16 April 2008 | Approved: 30 May 2008
HPC members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Mimi Styles, Margot Bohan, Ed Mroczka, David Neumann and David Stopak (Liaison to Town Council). Thomas Appleby (112 Chestnut Avenue owner) was also in attendance. Margot agreed to take minutes for the meeting.
Members spent the first segment of the meeting reviewing the December and March meeting minutes, as well as the minutes for the March Special Meeting re: Commercial Corner buildings. Upon conclusion of this review, Mimi motioned to adopt the minutes with comments, and Margot seconded the motion. The meeting was officially called to order at 8:05pm by the Chair.
The agenda, proposed by the Chair and posted on the outside of the door to the Town Hall Meeting Room, was adopted with several deletions and additions.
Review of Projects
Thomas Appleby came to the meeting to present preliminary building plans for 112 Chestnut Avenue. He didn’t come seeking a review; his intent was to simply give the HPC a preliminary “FYI.” David Stopak offered that the HPC could do a preliminary review on the plans, explaining it may save the Applebys some time in the long run in terms of permit/review requirements. Mr. Appleby said that wouldn’t be necessary. HPC will send Mr. Appleby suggestions for enhancing the preliminary design, i.e., increasing the exterior’s aesthetic appeal on side of the house facing the avenue/walkway. Ed Mroczka will draft words to that effect for Bob Booher to send along to the Applebys. During this early review discussion, Mr. Appleby indicated: a) that he has some doors in his shed that may have come from the Hotel that once was near the current Womens’ Club House; and b) that he did not think his wife, Sylvia, has any photos of the commercial corner or the Odd Fellows Hall.
Also at this month’s meeting, David Stopak submitted an update for the Stopak-Winkler 501 Brown Street addition; the original plan included 2 alternatives. Since this update is actually an amalgamation of the two original alternatives, it was determined to be sufficient to simply craft a paragraph supplement to the existing review. Mimi will review this update and write a paragraph supplement to acknowledge this revision to the original submission.
David Stopak reported out on the following:
- The most recent Town Council meeting discussion focused to a great extent on the Woodward Park regulations that are slated to be passed at the next Town Council meeting.
- The Town’s budget was also passed; and it is anticipated that the tax rate will go down in 2009.
- RE: Piedmont Crossing, the meeting with Toll Brothers in the week before re: landscaping plan was discussed. On Wednesday April 16th, volunteers were to put together the town’s response to Toll Brothers landscaping plan/presentation.
- On April 29th, there will be a hearing re: Casey Field; the request from Toll Brothers as well as Montgomery County Parks and Planning is to stay the trial; the Town of Washington Grove wishes to move on.
- The Town’s Methodist Church environmental group is coordinating (for any interested town members) a tour of houses in the Grove that have undergone pro-environmental renovations and/or environmental assessments. This is scheduled to start at McCathran Hall, May 3rd @ 1pm.
The boulder for the commemorative plaque, which is to be located in Morgan Park, was delivered and put in place last week (04/11/08); additionally, a large amount of gravel was spread. At this commission meeting, a brief discussion ensued re: the aesthetics of the gravel surrounding the commemorative plaque boulder. The HPC decided that all gravel around the boulder that extends beyond 2 feet from the rock would be removed to allow the boulder to be more “approachable” and to convey a less formal appearance. [Town Maintenance will use the gravel to fill in low spots in the town roads.]
With regard to the plaque itself, the HPC intends to submit to the Town Council the recommended dimensions and text for the plaque. Ed Mroczka will provide David Stopak with the details about the plaque make-up and wording so he can present it at the next Town Council meeting. Ed intends to send an electronic version of the text/inscription as well as specific costs and dimensions for plaque.
On a related note, the gentleman who helped Ed and David Neumann at the quarry, Mr. Boudreau, said he would like an invite to the unveiling.
HPC representatives made a suggestion re: the Master Plan former Section 8 (now Section 9) at the recent Planning Commission meeting. The suggestion, particularly the suggestion to specify historic components or neighborhoods within Washington Grove, generated thoughtful discussion. The sitting Planning Commission is opposed to specifying historic neighborhoods so that language, which might have otherwise limited or enabled work on structures there, was removed. Charlie will edit Section 9, taking into consideration comments that were shared. There will also be a town meeting in the near future where comments will also be taken on the master plan.
To keep track of when the next version of the plan will be available for comment, Bob plans to email Charlie to find out details. David Stopak also plans to ask Charlie to keep him abreast of future master plan iterations, including who the changes should be attributed to and the justification for the change/addition. HPC also decided to continue this master plan discussion at our next meeting so that ultimately we may achieve the most balanced integration of issues/concerns/resolutions in the review and editing of the master plan.
The HPC determined that it was in accordance with the award criteria to reach back and acknowledge renovation/addition work that took place within the last two years. After reviewing the prior 2 years of permit reviews, the HPC had a list of candidates. The Andersons’ kitchen bump-out renovation was selected as the winning candidate for this year’s HPC Annual Award. Mimi will prepare the award certificate and order the plaque.
Discussion continued about future award considerations, such as weighing the process by which awardee proceeded. Ed wondered if we could nominate a person and/or incorporate nomination of a person into our award criteria. We decided to table this discussion for now and consider these additions to the criteria at a later date.
MD Historic District Commission Representative Visit
In anticipation of the MD Historic District Commission Representative’s visit during the next HPC meeting, HPC members briefly discussed topics and questions we may have for the representative. We are most interested in learning his/her perspectives on getting community buy-in and on how to approach preservation and promote it in ways to incorporate into our town ordinances and enable real implementation.
Town Meeting Report
In anticipation of the Annual Town Meeting, Bob Booher sent around to all HPC members an electronic copy of last year’s Town Meeting Report. David Neumann agreed to take a stab at this year’s report, using last year’s version as a template. He intends to forward the product to Bob for finalizing. Since Bob and Dave Stopak are both working on a Town Meeting Report and will cover some of the same issues, they discussed the idea of keeping in touch on the subject to ensure each version is complementary versus repetitive.
Zoning Board of Appeals Review
The HPC received a letter/document from the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals concerning the Sanford Property at 115 Chestnut Avenue. The appeal is requesting leniency regarding a town setback. Without leniency, the property owners would be unable to put the house they’ve selected onto their lot.
It is an objective of the town to keep green spaces open and hold strong to setbacks. Based on the information provided in the Sanford Property appeal document, there does not appear to be reason for leniency. The HPC could discern no burden on the owners of the Sanford property due to the setback boundaries. HPC is resolute in opting on the side of fairness and not making decisions based on individual situations, however, the HPC is also interested in preserving the existing town layout. The HPC wishes to express its concern about the precedent that leniency in this case would set. Bob will craft a response to this effect to the Zoning Board of Appeals to say there is no evidence of burden.
[Of note, Saturday, April 26th 11am is the Sanford Property Hearing at McCathran Hall.]
Discussion of Commercial Corner Next Steps & the ICC were tabled until the next meeting due to time constraints.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 p.m.