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5 June 2019 | Approved: 3 July 2019


Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Jon Cohen, Georgette Cole, and Deb Mehlferber. Also present were Wendy Harris, Ralph Hurst, Robert Johnson, Eva Polston, Mike Queen, Mike Schank, Mimi Styles, and Missy & Ted Yachup.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Deb Mehlferber seconded the motion. The Commission moved #7 (203 2nd Avenue Steps) to the #3 (Building Permit Applications) position. Approved: 5-0.

Election of Commission Chairman:

Georgette Cole moved to elect Peter Nagrod as the Commission Chair for another year. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

Building Permit Applications:

  • 107 Grove Avenue – Deb Mehlferber reported a change to the proposed fence at 107 Grove Avenue approved at the May meeting. Residents wish to extend the fence to make a longer run for the dog. The Commission agreed to the approval of the new fence line.
  • 203 2nd Avenue – The Commission reviewed the drawing dated 4/9/18. The resident asked if the proposed fix would put her in compliance. Charlie Challstrom expressed concern that the proposed fix may still be in the easement area. There was a lengthy discussion. Georgette Cole moved to approve the plan with nine (9) inch wood tread overhang. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.

Public Appearances:

  • 211 Maple Avenue – Property owners Ted and Missy Yachup explained the dormer plan for their garage. Architect Ralph Hurst gave additional details; dormer will be 24 feet long with two (2) feet on either side. Charlie Challstrom gave a history of the dormer definition. He also suggested the Commission had been inconsistent with permits that included dormers. There was a discussion about the following:
    • The definition of dormer
    • Where in the ordinances is dormer referenced?
    • Removal of “not to exceed 10 feet”

    Charlie Challstrom moved the Planning Commission initiate the ZTA in order to make changes to the definition of a dormer in the first half of the ordinance. Deb Mehlferber seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.

    Mimi Styles pointed out confusion with 2 ½ story main buildings. It was suggested the Commission make a change using language containing “the upper most floor of a main building or accessory building.”

  • 302 Ridge Road – Discussion of RR-3 Standards – Charlie Challstrom gave a history and background about how the RR-3 came into existence. He also presented drawings of two (2) possibilities for subdivision. The Commission discussed the following:
    • Pros and cons of subdivision
    • Effect on adjacent properties
    • Creative ways to subdivide
    • Forest Conservation laws and possible exemptions
    • Relationship to Master Plan work
    • Preservation of the historic home
    • Restricting to two (2) homes on the property
    • Town input on style of home built
    • Straight Line solution

    At this time, Jon Cohen had to leave the meeting (8:30 p.m.)

Charlie Challstrom moved that the Planning Commission accept changes to, and file, ZTA 2019-10; Ordinance Adopting an Amendment to the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Modify the Definition of Dormer and to Modify the Minimum Lot Line Standards for the RR-3 Zone, Draft 2. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Vote: 4-0. The Commission will forward to the Town Council for introduction and set a public hearing date.

Bob Booher expressed his concern about the lack of opportunity for the HPC to comment on ordinance changes, specifically Zoning Text Amendments. There was a discussion about the Town process and the State Mandate. Bob suggested the HPC should have the opportunity to comment before the ordinance is sent to the Town Council for introduction. Charlie stated HPC comments go to the Town Council, not to the PC. Bob went on to say the 10 foot wide number for the width of a dormer seems arbitrary and he wondered why a dormer was being defined in the first place. Another discussion ensued.

Georgette Cole moved to delete the definition of a dormer from Article VII, Section 4.2 of the Code of Ordinances. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 4-0. There was additional discussion.

Deb Mehlferber moved to file and accept Zoning Text Amendment 2019-10; Ordinance Adopting an Amendment to the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Modify the Definition of Dormer and to Modify the Minimum Lot Line Standards for the RR-3 Zone as amended at this meeting. Modifications include deleting the definition of a dormer and adding additional rationale to Part B in terms of Master Plan relevance. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 4-0.

Approval of Minutes:

Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the May minutes. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 4-0.

203 2nd Avenue – Porch Steps Re-do for Compliance Purposes:

See Building Permit Applications

PC Recommendation re: Sale of Town Land for 409 5th Ave (O’Connor):

Charlie Challstrom distributed a document called “PC Recommendation re: Sale of Town Land for 409 5th Ave (O’Connor).” Charlie reported Exhibit C has been completed with the assistance of Bud O’Connor. Bob Booher reported the HPC will vote on their recommendations at the June meeting. Deb Mehlferber moved to send the PC recommendations to the Mayor and Town Council. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 4-0.

Report from Town Council:

Charlie Challstrom reported the following:

  • On May 20, 2019 the Town Council approved the Mayor’s appointment of Jon Cohen as a full member of the Planning Commission. The 5-year term runs through June 2024. The Alternate position is now open.
  • The Town Council approved and adopted the Montgomery County Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to maintain the Town’s eligibility for pre-and post-disaster mitigation grant funding.

Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update:

Georgette Cole reported the recent work session went well. Section 5 Parks is completed. The next session will take place on July 17, 2019.

Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:

Nothing to report.

Other Business:

Chairman Nagrod made a request to move the July 3rd meeting to July 10th. The Commission agreed.

Charlie Challstrom reported the propane tank at #12 The Circle has been relocated to a more appropriate spot.

Chairman Nagrod took a moment to praise and thank Planning Commission Secretary Kathy Lehman for her impressive work in capturing the details for the meeting minutes.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.

Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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