1 December 2004 | Approved: 5 January 2005
Chairman John McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Darrell Anderson, Peggy Ebner, Bob Evans, John McClelland, Bud O’Connor and alternate Jim Leng. Also in attendance were residents Chuck Kershaw, Sandy Klingenburg, John Tomlin and Karen Lanier. Others in attendance were: Al Ergul, Mel Cakmak, Dale Shore and Linda Liotta.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes for November were approved.
Public Improvement Bonds
Town attorney Bill Roberts has advised that the Town require a cash bond instead of an insurance bond for subdivisions, renovations or new construction requiring a bond of $10,000 or less. For those requiring over $10,000, an insurance bond is still advised.
– The following building permits were discussed and voted on by the Planning Commission:
211 Ridge Road – A covered deck was unanimously approved.
350 Ridge Road – A request for subdivision was unanimously approved contingent on the Planning Commission receiving a signed Public Improvement Agreement from the owner. Mel Cakmak and Al Ergul expressed concern over the “harsh” language used in the Public Improvement Agreement and requested that they only be required to submit a bond for the property being renovated at this time. Chairman McClelland agreed to consult with Bill Roberts on the bond issue and notify the owners of the outcome.
202 Ridge Road – Fence unanimously approved.
103 Brown Street – Chairman McClelland reintroduced the concern that was communicated by the HPC regarding the lack of a permanent internal connection from the existing house to the second story of the proposed garage without which the new garage would be considered a detached structure and subject to the 20 foot height limitation. The Commissioners also required a drawing indicating the height of the proposed structure at each of it’s eight corners. They believe that this information was submitted by Ralph Hurst. The property owner, Chuck Kershaw, stated that they intended to use the upstairs of the structure as a real estate office and it didn’t make sense for customers to have to go in the main structure to get to the office. Chairman McClelland indicated that there could be both internal and external access. Mr. Kershaw said that would an unnecessary expense. Commissioner Leng stated that he believes that the breezeway connection between the house and the proposed structure would be enough to establish attachment. Commissioner Evans stated that he feels the internal entrance should be required and is concerned that the Planning Commission is now hearing that the structure will be used as a real estate office. Mr. Kershaw replied “we’ll say it is just a room,” and indicated that it could also be used as a playroom for grandchildren. Commissioner Anderson indicated that the second floor of the proposed structure should be accessible from inside the main structure to be considered attached. Commissioner O’Connor said that the ordinances don’t specifically state that there has to be an internal staircase in order to be considered attached. Chairman McClelland stated that the intent of the ordinances is to promote single-family usage and prevent spaces from being used as separate structures such as rental apartments or real estate offices. He also feels it is important to consistently apply the intent of the ordinances in all situations.
Chairman McClelland motioned to approve the permit contingent upon: a) submission of new construction drawings showing an internal staircase, and b) that the average of the eight corners of the proposed structure is under the 30 foot height requirement.
In Favor – 4
Abstain – 1 (Commissioner O’Connor)
404 Acorn Lane – Renovation unanimously approved.
Artists Linda Liotta and Dale Shore presented an application for an art studio and school at the Commercial Corner. Ms. Shore stated that it would be a working artists studio out of which artwork would be sold, 1 or more artists would be working depending on the space, art classes of 1 to 4 students at varying times during the day and evening, 6 days per week. Oil paint would be used but would be used and disposed of in an appropriate manner. The commissioners agreed that an art studio does not meet the ordinance’s current uses for the Commercial Corner but encouraged them to apply for a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals. The motion to deny the permit on the basis of Ordinance 8.2 was unanimous.
103 Grove Avenue-Fence
Chairman McClelland introduced the subject of a lattice fence that has been wired to the existing fence at the corner of Grove Road and Brown Street. An application for building permit has not been submitted. The owner has been sent two letters (dated November 15 and 19) by Chairman McClelland citing the applicable Town ordinances and directing the owner to remove the lattice fence. Chairman McClelland stated that he has consulted with Town attorney Bill Roberts who instructed that per Montgomery County law, any artificial structure that serves as a barrier constitutes fencing. Since the fence is in violation of Town ordinances and poses a safety concern by limiting vehicular site lines, inaction by the Town raises liability issues regarding potential accidents at that intersection. Sandy Klingenburg, the owner, stated that she found in Town Ordinance Article 4, Section 5, that there is no permit application needed for a trellis or archway. She presented a definition of trellis and feels that the lattice she put on the corner of her fence is a trellis and not a fence and its primary purpose is to keep her cats in her yard. Commissioner O’Connor suggested a four foot fence be placed on the other side of the pond to keep her cats in. This idea was immediately dismissed by the property owner. Chairman McClelland motioned that the structure found on the corner of Brown and Grove at 103 Grove Avenue meets the definition of fence and is in violation of Town ordinances.
In Favor – 4
Abstain – 1 (Commissioner Ebner)
– Chairman McClelland submitted, as requested by the Town Council, a list of non-compliant properties in Town. These will be forwarded to the Council.
Parking on Town Property
– A suggested change to the ordinances regarding parking was submitted by Commissioner O’Connor (see attachment A.) The proposal will be forwarded to the Town Council for review.
Report From Town Council
– Commissioner Anderson reported that the Town Council would like the Planning Commission to revisit the subject of the annexation of Oakmont. They have concerns over what may be built in the area if the bridge is not built and feel that annexing Oakmont would give the Town leverage. The commissioners have concerns that annexing a restaurant and bar, school and daycare center may present the Town with problems. The Planning Commission suggests the Council appoint a committee to investigate the situation.
Expectation of Action by Town Council and Mayor
– The Planning Commission discussed the need for Mayoral and Town Council procedures regarding response times and action for ordinance violations. Operational procedures would assist in the consistent application and enforcement of Town ordinances and provide a time line to help alleviate false expectations.
Missy Yachup – Secretary
The meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.