19 May 2009 | Approved: 16 June 2009
Chair Bob Booher called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Ed Mroczka, David Neumann, Margot Bohan, and Mimi Styles. Joe Clark, member of the Town Council (TC) and Liaison to the HPC, was also present. Member Neumann agreed to take minutes for the meeting.
Approval of Minutes
The agenda proposed by the Chair was reviewed, modified, and then adopted by the members. Minutes of the regular HPC meeting of April 21, 2009 were approved unanimously subject to certain changes requested by members. The changes will be made by Member Neumann.
Review of Projects
Mr. Tom Land and Mrs. Christine Dibble of 313 Brown St. (The Wooden Shoe) were present for a courtesy review of (i.e., an early consultation on) their plans to renovate their residence. The structure is a contributing structure built ca. 1905/17. It was requested that this be a courtesy review and therefore the HPC at this stage would not write at review for the Planning Commission (PC). The commission members examined elevations and plans drawn by their architect, Mr. Ralph Hurst. The plans called for an overall enlargement of the house with an added bedroom and bathroom. Mr. Land and Mrs. Dibble said they were trying to preserve the original part of the house which is lower than the rear and closest to Brown Street. Members suggested that they look into the idea of applying for the Maryland Historic Preservation Tax Credit which can provide up to 20% of the renovation costs used to preserve the old part of the house. An example of a successful application is available in the Town Archive. Mr. Land and Mrs. Dibble borrowed the copy of that documentation.
Chair Booher thanked Mr. Land and Mrs. Dibble for bringing the project forward to the HPC for the early consultation/courtesy review.
Councilor Clark reported on the status of the on-going Legacy Open Space legal process. He discussed the difficulties in communicating to residents due to the intricacy of the processes and due to the necessity of keeping some aspects closed to the public in the interests of the Town.
There have been discussions at past meetings of how the HPC could communicate to new residents that their new home was a contributing structure in a historic district, and, in general, more about the history of the Town of Washington Grove. We had discussed a cooperative project with the Women’s Club as they distribute a welcome package to new residents. Councilor Clark presented a first draft of a welcoming package using his own home as an example.
Testing of Building Permits
Member Bohan tested the permit process via the Town Web site. She recommended guidelines to aide individuals filling out permit applications. She recommended that definitions that arise in the permit application form go into the Town Bulletin. She also explained that the flow chart did not show the actual timeline for the process. She believes that the HPC and PC should revise and enhance the Information for Applicants for a Building Permit. It was last revised in March of 2005. Further, she explained that you only get the information after you enter the data for your project. She feels that one should be able to click on a link and immediately get the pdf file(s). She believes the step of sending the resident an email with the information is not needed if the resident can simply download the information packages with the forms. It was resolved to revise the forms, and as a first step at the next meeting we would walk through the “Information for Applicants” file. She also pointed out that the HPC material was disconnected from the first pages.
The use of some material from the design guidelines for the HPC column in the next Town Bulletin was discussed.
HPC-Planning Commission(PC) Work Sessions
There will be an HPC-PC work session on May 27 at 7:30 pm in the Town Hall.
Maryland Association of Historic District Commissions (MAHDC)
As a result of our meeting on Sept. 16, 2008 with Susan West Montgomery, the Circuit Rider, Outreach Coordinator of the MAHDC, she wrote a report on the status of the TWG HPC. Copies of the report dated, Dec. 17, 2008, with attachments were made by the Chair were given out to members. The report contains many recommendations to the TWG HPC to modify its processes and expectations and improve its effectiveness and communication with residents. It was resolved that members would read the report and that we would discuss it at our next meeting in June.
Coordination with the Women’s Club
Member Bohan suggested that the Women’s Club (WC) and the HPC cooperate by cosponsoring invitations to speakers for the WC in the area of architecture and preservation. Members were asked to bring some names to the next meeting for member Bohan to suggest to Mrs. Joan Mahaffey, WC liaison to the HPC.
Member Neumann suggested that we modify the design guidelines to address the construction of houses on lots with a significant slope. Specifically to break-up the ridgeline of a house (when it runs parallel to the downhill slope) so that the height of structure on the downhill side is lowered in keeping with the grade of the lot or street. This is most important when the house is near the next neighbor.
There being no further business to come before this meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission, the meeting was duly adjourned at approximately 10:30 pm. The next meeting will be held Tuesday, June 16, 2009, starting at 7:30pm. Ed Mroczka announced after the adjournment that after many years of service, he was stepping down as a member of the Commission.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.