Town of Brookeville
Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Planning Commission Members:
Present: Chris Scanlon, Debbie Wagner, Bruce Evans, Miche Booz and Fred Teal
Quorum present? Yes
Others Present: incoming BPC members Stefan Syski and Andy Spagnolo; Commissioner Katherine Farquhar
Proceedings: Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair, Chris Scanlon
Minutes: The November BPC Meeting Minutes were approved. There was a discussion regarding quorum, which is ½ the BPC plus 1. It was determined that the BPC will round down for 3 to be a quorum.
Permits: No permits were submitted for approval
Walkability: a document was shared from the Beyond the ByPass Taskforce (BBT) on walkability. The walkability document was created by Leszek. Syski. Debbie Wagner made comments regarding walkability directly to Leszek. Syski: he was not aware of Back Street and Spring Alley and they were not included in his document. She also included more history about the trail and the way things were in the past.
Chris Scanlon thought the document was a good starting point and asked if the BBT will turn this into a map or is this just the starting point. Debbie Wagner said it was discussed about turning this document into a map. She also would like an update from SHA about the High St sidewalk project. Commissioner Farquhar said the sidewalk project was on hold until we find out what is happening with the ByPass. Stefan Syski said the recent SHA presentation at Longwood showed a sidewalk on High St to the 19500 Georgia Ave. Commissioner Farquhar will asked Commissioner Bartley check with SHA.
The BPC does not want to duplicate the work of BBT – will need to see what BBT has done to see if it can be incorporated in the Comprehensive Plan. Fred and Debbie will attend the next BBT meeting and report that a map would be helpful. The goal of the document is the beginning of discussion for all of Brookeville; find information and keep the walkability document with the BBT for more development. Will need to add the Mill Race; what about biking and disable people. Fred and Debbie were asked to keep the BPC in the information loop.
Also – how to keep the Town informed about the Comprehensive Plan? Need to share information and get community feedback early so people do not derail the process later on.
There is a slot for the BPC at the upcoming Semi-annual Town Meeting to speak and present information.
One thing to add to the Comprehensive Plan is potential trails.
The BPC will asked the BBT to get the walkability document into to draft, send to the Town for feedback, then send to BPC for review / comment, then hold a public meeting.
Commissioner Farquhar would like Chris Scanlon and Don Moore (BBT) to speak the Jan. 10th Semi-Annual Town Meeting.
There was a discussion regarding Leszek Syski, 19500 Georgia Ave, and annexation. Would Leszek Syski be open to annexation by the Town since he has become more involved with the Town? Stefan Syski said he would bring the topic up with his father. There was a discussion about the annexation process; the Town would need to consul the Town’s attorney. There was discussion about if 19500 Georgia Ave would be part of the Historic District if annexed – Miche will talk with Scott Whipple about that topic. If both the Town and property owner are open to annexation, now would be a good time to include in the Master Plan update.
SHA / ByPass:
Chris Scanlon reviewed the 65% complete SHA drawings. What he found missing is what happens to MD97 through Town after the ByPass. The Master Plan needs to show what Market and High Streets will look like. The Town will get to get that information from SHA ASAP to incorporate in the upcoming Master Plan. Planning Chair would like to see all roads tar & chips and narrower.
Planning Commission: Duties and Responsibilities
Planning Chair emailed a document from the MD Department of Planning (MDP) which explains the purpose of planning commissions and the specific authority entrusted to them via Article 66B of the Maryland Annotated Code. BPC members were asked to review the document prior to the meeting,
By law, the Town’s Comprehensive Plan needs to be updated and submitted to the State in October 2016. The BPC needs to prioritize what’s first: road, sidewalks, and paths.
Commissioner Farquhar asked Fred Teal to look at the Sustainable Maryland program and advise if Brookeville should pursue this endeavor. Fred talked to the Commissioner about this program at their Nov. 9th meeting. While the program looks interesting it would be way too much work for a small Town like Brookeville. We would need to get a total of 150 points and establish a Green Team of 5-6 people who will meet monthly for 3-4 years.
The Sustainable Maryland concept is based on larger communities. Some sections just do not apply to Brookeville. Also, there would be a large amount of reporting required to earn points. Fred reports we should do what will work for Brookeville in conjunction with BBT.
BPC – focus on planning (ie – Natural Resources)
BBT – non-planning items
Commissioners’ level – purchasing green
Commissioner Farquhar will advise Sustainable Maryland that Brookeville will not be pursuing certification due to paperwork requirements.
There was a discussion about energy audits. Bruce Evan just had an energy audit performed on his house and shared his positive experience. If the Town paid for residents to have energy audits done, would the residents have the work performed? What are ways to reduce energy consumption? Residents may get part of the money back in historic credits. Bruce Evans is willing to write an article for the Brookeville Times with his experience and hopefully inspire others in Town.
Is this an issue for the BTB or BPC?
Fred Teal shared a bill that was introduce in Congress several years ago that bans 3 chemicals. The bill failed to pass. Does the BPC duties fall into the category of the character of the Town; Does the BPC have thoughts on the kind of Town Brookeville wants to be? Don Moore has reported a decline in the bee population on his property which he attributes to the use of pesticides on the Academy lawn. In the past, the BPC has not veered off into solar energy, etc. and concentrates on planning. Should the Town adopt MoCo ban on pesticides? Should the Master Plan have a section about the environment similar to walkability? The emerging picture of the Town and how it deals with environmental issues. Or just a natural environment section (preserve open space). The BPC could have a section in the Master Plan called Sustainable Practices. BPC wants to preserve Green Space but feel a pesticide ban goes beyond the scope of the BPC – this should be at the Commissioner level of government.
There was a discussion about including an aerial view of the Town in the revised Master Plan. Miche will work on getting an aerial map.
The 1994 Master Plan has a Natural Resource section.
There is a need for an accurate map with boundaries for the Master Plan. Miche will work on getting an updated map from SHA. That map, combined with the survey the Town is conducting in conjunction with the road work in the Eastern portion of Town, should gave the BPC accurate boundaries to include in the Master Plan.
Commissioner Farquhar suggested that a member of the BPC make a personal contact with someone at MDP in case of questions / concerns.
Budget for Comprehensive Plan: BPC Chair asked Commissioner Farquhar have much money is in the Town’s budget for experts. Commissioner Farquhar said the Town has a budget for Professional Services. She asked that the BPC let the Commissioner know an estimated amount that the BPC will need.
Town Roads: Commissioner Farquhar asked if the BPC had any concerns about tar & chips road surface. BPC Chair said the BPC has no objection to tar & chip to replace gravel. The BPC would like to see the gravel road to be narrower. The Town will consult with the HPC for a preliminary approval on tar & chip as a road surface within the Town. The preliminary consultation meeting with HPC where be where Residents can come and give testimony, if needed. There was a discussion about pending permits and notification to the Town. Commissioner Farquhar would like the BPC to advise Town Residence when a permit comes up for approval for a large project (new house, major renovations). The BPC feels that current system of notify adjoining property owners is sufficient and no other notification needs to happen.
Open Discussion: none
Meeting adjourned at 9:10p.m.
Minutes submitted by Cate McDonald, Town Clerk