Planning Commission Meeting Minutes – October 17, 2018

PLANNING COMMISSION

OCTOBER 17, 2018

Chairman Jeffrey 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 August 15, 2018. Mr. Showalter moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

DIXON VALVE HEADQUARTERS BUILDING – FINAL SITE PLAN

Ms. Kate Gray and Mr. Bryan Matthews of KRM were present for the application, along with Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS.

Mr. Shearon stated preliminary approval for this project was granted in December 2017. He said that this parcel was 4.81 acres and zoned LI-2. The plan was for a two story building with a partial basement totaling 64,800 sq.ft. Mr. Showalter asked what the basement would be used for. Ms. Gray stated that she thought it would mainly be used for storage and would only be accessible from the inside of the building.

Mr. Shearon stated that not too much has changed from the preliminary approval. He said that Haacke Drive Ext. will be brought into the business campus allowing access to the Distribution Center. The road network and access network to Rt. 213 were included as part of the preliminary approval, but they were going to concentrate on the area around the Headquarters for the final approval this evening. Mr. Shearon stated that the Fitness Center will be the next project in the development.

Mr. Shearon stated that the parking requirement based on zoning was 1 space per 400 sq.ft. or 162 parking spaces. He said that 148 spaces were shown on this plan. Mr. Shearon stated that there are 92 extra spaces as part of the Distribution Center. Parking will include 7 handicap spaces. Mr. Shearon stated that this site was not in the flood plain or critical area.

Mr. Shearon stated that the parking lot for the Headquarter Building will be located to the right of the building, and an extension of the parking from the Distribution Center tying into what will become “Dixon Square Road”. Additional parking was on the left side of the building with handicap accessible parking and a few parallel parking spaces along the road in front of the main entrance. He showed the network of sidewalks along the main road and along the sides of the building. Additional entrances are located on each side of the building.

Mr. Shearon stated that there will be a loading area in the back of the building which will be at grade. The building will not have a full kitchen but there will be a dining area leading to a patio area in the rear of the building.

Mr. Shearon stated that the center green space in front of the building would be 160’ wide from curb to curb and 355’ long once the next phase is developed, amounting to 1⅓ acres.

Mr. Shearon showed the grading and stormwater plans. He said that there would be a total of 11 micro-bioretention areas throughout the site. A storm drain system would connect the bioretention areas to the pond in the back of the Distribution Center that will be expanded as part of the project. Mr. Shearon stated that the parking lot also had bioretention systems connected to the storm drain system.

Mr. Shearon described the landscape plan in detail stating that the same architect designed both the Distribution Center and Headquarters Building. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Tree Committee will also review the landscaping plan for approval.

Mr. Shearon stated that the lighting mimicked that of the Distribution Center and was described in the plans in detail. The lights were gooseneck in design on 24’ poles, with bollard lighting and wall-mounted lights that washed the building. Mr. Showalter asked if 24’ was the lowest pole height to achieve low lighting on the site. Mr. Shearon stated that the pole height could be reduced but then there would be additional lighting in order achieve the same photometrics. Mr. Shearon stated that the lights were Night Sky compliant.

Mr. Shearon moved on to the architects rendering of the building which had not changed from preliminary site plan. He said that the building was not identical to the Distribution Center but was, in his opinion, certainly complimentary with the use of the glass and brick.

Mr. Craig asked if this building was on a separate lot from the Distribution Center. Mr. Shearon stated that the Headquarter Building was designed for Lot 5, and the Distribution was located on Lot 3. He said that this building was stand-alone and designed to the lot, meeting all setbacks and other requirements of zoning. Mr. Craig stated that this lot (Lot 5) did not meet the required parking. He said that he agreed there was enough parking in the area but said that he would like to see assurances with easements for parking in the recorded plat. Mr. Shearon stated that he thought that the Planning Commission also had the ability to waive or reduce parking, but in other situations he has written cross-easements into agreements.

Mr. Shearon stated that they were 14 parking spaces short on the proposed Headquarter parking lot, noting there were 92 extra parking spaces on the Distribution Center parking lot and the lots were designed to connect. He said that he did not see a reason why they could not file an easement agreement if required by the Commission to do so. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Commission can reduce parking requirements but there is also a clause in zoning where if parking cannot be accommodated on site, there was a 300’ radius that can be used to incorporate street parking or adjacent parking.

Mr. Shearon stated that if the Commission was willing, he would ask that the 14 parking spaces be waived as part of the final approval.

Mr. Craig asked if there was any kind of agreement for future maintenance of the bio retention areas. Mr. Shearon that any approved stormwater requires a “maintenance and inspection agreement” whereby the Town or County has the right to inspect.

Mr. Craig asked if the traffic study included the square footage of the proposed building in their study. Mr. Shearon stated that the square footage of this building was included in the traffic study.

Mr. Craig asked if the entrance road design in front of the building mimicked Haacke Drive. Mr. Shearon stated that the entrance road was narrower than Haacke Drive, designed to be 24’ wide with curb and gutter. Sidewalks run throughout the development for pedestrian connectivity.

Mr. Craig asked if there was a study performed on the availability of water for this building. Mr. Shearon stated that an extensive water model was performed primarily for fire flow requiring 10” water lines to be run. There will be a fire pump installed.

Mr. Grotsky stated that there were a number of non-native species on the landscaping plan. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Tree Committee would have input on the tree species.

Mr. Craig moved to approve final site plan for the Dixon Headquarters building as submitted, with the understanding that there are 14 parking spaces being waived from the requirements for parking and that there will be a review by the Tree Committee for approval of the landscaping plans, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.               

REQUEST FOR ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT – KRM

Mr. de Mooy stated that in July 2016 when KRM annexed the area off of Rt. 213 and Haacke Drive, a portion of the Annexation Plan reads as follows:

  1. Land Use Patterns (B). The proposed land use of the area to be annexed is consistent with the Municipal Growth Element of the 2015 Town of Chestertown Comprehensive Plan. The Mayor and Council of Chestertown, favoring mixed use development, intend to expand the uses permitted in the LI-2 Zoning District to include compatible commercial uses.

Mr. de Mooy stated that he and Mr. Ingersoll worked on a modification of the LI-2 District to incorporate some of the commercial uses in C-3 but not residential on the ground floor, convenience stores, or drive-thru establishments. He said that there was not currently a hybrid zone that allowed for what the annexed area is developing into, which is a mix of commercial and industrial.

Ms. Gray stated that there was a plan for a fitness center that would be coming in for approvals after the Dixon Headquarters was under way, noting that they were hoping to break ground in mid-2019.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the zoning in the annexation was RB for the apartments and to the north LI-2 Light Industrial. He said that the zoning does not list any compatible commercial uses.

Mr. de Mooy explained the proposed changes to §170-46. LI-2 Light Industrial District. Changes were as follows:

  • 170-46. LI-2 Light Industrial District:
  • Purpose. The purpose of this district is to provide for a wide variety of light manufacturing, fabricating, processing, wholesale distributing and warehousing uses which are appropriately located for access by major thoroughfares or railroads. Commercial, as well as selected commercial and business uses and open to create a mixed-use zone. Open storage of materials are would still be permitted, but for some of the originally allowed industrial uses such as contractor’s yards and manufacturing.       Ground story new residential development is excluded.       To facilitate cohesive, pedestrian-friendly design in this mixed use zone, front, side, and rear yard setbacks may be varied in the site plan process by the Planning Commission per Section 170-16B.

 

  1. Permitted uses. A building or land shall be used only for the following purposes:
    1. General light industrial, warehousing and storage uses, including certain open or enclosed storage of products, materials and vehicles and including the following uses (and any similar uses) which are not likely to create any more offensive noise, vibration, dust, heat, smoke, odor, glare or other objectionable influences than the minimum amount normally resulting from other uses listed; such listed uses are, generally, wholesale establishments, service industries and light industries that manufacture, process, store and distribute goods and materials and are, in general, dependent on raw materials refined elsewhere for treatment, as specified in the following products or similar products:
      1. Storage and sales of building materials, including cement, lime in bags and containers, sand, gravel, stone, lumber, structural and reinforcing steel, pipe and the like, open or enclosed, but no manufacturer or steel fabricating or junk storage;
      2. Establishments containing concrete products and central mixing and proportioning plants.
      3. Contractor’s shops, storage yards and equipment rental establishments.
      4. Establishments for grain blending and packaging but not milling.f.e Warehouse, storage and mini-storage facilities.
      5. e.d Ice manufacture, including dry ice.
  • Most commercial uses as described in C-3 Neighborhood Commercial, excluding residential uses on ground floors, conveniences stores and drive-throughs.

 

  1.  Permitted accessory uses. Permitted accessory uses shall be as follows:
    1. The storage of goods or materials used in or produced by permitted commercial and industrial uses and related activities, subject to applicable district regulations.
    2. A single-family dwelling for a resident watchman or caretaker employed on the premises.
    3. Permitted signs. Signs shall be subject to the general sign regulations of Article X of this chapter.
    4. Height, area and bulk requirements. Requirements for minimum lot area, yards and open space and maximum height are contained in the Table of District Regulations included at the end of this chapter.
    5. The Planning Commission may waive or reduce the front, side, or rear setbacks in the preliminary site plan process (under Section 170.16.B.) if they determine that said waiving or reduction contributes to the cohesive design of the project and that said changes are compatible with the surrounding area within the mixed use zone.

Mr. de Mooy stated that if the Planning Commission felt as though setbacks can be waived or reduced in the planning process to include things like sidewalks, trails, greenspace, etc., the amendments provide the flexibility to do so.

Mr. de Mooy stated that there were no uses proposed in the LI-2 zoning that would be conducive to residential, noting that the apartment complex was separated and zoned RB Professional Office which allowed residential.

Mr. Craig asked if the applicant asked for the amendment. Mr. de Mooy stated that the applicant appeared before the Mayor and Council during the annexation process, and within the annexation documents there was language allowing for mixed uses that could take place in the annexed area. He said that what he was presenting was the language to amend LI-2 to reflect those mixed uses. If approved by the Planning Commission, the language will go back to the Mayor and Council for the text amendment to take place.

Ms. Gray stated that they were waiting on the text change amendments for planning the Fitness Center as they would be able to change the setbacks if the amendments were approved. She said that currently the setbacks were 50’ and they wanted to bring the center closer to the street. Mr. Shearon stated that he was planning to bring the conceptual plans for the Fitness Center before the Commission as they worked through the process of the text amendments.

Ms. Ellis stated that when reviewing these proposed changes, the Commission should be thinking of all other LI-2 Districts throughout Chestertown and if the proposed changes would fit. She said that they could not consider the amendment for the Dixon property only. Mr. de Mooy stated that this point was the reason for the elimination of residential on the ground floor, convenience stores and drive-throughs.

Ms. Richman stated that she thought the proposed amendments were acceptable for other LI-2 zoning areas in Town. Mr. de Mooy showed the Council where other LI-2 zoning was on the Zoning Map.

Mr. Grotsky asked if the Commission wanted to think about the proposed changes until the next meeting, or vote on the issue now.

Ms. Ellis moved for a positive recommendation to the Mayor and Council for the text amendment changes to LI-2 Light Industrial as presented, was seconded by Mr. Craig and carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Mr. Showalter moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                           Jeffrey Grotsky

Stenographer                                                   Chair

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