Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – May 17, 2017

PLANNING COMMISSION

MAY 17, 2017

Chair Jeffery Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members David Bowering, Darrell Craig, Morgan Ellis, Jane Richman and Paul Showalter, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.

MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of April 19, 2017. Mr. Craig moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.

CONDITIONAL USE RECOMMENDATION – WASHINGTON COLLEGE – 305 WASHINGTON AVENUE

Mr. Reid Raudenbush and Ms. Valerie RiChard of Washington College were present for the application.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that currently there was a one person renting 305 Washington Avenue but they would be relocating to 210 Campus Avenue which was also owned by the College if the Conditional Use was approved.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that the College owns the four (4) houses that make up the 300 block of Washington Avenue. The dividing line between Institutional Zoning and Residential Zoning ran between 305 and 307 Washington Avenue.  The houses on the Institutional Zoning are used for the Advancement team and the 301 and 305 Washington Avenue houses are currently used as residences.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that a small staff of four (4) who were now located in the building at 500 Washington Avenue (next to Rita’s) would move to 305 Washington Avenue in order to provide them with private offices. The building at 500 Washington Avenue will become studio space for two (2) art faculty members who are displaced at this time.

Mr. Showalter asked if this was a short or long range plan. Mr. Raudenbush stated that a long range plan was for a campus academic buildings to be constructed where three (3) residence halls built in the 1970s now stand.  He said that he thought that the office use would remain in effect for at least the next 5 years.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that there was a parking lot on Brown Street owned by the College which has sixty (60) parking spaces for student and faculty. Faculty parking will be marked for faculty at the Brown Street lot and any overflow parking will move to student parking on campus.  Two (2) parking spaces are available on site.

Mr. Craig asked if the parking lot on Brown Street was typically full during the school year. Mr. Raudenbush stated that the lot is usually full during the school year and in summer months they allow the hospital to use it for overflow parking.

Mr. Showalter asked what modifications were planned for the property. Mr. Raudenbush stated that he did not anticipate any exterior changes.  He said that the only interior change may be to frame a door opening for what is now the living room area.  Mr. Grotsky asked if the house would have to be modified to become ADA compliant.  Mr. Raudenbush stated that he did not believe it had to be but would do some research, noting that any modifications would be minor.

Mr. Craig stated that he did not have a problem with the plan and asked if it fit in with the zoning since the parking was offsite. Mr. Raudenbush stated that he did not think that the parking had to be on the site but within a certain distance from the site.  Mr. Raudenbush stated that it was resident parking only on both Campus Avenue and Brown Street.  Mr. de Mooy stated that parking waivers can be requested if parking becomes an issue.

Mr. Craig moved for a positive recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals to allow 305 Washington Avenue to be used as office space by Washington College as described in the application, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.

Mr. Grotsky asked if the College has given any thought to renting a storefront downtown for the artists at the College. He said it may be a benefit to the College with Chestertown now being an Arts & Entertainment District.  It might also bring more students downtown.   Mr. Raudenbush stated that the College has heard that suggestion and Sandbox was a perfect fit downtown but was no longer funded.  He said that the Center for Environment and Society was also renting commercial space next to the Sultana.

There being no further business, Mr. Showalter moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Jeffrey Grotsky

Stenographer                                                   Chair

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