forward, the Historic Preservation Commission will work on their part of the response. The Planning Commission will continue to monitor the progress of the 315 Grove request and use it as a template.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:25 PM.
Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk