Planning Commission Minutes – April 19, 2017

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PLANNING COMMISSION

APRIL 19, 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, Robert Fordi, 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 March 15, 2017. Ms. Ellis moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT – McAULIFFE, 225 BIRCH RUN ROAD

Mr. de Mooy stated that this was a merging of two vacant lots in order to build a single-family dwelling. Separately, the lots were not buildable and the adjustment was needed to meet setbacks and wetland buffer requirements.

Mr. Fordi moved to approve the lot line adjustment at 225 Birch Run Road as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN APPROVAL – WASHINGTON COLLEGE – HODSON AND TRUSLOW BOATHOUSES

Mr. Reid Raudenbush of Washington College, along with Brandon Davis of DMS & Associates and d’Andre Willis of HGA Architects were in attendance.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that over the last few years the College has been assembling parcels of property along the river and have a parcel consisting of over an acre where the current Truslow Boathouse is located. Adjacent to that, 5 acres were purchased where the former Crop Production and Alger Oil properties were located.  An EPA grant was used to clean up both properties where there was arsenic and petroleum contamination.  There was another small strip property between that land and the Armory.  The College acquired that strip of land, the Armory, and several acres of marshland adjacent to the Armory.  Mr. Raudenbush stated that the proposed boathouse will straddle the lands of the existing boathouse property and the land previously owned by Crop Production Services.

Mr. Davis stated that the entire parcel being discussed this evening was 6.9-acres zoned Institutional and located in the critical area with a buffer exempt designation. The existing boathouse will remain and be renovated.  There are two access locations that create a loop around the existing boathouse with gravel access to the water where the College launches their boats.  At the southern entrance to the property there is a utility pole which would be removed and all utility lines will be buried.  Existing lighting on site consists of a building mounted light and utility pole with a street light.

The proposed lot line adjustment plat showed consolidation of small parcels around the boathouse which will become Parcel 1271. Parcels 1273 and 1274 will cease to exist.  The boundary dividing the former Alger Oil and Crop Production sites will be adjusted as shown in the submitted site plan.

Mr. Davis stated that he existing boathouse will be renovated and its current use will take place in the proposed “Hodson Boathouse Building”. The existing boathouse will be used for storage.  There will be no change in use or demand for parking and the existing lot will be reconfigured and left as gravel.  The 60’ long boats require maneuverability and required widening the lane adjacent to the boat storage areas.

Mr. Davis stated that the existing access lane to the water will be maintained. The proposed building is outside of the 100’ tidal waters and FEMA floodplain boundaries.  Stormwater management will consist of filtration devices on the roadside of the proposed building.  The goal around the existing building was to minimize impacts to the site by keeping existing grades and minimizing areas of disturbance.

Mr. Davis stated that the new building will have special considerations as some of the area to be built upon is over an arsenic contamination area, so monitoring will be required.

Mr. Davis stated that the area will be landscaped and mitigation plantings to meet the requirements for the site. He said that the applicant planned to meet with the Tree Committee during the final phase of landscaping.  Additional screening was planned adjacent to the townhouses and along the waterfront.

Ms. Willis reiterated that the existing building will be renovated and used for storage. The new one story building will take over all activities currently taking place at the existing boathouse.  There will be a training room, indoor rowing tank, teaching space, restrooms, offices and a social space.  A large open porch will surround the building.  Interior plans were shown of both the existing and proposed buildings.

Mr. Fordi asked if there was enough parking for events on site. Ms. Willis stated that the lawn areas are used for parking for large events as well as parking in the lot across the street, in Wilmer Park and on Cross Street which will continue.  Mr. Raudenbush stated that the gravel lots will be for day-to-day activities only.

Mr. Fordi asked if the rowing program was changing in size. Mr. Raudenbush stated that there was no change to the size of the program.

Mr. Fordi asked if there was any discussion on development of the other College properties along the river. Mr. Raudenbush stated that the larger vision for the property was to have the boating facility as proposed and the 4 acres between the boathouse and Armory property to have an academic laboratory building for the Center for Environment & Society.  The Armory property is being reviewed for several potential uses, as either a privately developed hotel or perhaps a residential facility for the College.  The rest of the property to Radcliffe Creek was purchased to maintain the viewshed and there were no plans for building.  Residential development was still the general idea for Stepne.

Mr. Craig asked if the College was creating a parking issue since the special events spill off site. Mr. Raundenbush stated that larger events were a challenge but able to be accommodated using satellite parking areas.

Mr. Raudenbush stated that the College was planning to finish construction drawings this summer and then break ground in September 2017. He said that the College received a permit to dredge the basin in front of the Pavilion and around the dock, and they have already removed 10,000 cubic yards of material before they had to stop for spawning fish.  There were approximately 2,000 additional yards to dredge on the south side of the dock in which would take place in June 2017.  The College also has permission to clean up the dock and widen it where it meets the land and to replace 11 pilings.  Underwater inspections of all pilings will take place.

Ms. Willis stated that the final site plan will contain details such as lighting and landscaping. She said that she thought they would present final site plan in another 2 months.

Mr. Fordi moved to approve a motion for the lot line adjustment as presented and preliminary site plan approval for the Hodson and Truslow boathouses as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.  

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT AND FINAL SITE PLAN – KRM – DIXON WAREHOUSE, HAACKE DRIVE EXTENDED

Mr. Brandon Davis of DMS & Associates and Mr. Bryan Matthews and Ms. Kate Gray of KRM were present for the application. Mr. Davis stated that since preliminary approval was granted they have been at work on the final design.

Mr. Davis explained the overall site of the annexation in detail.   He said that the warehouse access will be located on Haacke Drive extended.    There was a lot line adjustment requested with this application, noting that the warehouse will be located on lot 3.

Mr. Davis stated that the 80-acres will be divided into 6 lots and the potential for a future subdivision. They being:

Lot 1: Apartments;

Lot 2: TBD;

Lot 3: Warehouse;

Lot 4: TBD;

Lot 5: TBD;

Lot 6: TBD.

Mr. Davis stated that comments and recommendations have been received from the Tree Committee and changes would be submitted for final approval. Soil Conservation Service was also working on the plans for final approvals.

Mr. Davis stated that the applicant was hoping to receive final conditional approval this evening, with landscaping approval from the Tree Committee, final approval from Soil Conservation Services and any other issues that the Town may have.

Mr. Davis stated that zoning for Lot 3 was LI-2 (Light Industrial). The property was out of the critical area and flood plain.  There was a proposed loading area between the warehouse building and the Whitsitt Center.  The road will be stubbed out for future uses on building pads to the north and west of the site.  There were renderings of Haacke Drive extended with future traffic circulation on site and a drawing with proposed parking.  Mr. Davis stated that parking was well over the required spaces for this project in anticipation of future connections and parking areas associated with the future headquarters building on Lot 3.

Mr. Davis stated that pedestrian circulation, including 5’ sidewalk will be installed from the warehouse building along the east side of Haacke Drive extended to apartments and to the existing Haacke Drive. There will be an open section roadway 38’ wide with 7’ of landscape area and swales, and a closed section roadway to the parallel parking area with a 24’ wide roadway with expanded parking along the roadway.

Mr. Davis showed the proposed parking areas noting the majority of the islands will have stormwater management devices in them. Streetlight and parking lot lighting will be installed and was the same design as approved for the apartment complex.

Mr. Davis stated that a stormwater outfall location for this phase of the project was near the water tower with a proposed pond that will provide final quantity and quality control for stormdrain runoff. Sewer studies are complete and the applicant is working with Chestertown Utilities.  A second proposed pond is upstream of the existing pond by the Shore United Bank which will convey water downstream and collect anticipated drainage from the new road.  Swales will treat runoff toward the ponds.

Mr. Davis stated that street lights will alternate with street trees and they were proposing the Granville light poles used throughout Town, but since Pepco has taken over Delmarva Power they may be slightly different.

Mr. Davis showed renderings of the proposed warehouse building to the Commission. Mr. Showalter stated that it appeared that the wall lighting was shooting up towards the sky and said that it needs to be reversed.

Mr. de Mooy stated that the Tree Committee’s input on the landscape plan was to ensure that native species were used and would be selected for particular areas with seasonal color considered. He said that there were some species too heavily relied on in the plan, and other that might not do well in this area.  Mr. de Mooy stated that if the Commission was pleased with the layout of the landscaping plans, the people on the Tree Committee would make recommendations regarding the species.

Mr. Showalter asked for a timeline on the project. Ms. Gray stated that they hoped to break ground within 45 days and the project should take approximately one year.  Mr. Fordi asked when construction of the apartment complex would begin.  Ms. Gray stated that they would like to begin building the apartments this year but the official decision has not been made.

Mr. Showalter moved to approve the lot line adjustment as proposed was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

Mr. Craig moved to approve the final site plan contingent upon approvals from Soil Conservation Service, landscaping plans approved by the Tree Committee and Mr. de Mooy’s approval on site lighting, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.     

FINAL SITE PLAN – RAMUNNO – TOWNHOUSES ON SOUTH WATER STREET  

Mr. Scott Lobdell of VanCleef Engineering was present for the application along with Mr. Lee Ramunno, owner.

Mr. Lobdell stated that this 3-unit townhouse proposal has been going through the process for some time, initially beginning as a 4-unit submission. The project was reduced to 3 units to allow more living space in the structure and more area for parking.  Mr. Lobdell stated that the Historic District Commission approved final design of the buildings and showed renderings of the approved design.

Mr. Lobdell stated that outstanding issues from the Planning Commission were addressed. Street lighting has been added with one pole in the front and a second pole in the rear. “Do Not Enter” signs were added off of Railroad Avenue.  Board on board fencing was added along the rear and side of the property line at 6’ high.  Stormwater management is handled with landscape treatment areas on the north side of the rear parking lot and on the front northeast corner, which were sized to handle the increase in pervious areas.

Mr. Lobdell stated that there were 2 parking spaces provided in the rear for each unit. Mr. Grotsky asked what was proposed for the gravel area behind the parking spaces.  Mr. Lobdell stated that the area was planned as an aisle to pull in and out of their parking spaces.

Mr. Craig stated that the second parking space for Lot 1 is shown partially on Lot 2 and asked if the developer planned to correct that issue in the deed or with an easement. Mr. Lobdell stated that access easements will be added to the plans and the easement line will be explained in a shared access agreement.

Mr. Fordi suggested a maintenance agreement for the entire site to be recorded with the deed to ensure that all common areas were cared for, noting that for the small area around the homes it would eliminate the need for the homeowner to have storage for unnecessary items such as lawnmowers.

Ms. Ellis asked how the project was received by the Historic District Commission. Mr. de Mooy stated that the design went through several reviews and this final design was well-received by the Commission.

Mr. Showalter asked for fencing details. Mr. Lobdell stated that wood board on board fencing at a 6’ height was planned.  Mr. de Mooy stated that fencing had not yet been approved by the Historic District Commission.  Mr. Fordi stated that he understood the need for the rear fence, but said that the applicant may want to forego installing a fence on the side.

Mr. Grotsky asked for the construction timeline. Mr. Ramunno stated that it would take some time to submit for permits but they would start within a couple months.

Mr. Grotsky asked about the existing trees on site. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Tree Committee looked at the trees on site and none were worth saving.

Mr. Craig moved to approve final site plan approval to the Ramunno Townhouse site plan as presented with the understanding that the parking and access area be recorded as an easement on the final plan and those Town officials approve the final plans, was seconded by Ms. Richman and carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Mr. Bowering moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:28 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Craig and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Jeffrey Grotsky

Stenographer                                                   Chair

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