4 September 2019 | Approved: 2 October 2019
Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Jon Cohen, Georgette Cole, and Robert Johnson (Alternate). Also present were Jonathan Dail, Gail Littlefield, Ken Stricklett, and Ted Yachup.
Approval of Agenda:
Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Robert Johnson seconded the motion. The Commission agreed to take a quick look at plans for 412 4th Avenue.
Building Permit Applications:
On Deb Mehlferber’s behalf, Georgette Cole reported about the following applications for fences:
119 Grove Avenue – The posts for this fence will be inside the property line. There was a discussion about scalloped and/or slanted transition pieces for the last section that sits perpendicular to Grove Road. Deb Mehlferber recommended approval of this fence. Georgette Cole moved to approve the proposed fence at 119 Grove Avenue with the condition that the fence must be scalloped or slanted from 6 feet to 4 feet if it is erected within 7 feet of the street line, per Article VII Section 3.327. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
Fences at 203 & 205 Washington Grove Lane – Deb Mehlferber recommended approval of the fences. Georgette Cole moved to approve fences at 203 & 205 Washington Grove Lane as presented. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
215 Washington Grove Lane – This application is for a fence relocation. Georgette explained the plan. Charlie Challstrom reminded the Commission about the existence of stakes in the ground and monuments close by. Georgette Cole moved to approve the fence relocation at 215 Washington Grove Lane as presented. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
112 Grove Avenue – The Commission reviewed the proposed fence. Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the replacement fencing at 112 Grove Avenue. Jon Cohen seconded the motion.
Approved: 5-0, as presented.
118 Grove Avenue – The Commission reviewed the proposed new-style fencing. John Cohen moved to approve the fencing. Georgette Cole seconded the motion.
Approved: 5-0, as presented.
213 Washington Grove Lane – Resident Ken Stricklett explained the problem with the failing block wall on the front his garage. He needs to do footer work and with that, comes the need for a Montgomery County permit and inspection. Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the plan for maintenance and repair of the front garage wall at 213 Washington Grove Lane. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Chairman Nagrod expressed his concern with the Town stamping and approving a permit application for work the Town does not inspect or control. There was a discussion about precedent setting actions. Approved: 5-0, as presented.
203 Second Avenue – Property owner Eva Polston is waiting for neighbor Jane Seegal (315 Grove Ave.) to apply for the demolition of her shed before taking further action for her own demolition.
211 Maple Avenue – Charlie Challstrom reported although the definition of a dormer and a ½ story are still in flux, the proposed project matches the Town’s current definitions and he recommends approval of this plan. Charlie Challstrom moved to approve the garage renovation as presented on the plans with the revision date of July 15, 2019. Peter Nagrod seconded the motion.
Approved: 5-0, as presented.
There were none.
Approval of Minutes:
The minutes were not completed in time for the meeting. They will be up for approval at the October meeting.
Zoning Text Amendment (Ord. 2019-10) to Delete the Definition of Dormer and to Modify Minimum Lot Size Standards for the RR-3 Zone – Status:
Charlie Challstrom suggested rather than moving ahead with this ordinance, it should be kept on file until residents ask for this action. He also thought it would be very productive to work on this with the Historic Preservation Commission at an up-coming joint work session.
Draft Zoning Text Amendment for Half Story Definition:
The Commission decided to work on this with the HPC at the up-coming joint work session. Gail Littlefield will bring up the joint meeting at the next HPC meeting.
Draft Ordinance for Sale of Town Property Adjacent to #8 The Circle:
A request has been made by Maggie Range to purchase a portion of the rear alley abutting her property at 8 The Circle. The Commission reviewed a map of the land in question. The current condition with the steps is unsafe. The Historic Preservation Commission stated there were no historic issues generated by the potential sale and authorized the Chair to compose an official recommendation letter of approval and send it to the Mayor. There was additional discussion about this complicated block. Georgette Cole would oppose any measure that would take away alley access to #6 The Circle. Chairman Nagrod will write a letter of recommendation in support of this action.
Public Ways and Property Permit Application for WSSC Work on Grove and Ridge:
The Commission reviewed and discussed the WSSC project. There is great concern about the possibility of losing large trees. It was agreed a better understanding of the location of the laterals was necessary and another meeting with all involved parties be scheduled.
Draft Article III Amendment for Public Ways and Property Permit:
The Commission discussed the need for this action and how it could serve as a driveway or apron permit. Most people cross Town land when traversing their driveways. The proposed action removes a sentence that places no restrictions on the construction of parking pads, driveways, etc. If approved, residents would now be required to obtain a PW & PP for this type of work. The PC will need to create standards for driveways and aprons. Charlie Challstrom moved to support the proposed amendment to Article III. Robert Johnson seconded the motion. Approved: 5-0.
Report from Town Council:
Charlie Challstrom reported the following:
Sales of Town Property – The Council enacted Ordinance 2019-03 authorizing the sale of land occupied by Jane Seegal’s front porch at 315 Grove Ave. The Council enacted Ordinance 2019 12 authorizing the sale of land occupied by a portion of Bud and Carolyn O’Connor’s front porch at 409 Fifth Ave. Draft deeds have been prepared and submitted to the Town Attorney for her review.
Deer Management – The Council adopted Resolution 2019-11 authorizing deer management bow hunting sessions for the East Woods and West Woods, limited to a Town-selected volunteer group of State-licensed and State-qualified bow hunters. The bow hunting sessions will be in accordance with the Maryland Hunting Regulations for the 2019-2020 White-Tailed Deer Archery Season. Where possible, deer harvested during these bow hunting sessions will be processed and the meat donated to food banks, food pantries, and/or soup kitchens to feed the hungry.
WSSC Sewer Line Refurbishment – WSSC is coordinating with the Town to plan sewer line relining and replacement along portions of Ridge Road and Grove Avenue. Teams of WSSC and Town representatives have examined detailed tree care plans along these public ways to evaluate proposed trimming, root pruning, and tree removals to ensure compliance with Maryland’s Roadside Tree Care Law. WSSC is required to consider alternative repair and construction methods that avoid open trenching and tree removals. This sewer line refurbishment project proposes to include replacement of older cast iron lateral lines that connect individual homes with the WSSC sewer line. Locating those lateral lines is a problem yet to be solved; a Miss Utility representative told the Town they cannot locate the sewer laterals on Grove Avenue. Property boundary corners have been flagged where possible to assist with the assessment of the tree care plans and alternatives.
Speed Humps and Bumps – In July, the Council approved purchase and installation of a table top speed hump at Grove Road and Oak Street. The existing Grove Road speed hump will be moved to another location. The non-standard speed bumps on Chestnut Road (currently at stop signs) will be removed when a speed hump is installed on Chestnut Road. At the August 12 Council meeting, it was decided that Councilor Anderson will review further options and discuss with Mayor Compton before purchase of the table top speed hump for Grove Road and Oak Street.
Resolution 2019-13 – This resolution entitled “Resolution Providing for Proper Governance of Washington Grove Committees” was introduced and discussed. This resolution proposes a new scheme for Washington Grove committees, including conditions for recognition and receipt of funding, adoption of by-laws, meeting requirements, membership and voting. Some aspects of this proposed scheme appear contrary to the Town Charter and Town tradition. Other aspects, e.g. voting by email, may be inconsistent with the Maryland Open Meetings Act, if such committee recognition is judged as qualifying a committee to be a public body. In summary, the reactions to
Resolution 2019-13 during the Council Meeting were strongly negative. A follow-up meeting of committee chairs continued discussion of proposed Resolution 2019-13.
Master Plan Work Session – Report & Update:
Georgette Cole reported the last meeting went very well. Considerable work was done on Sections 5 & 6. Section 6.3 comes next.
Washington Grove House Records – Status Report:
Nothing to report.
There was none.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:17 PM.
Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk