Planning Commission Minutes – February 15, 2017

PLANNING COMMISSION

FEBRUARY 15, 2017

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

NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS

The first item on the agenda was the nomination and election of officers for 2017.

Mr. Craig moved to nominate Mr. Jeff Grotsky as Chair for 2017, was seconded by Ms. Richman and carried unanimously.

Ms. Ellis moved to nominate Mr. Paul Showalter as Vice-Chair for 2017, was seconded by Mr. Craig and carried unanimously.

Ms. Richman moved to nominate Ms. Morgan Ellis as Secretary for 2017, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Mr. Showalter asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of December 21, 2016. Mr. Craig moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT AND PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN FOR THE DIXON DISTRIBUTION CENTER

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

Mr. Shearon stated that the Dixon Distribution Center was the next phase of the development in this newly annexed area. He said that it was likely that the buildout of the warehouse would begin before the apartments.

Mr. Shearon showed a rendering of the overall annexed area’s master plan. He said that the proposed warehouse has been shifted to the back (east side) of the property.  Haacke Drive extended is being moved slightly to the right which will allow for another developable pad site.  Mr. Shearon stated that the site plan they were discussing this evening extends from where Haacke Drive dead ends at the back of the Washington Square Shopping Center to the warehouse and new headquarters for Dixon.

Mr. Shearon stated that the lot line adjustment was approved for the apartments defining the RB and LI-2 Zones. He said that the lot line has not been recorded to date so the proposed lot line has been included with those plats.  Mr. Shearon stated that there are now 6 parcels making up the annexed area.

Mr. Shearon stated that Lot 2 was in town before the annexation but was acquired by KRM after the annexation and provides the right-of-way extension for Haacke Drive.

Mr. Shearon stated that the proposed lot line adjustment defines the first phase of what will become a public right-of-way. Haacke Drive extended will come to an intersection with a leg that will dead-end into the loading docks for the warehouse.  The new road will also lead to the proposed headquarters and to a road that will eventually connect to Rt. 213.  Mr. Shearon stated that the area fronting Rt. 213 will remain an open parcel and as building occurs on other lots, he stated that KRM would move with a subdivision application.

Mr. Shearon stated that KRM was seeking preliminary site plan approval for the warehouse and infrastructure (water and sewer extensions and roads). The lot for the proposed warehouse was 19.88 acres and there would be 7.5 acres of pervious cover.  The property was not located in the flood plain or critical area. The proposed warehouse building would be 168,329 sq.ft.

Mr. Shearon stated that the roads in this phase would be built to Town standards and deeded to the Town once they were built. There were sketches showing how the roads would eventually weave through the parcels and out to Rt. 213.  A traffic impact study was performed and access to Rt. 213 will be deferred until the core of the development was built.  The road paralleling Rt. 213 will act as a service road to relieve pressure from Rt. 213.

Mr. Shearon stated that a 168 space parking lot will be built adjacent to the warehouse, noting that this exceeded the requirement for the warehouse but will be used in conjunction with the new headquarters. By code, 70 parking spaces were required, but based on KRM’s projections for the daily employees, training facility and historical area they thought 130-140 parking spaces would be needed.  Parking is designed similar to the apartments, separated in the center for drainage and stormwater management.

Mr. Shearon stated that the existing sidewalk on Haacke Drive (fronting Dr. Buckel’s offices) will continue along that side of Haacke Drive. Sidewalks will be installed on the new road with pedestrian connections to the parking area at 5’ wide.  Mr. Shearon stated that geotechnical analysis was beginning Thursday for pavement design and he would submit the proposals to the Town.

Mr. Shearon stated that after meeting with the Town it was decided that maintenance on a “closed section system” with curbing was an issue due to the requirement for bioretention areas so it was changed to an “open section system” with a 60’ wide right-of-way, 36’ paved road, 7’ landscaping strip, street trees, and a 5’ sidewalk with drainage and utility easements beyond (grass swale providing stormwater management). The property owner will be responsible for maintaining the swale in front of their property.  The plans will be updated to show exactly how it will appear once built.

Mr. Fordi asked when the road to Rt. 213 would be built. Mr. Shearon stated that he did not know.  He said that the trailers will come in off of Haacke Drive from Rt. 301 to Morgnec Road for the warehouse.  He said that the first phase of the traffic study took into account that the first phase will not have access to Rt. 213.  Ms. Gray stated that the tractor trailers would be sporadic with only Dixon trucks going in and out of the site.

Mr. Bowering asked about the truck traffic impact on Rt. 213. Mr. Matthews stated that he thought truck traffic through Town may be relieved by the fact that the trucks won’t have to go through the historic part of Town as they do now to get to the Chestertown Business Park.

Mr. Shearon stated that the road would narrow to 24’ by the headquarters building so that tractor trailers will not enter that area. The road there will have curb and gutter with some parallel parking.  Mr. Shearon showed the plan for the parking lot with pedestrian connections to the entrances.

Mr. Shearon stated that there was 50’ between the property line and the area where the loading docks begin. There was 150’ of loading dock apron.  He said that the there was a Town water tower and cell tower behind the building and the Town has an easement to gain access to that property.

Mr. Shearon stated that a manhole at the end of the Haacke Drive entrance has a 12’ deep sewer allowing the water and sewer for almost the entire annexed area. He said that all but the northernmost building will be able to be served by gravity feed.  He said that when parcel #2 was purchased from Sommers it was part of the agreement that a sewer line will be stubbed out to the Sommer’s property when the road was built.

Mr. Shearon stated that street tree species are preliminary as the plan will be developed further after meeting with the Tree Committee. He said that a mix of species will be chosen to avoid blight.  Landscaping will also be added to provide screening for the warehouse.

Mr. Shearon stated that the proposed warehouse was 45’ tall and they were relying on architecture features, landscaping, and distance from the road to screen some of the mass.

Mr. Shearon stated that lighting was in the preliminary stage and he would be meeting with Delmarva Power for street lighting. The same lighting approved for the apartment complex will be used for the warehouse parking lot.  He said that the Town would help in the selection for the future town street lighting that was both LED and Night Sky compatible.

Mr. Shearon showed the draft architectural plan for the warehouse. He said that architectural details were used to try to break up the mass, but the materials have not been finalized.  Mr. Shearon stated that translucent panels were shown at the top of the front façade to allow natural light.  Ms. Gray stated that they were using a combination of brick, translucent panels and dryvit panels.  Mr. Shearon stated that the front entrance facade stepped down in height to bring it to scale with the parking lot.  Mr. Shearon stated that the proposed height of the building is 45’.  The water tower behind the building is 131’ tall and the cell tower is 117’ tall.  Mr. Fordi stated that he thought Stam Hall may be about 45’ tall for a comparison of building height.  Mr. Matthews stated that 45’ was about 3 storys and used Minta Martin Hall as an example, adding that the Washington College Field house was 85,000 square feet and approximately 45’ high, so the warehouse at 168,329 sq.ft. would be that tall and twice as large.

Mr. Fordi asked the timetable for construction, including the build out of the apartments. Ms. Gray stated that the warehouse would begin as soon as approvals are given, noting that they were hoping to break ground in summer.  They said it is possible that they would build the first phase of the apartments during that time as well.  Completion of the warehouse was expected to take one year.

Mr. Craig asked if the traffic study took into account the entire build out. Mr. Shearon stated that the first phase was the apartments, warehouse and headquarters using only Haacke Drive extended.  The next phase of the study took into account the entire build out.

Mr. Fordi asked if the proposal was supported by the Master Plan and if the proposal was in keeping with Zoning. Mr. de Mooy stated that this plan was in keeping with both the Master Plan and Zoning.

Mr. Shearon stated that total stormwater management design has been developed and can be met on site. He said that total stormwater requirement was over 70,000 cubic feet.

Mr. Fordi moved to accept the lot line adjustment as presented for the Dixon Distribution Center was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

Mr. Craig moved to approve preliminary site plan for the Dixon Distribution Center with the understanding that detailed information on landscaping, lighting, and final design for the roadway and building materials for the warehouse will be addressed in the final site plan presentation, was seconded by Ms. Richman and carried unanimously.

2016 BEST BUILDING AWARDS

The last item on the agenda was discussion of the Best Building Awards.

Mr. Craig moved for the following 3 buildings for the 2016 Best Building Awards:

  • Best Commercial: Tidewater Trader, 813 High Street
  • Best Institutional: Washington College Academic Center 213-215 High Street
  • Best Residential: Peacock Residence, 617 Cannon Street

There being no further business, Mr. Craig moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Jeffrey Grotsky

Stenographer                                                   Chair

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