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6 January 2021 | Approved: 3 February 2021

Peter Nagrod called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, this meeting took place via ZOOM videoconference. In attendance were Commissioners Charlie Challstrom, Jon Cohen, Georgette Cole, Robert Johnson (Alternate), and Deb Mehlferber. Also in attendance were residents Paula Puglisi and Historic Preservation Commission member Mimi Styles.

Approval of Agenda:

Georgette Cole moved to approve the agenda. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. The Commission added a discussion about the permit page on the Town website under Building Permits and enforcement of ordinances under New Business. Approved: 5-0, as amended.

Building Permit Applications:

There were no new permit applications.

  • Bryant Foreman (412 4th Avenue) needs to turn in a permit application for his shed. He was advised to wait until the passage of an ordinance that addresses front setback issues for accessory buildings in the RR-2 zones. Jon Cohen will talk Bryant.
  • Georgette Cole would like to see language about requirements for deck permits as well as some sheds. They decided to add “Most sheds and decks require a permit from Montgomery County as well” on the website.

Public Appearances:

There were none.

Public Ways & Property Permit:

The Commission discussed several names for the permit. They settled on Application for Public Ways and Property Permit: Residential Aprons (e.g.: Driveway or Walkway Construction on Town Right of Way Abutting Residential Property). Additional changes were made by Georgette Cole and sent to the Commission this morning. Charlie Challstrom suggested changing abutting to adjoining so the terminology is the same as Ordinance 2020-14. Under the criteria for more than one driveway apron they changed “compelling need” to “valid need.” The Commission discussed the need to support use of the Roadside Tree Permit with the PW & PP. It was suggested to remove the Town arborist consultation from this permit application. A Planning Commission member, currently Georgette, will advise applicants if they need a Roadside Tree Permit. The Commission also discussed the process for use of the PW & PP. Since the HPC review is needed, the PC decided to use the same submission and deadlines as a building permit application.

Action: Georgette Cole will clean it up and circulate to the Commission. The PC will review the amended document and send it to the Historic Preservation Commission for their review. Approval will likely take place at the next meeting.

Approval of the Minutes – December 2, 2020:

Robert Johnson moved to approve the December Planning Commission minutes. Jon Cohen seconded the motion. Georgette Cole read her substantial changes to the section pertaining to 411 Chestnut Avenue. The Commission discussed and approved of her changes. Charlie Challstrom suggested the removal of “Ultra Wideband” because it is more of a marketing tool than an actual name for the product. Charlie moved to approve the substantial changes to the December minutes, as amended. Approved: 5-0.

411 Chestnut Avenue – Update on Document From Property Owner:

There is no update.

Ordinance 2021-01; Amending the Washington Grove Zoning Ordinance to Terminate Certain Restrictive Covenants and to Authorize Legal Instruments:

Charlie Challstrom gave a background for this ordinance. In summary, the new Section 2.4 defines covenants and allows for a legal instrument to be used for removal of said covenants. A discussion ensued. Charlie Challstrom moved to accept and forward the version dated 1/6/21 to the Town Council. Robert Johnson seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0, as presented.

Report from Town Council:

Charlie reported on the following:

  • WSSC Sewer Project Status
  • Bikeways Connector Study Update
  • Community Solar Project
  • Ordinance 2020-13
  • Ordinance 2020-14
  • Ordinance 2020-15

Comprehensive Plan Work Session Report (formerly called Master Plan) – Required Elements and Preparation and Approval Process:

Georgette Cole reported the work sessions continue to go well. She also reported receipt of a new map from Gaithersburg’s GIS map expert Kirk Eby. Also under discussion was the relabeling of the Town’s Forest & Recreation Zone to Forest Preserve Zone. This change would have to wait until the areas are officially rezoned. Georgette also reminded those who receive document updates will get the Sustainability section tomorrow.

Commercial Corner Pedestrian Crossing – Update:

Chairman Nagrod reported all work in that area, apart from the relocation of the dumpster, has been completed. Peter would like to invite property owner Tatiana Bell to a meeting in order to participate in a discussion about the Commercial Corner. After some discussion, it was agreed that talking to Ms. Bell directly might be a better idea. Because the Commercial Corner is being updated by the Comprehensive Plan it may not be appropriate to have this conversation right now. Charlie referenced “ex-parte communications.”

Border Committee – Update:

Chairman Nagrod reported signs and fencing is still being discussed. A new sign for consideration was presented by Peter. Craig English will help with the design and Town Maintenance will do the installation. The Town will use an outside vendor to do the engraving. The group also discussed the location of the new signs including the Identity Fence on Washington Grove Lane near Boundary Street.

Other Business:

Excessive Noise from Cars & Motorcycles: Jon Cohen reported he is still working on this. He wondered if County speed cameras might help.

Path to Shady Grove Crossing: Peter reported he reached out to the Homeowner’s Association about this and there has been no response.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:25PM.

Kathryn L. Lehman, Town Clerk

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