SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Chairman Jeffrey Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Morgan Ellis, Robert Fordi, Jane Richman and Paul Showalter, Andrew Meehan, Esquire (attorney for the Commission), Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator and Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk.
MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of August 20, 2014. Mr. Showalter moved to accept the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
KEVIN & CYNTHIA MILLER – PAPA SMURF BARBEQUE – FOOD TRUCK AT 848 HIGH STREET
Mr. Kevin Miller and Ms. Cynthia Miller were present for the application, along with Mr. Bob Greenwald, owner of 848 High Street. Mr. Miller stated that he was still working with the Health Department for approval, but met with the Mayor and Council who approved a 90-day provisional license at a cost of $150.00. Mr. Miller stated that he submitted a site plan for review by the Planning Commission.
Mr. Grotsky stated that a parking spot for the truck has been designated close to the road near the corner of Rt. 20 and Rt. 291.
Ms. Richman asked about advertising for the food truck. Mr. Miller stated that he was going to put out flyers and posters, as well as drive the truck around so that people can see and recognize it. He said that the part of the truck that was painted white would have the wording “Papa Smurf BBQ” with Papa Smurf cooking barbeque. Mr. de Mooy stated that signage would have to be approved before it was installed. Mr. de Mooy stated that there was regulated signage for buildings and there would be regulations for food trucks.
Mr. Miller asked if he could have a temporary sign pointing to the truck. Mr. de Mooy stated that one sign would be fine, with the property owner’s permission.
Mr. Fordi moved to approve the application for Papa Smurf Barbeque at 848 High Street pending approval of the Health Department and signage, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
HIGH STREET INVESTMENTS – PARKING MODIFICATION – 335 HIGH STREET
Mr. Ray Davis, owner, was present and stated that the proposed parking modification work would take place at the rear of the building. He said that they wanted to make a green space and provide a buffer from the parking area. He said that the proposed changes would not affect the public parking or traffic circulation, but would align with the adjacent parking spaces (J.R.’s Lemon Leaf Café). He said that a total of seven (7) parking spaces would be moved.
Mr. Davis stated that in addition to the modified parking, he would like to install a 6’ vertical board and batten privacy fence around the proposed green space. He said that a small loading area would be created to accommodate deliveries and trash pick-up, and allow space for turning around. He said that the existing handicap parking space would be used for the loading area and that the handicap space would be moved over one space.
Mr. Davis stated that he was seeking to install an electric transformer on a pad for the proposed loading area, which would enable Delmarva Power to remove the wood pole that was adjacent to the property. He said that the entire building needs rewiring.
Mr. de Mooy stated that this parking lot was an area where many properties intersect. He said many years ago, the Town contacted the owners and negotiated to pave the lot to create a shared/joint use parking area. He said that he did not think there were “assigned” parking spaces to any of the buildings, adding that the Town did not object to bumping out the parking spaces as shown. He said it would make parking more organized while creating a nice green space for the applicant.
Mr. Fordi moved to approve the application for 335 High Street as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
Mr. Davis stated that he would be returning with a plan to open up the side of his building to the alleyway. He said that he would like to add windows and asked if he would have to resubmit. Mr. de Mooy stated that changes to the building would have to go to the Historic District Commission for approval.
REQUEST FROM WASHINGTON COLLEGE FOR EXTENSION OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Grotsky stated that a request was received prior to the start of the meeting for a 90-day extension to the public comment period for the draft Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Grotsky asked that the Commission review the letter so they could discuss the request.
Mr. Grotsky asked Ms. Mulligan for an overview of how long the Comprehensive Plan has been advertised. Ms. Mulligan stated that the Draft Comprehensive Plan has been on the website for a couple of months. She said that the hearing date and public notice was on the website since September 1st. There was also public notice provided in the Kent County News, Facebook, Constant Contact, and on the front door of the Town Hall building. The meeting was announced at both the September 2nd and September 15th meeting of the Mayor and Council. All requirements for public notice have been met.
Mr. de Mooy stated that when the Draft Comprehensive Plan was completed, it was sent to Mr. Holt because he wanted to share it with the architects for the College waterfront property.
Mr. de Mooy asked if there were problems with the Marina design or the Public Arts Master Plan that are raising issues for the College. Mr. Holt stated that hearing that the Public Arts Master Plan may be adopted as an appendix did concern the College because there was a considerable amount of public access to the Stepne property in that plan. He said that the Public Arts Master Plan frames Stepne in a way that the College would like to weigh in on before it was adopted. He said that there were other aspects of the Comprehensive Plan that the College would also like to formally comment on before adoption.
Mr. Holt stated that if the Planning Commission could not provide more time for comment, the College would provide formal comment to the Mayor and Council before they approved it. Mr. Holt stated that over the next 10 years, the College was looking to invest $140,000,000.00 into the College campus and would like to do it in a way that worked with the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Ellis asked if appendices to the Plan had to be adopted at the same time as the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Public Arts Master Plan has already been submitted to the Mayor and Council and said that the reason that the Stepne design was shown in gray was to communicate that it was a purely a conceptual drawing.
Mr. de Mooy stated that 90 days seemed a long time for written comment. Mr. Holt stated that the reason for the 90 day request was so that the Comprehensive Plan could be presented to the Board of Visitors and Governors, who will not meet again until November 11, 2014.
Mr. Grotsky stated that he was not aware that the Public Arts Master Plan was to become a part of the Comprehensive Plan. He said that the Planning Commission has to have a discussion on whether or not to incorporate it. Another thing he was concerned with is that if the record was held open for 90 days, it should not just be open for Washington College.
Mr. Fordi asked if the College participated in the Public Arts Master Plan. Mr. Holt stated that he attended the meetings as a passive participant as he knew that the focus would be on land owned by the College. He said he did not have the authority to act as a College representative for Stepne. Mr. Holt added that the College was supportive of the Arts District and the Public Arts Master Plan in a number of ways. He said that the promenade along the riverfront with art was a great idea, but there were significant misgivings about the elements surrounding Stepne.
Mr. Showalter stated that the letter from acting President Jay Griswold called for $43,000,000.00 in capital expenditures and asked what exactly that meant. Mr. Holt stated that was renovation of existing buildings on campus.
Mr. de Mooy stated that Ms. Ellis helped with Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s plan for the Northeast Extension, where the Town was able to plan out what that potential annexation might look like. He said that the publication resulting from that Charrette was adopted by reference to the 2009 Comprehensive Plan but that the annexation never came to fruition. The Public Arts Master Plan would not be a formal element of the Comprehensive Plan but a study that could be adopted by reference.
Mr. Grotsky stated that the Commission worked diligently to stay on a timeline for updating the Comprehensive Plan. He said that if the Plan was sent to the Mayor and Council on October 15th, the Council could opt to extend comment for a 90 day period.
Mr. Grotsky asked if another public hearing would be necessary if the public comment period was extended. Mr. de Mooy and Mr. Meehan stated that they would review that question as there was a State mandated process with a timeframe for what had to be done after the public hearing. Mr. Meehan suggested tabling the matter until the October 1st meeting.
Mr. Showalter moved to suspend the meeting at 8:45 p.m. and to reconvene on October 1, 2014 at 6:30 prior to a workshop session to discuss the comments received and regular meeting to vote on the extension of the public comment period for the Comprehensive Plan, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
Mr. Grotsky reconvened the meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. In attendance were Commission members David Bowering, Morgan Ellis, Rob Fordi and Paul Showalter, Andy Meehan, Esquire (attorney for the Commission), Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.
Mr. Grotsky asked Mr. de Mooy how the process would work if the 90 day extension was granted. Mr. de Mooy stated that the process would simply have a three (3) month delay. He said that the public comment period would have to be open to anyone who wished to make comment, not just Washington College. He said that there may have to be another public hearing at the end of the 90 day period, but would check on that question.
Mr. Fordi stated that his primary concern was that an extension would not impact any steps dictated by the State. He said that it did not sound like there would be anything significant other than a 90 day waiting period.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors meeting was scheduled for November and asked Mr. Holt if he thought the Board would have input on particular aspects of the Plan or make comment on the entire Plan. Mr. Holt stated that there were many properties owned by the College and areas that touched College property that would likely be addressed, noting that negotiations with the Town had to take place regarding easements for trails.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Comprehensive Plan and Public Arts Master Plan were visions, but not templates for the Planning Commission to follow. He said that the firm hired for the Public Arts Master Plan was not charged with making a residential street grid for Stepne, as nobody knew what the future held for that property or where roads would be built.
Mr. Holt stated that there was language in the Comprehensive Plan about how future development would be addressed, and that with the Public Arts Master Plan attached caused the College to have reservations. He said that the comments would not be limited to the Public Arts Master Plan, as there would be comments on the Comprehensive Plan as well. He said that the Council formally endorsed the Marina Concept Plan but the impression was that the Public Arts Master Plan would be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he thought it was important to realize the appendices did not carry the weight of the elements in the Comprehensive Plan, although he understood the concerns of the College.
Mr. Grotsky stated that if the extension for public comment was granted, the Commission’s work this evening was finished. Mr. Fordi agreed.
Mr. Fordi stated that he wanted to recognize the fact that the Commission had been in contact with the College regarding the Plan, a copy of which was previously given to Mr. Holt, and said the update to the Plan has been a work in progress for a couple of years. Mr. de Mooy stated that the draft plan was sent to the College in June 2014.
Mr. Holt stated that the College’s planning process was not completed until June 2014. He said that the College did receive a draft plan in June, but not a schedule of when it was going to be completed.
Mr. Bowering stated that he did not oppose an extension. Mr. Showalter stated that the relationship between the Town and College was important and the Commission should consider that in their decision.
Mr. Grotsky asked if there would be a problem with a deadline for another land owner. Mr. Steve Meehan was in the audience and said that there was going to be no action from him until the Commission acted, adding that he did not have an objection to the College’s request for an extension.
Mr. Fordi moved to approve a 90 day extension to December 13, 2014 for public comment on the Comprehensive Plan, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Ms. Ellis moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:55 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky