Minutes|

PLANNING COMMISSION
JANUARY 21, 2015

Chairman Jeffrey Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were members David Bowering, Morgan Ellis, Rob Fordi, Paul Showalter and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Andrew C. Meehan, Esquire, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.

Mr. Grotsky asked for a moment of silence in memory of Gil Watson.

Mr. Grotsky stated that a new slate of officers had to be nominated and elected for 2015.

Ms. Ellis moved to nominate and elect Mr. Jeffrey Grotsky as Chairman for 2015, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

Mr. Grotsky moved to nominate and elect Mr. Paul Showalter as Vice-Chair for 2015, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

Mr. Showalter moved to nominate and elect Ms. Morgan Ellis as Secretary for 2015, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of November 19, 2014. Mr. Showalter moved to accept the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

ANNUAL REPORT

Mr. Grotsky stated that the Commission had received the 2014 Annual Report for the Planning Commission and asked for a motion to approve the document. Ms. Ellis moved to approve the 2014 Planning Commission Annual Report, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT – PIERSON – 125A PHILOSOPHER’S TERRACE

Mr. de Mooy explained the lot line adjustment to make adjoining properties one parcel. Mr. Fordi moved to approve the lot line adjustment as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.

LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT and EASEMENT – HAVEMEYER – CORNER OF CANNON STREET AND SOUTH CROSS STREET

Mr. de Mooy explained the lot line adjustment and easement in detail at 117 S. Cross Street. This change will allow for better ingress and egress for the alley in the rear of the properties. Mr. Havemeyer owned all parcels of land where lot line adjustments and easements were proposed. Mr. Showalter moved to approve the lot line adjustment and easement as shown on the plans, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN – INCORPORATING PUBLIC COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS INTO FINAL DRAFT

Mr. de Mooy outlined the requests and comments to the Planning Commission, noting that the deadline for comments was on December 15th. All the written and oral comments are separated out and include requests or comments, staff comments, and the consensus of the Planning Commission as follows:

Kent County Planning Commission

Comments from Commission:
• Consider impacts on County facilities during annexation process.
• Clarify definition of “low density” when applied to development adjacent to town limits.
• Rework requests that Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties “adopt” Chestertown’s Comprehensive Plan.
• Incorporate dialogue regarding Rail Trail extension to Worton.
Staff Comments:
• Insert necessary wording in paragraphs related to annexation.
• Work with the County Planning Office for acceptable definition based on units/acres or other reasonable threshold.
• Use “consider” in place of adopt.
• Insert appropriate language.
Planning Commission Comments:
• The consensus of the Commission was that they agree with Staff Comments and to incorporate changes where necessary.

Washington College

Letter from Washington College
• See attached.
Staff Comments
• See attached.
Planning Commission Comments
• Issue 1: Agree with Staff Comments

• Issue 2: Agree with Staff Comments, noting that Washington College is welcome to perform a study of the LaMotte Area at any time. Mr. Grotsky stated that rezoning cannot take place unless there was a change or mistake, which has not happened. He said that the proper time to discuss the change in zoning was during Comprehensive Rezoning in 2017.

• Mr. Joe Holt of Washington College was present and stated that he wanted to clarify that the College was not asking for a change in zoning, but for the Commission to adopt the LaMotte parcel as an area to study for C-1 zoning which would set the stage for a formal request of rezoning in 2017. He said that the current language in the Comprehensive Plan was restrictive and it would not be responsible of the College to spend money on a study if the Commission would not be receptive to a change in zoning.

• The consensus of the Commission was to deny the request to change zoning to C-1 on the Future Land Use Map for the LaMotte property as requested.

• Issue 3: Agree with Staff Comments. Recommend that the Commission support the Arts & Entertainment District Designation with a letter of support to go with the application.

• Issue 4: Agree with Staff to deny this request with resubmittal prior to the request of the next Comprehensive Rezoning.

• Requests were made for other changes to the Comprehensive Plan which were reasonable and could be incorporated into the plan. The Commission agreed with Staff Comments on the semantic changes to the Plan.

Public Arts Master Plan

PAMP
• Overlaps with the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Element by introducing a more detailed vision for the waterfront and Stepne walking trails, rerouting Cross Street extension, potential development patterns for Stepne, and the creation of a greenway connection between Wilmer Park and the Rail Trail.
Staff Comments:
• Request that Mayor and Council adopt the PAMP as an Appendix to the Comprehensive Plan.
• Clarify that the PAMP is a study and not prescriptive, particularly in regard to Stepne and the College’s waterfront properties.
• Extend Mill Street into Stepne as shown in the PAMP map and previously discussed by the PC, but not shown in the Transportation Map.
• Incorporate the other elements of the PAMP road proposals that are central to the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, such as the axis from the Stepne Manor house to Cross Street (i.e. the current access road).
• Consider the extension of Cross Street through Stepne as shown.
Planning Commission Comments:
• A footnote shall be added to the Public Arts Master Plan stating that the elements in the Plan were what should be considered, not necessarily the entire document. This Public Arts Master Plan will not be an appendix, but will be referenced in the appendix of the Comprehensive Plan.

Talbot Road, LLC

Public Comments
• Request for change to Future Land Use Map and text for the owners of Talbot Road property to reflect change of use proposed for the rear where the property adjoins the Rail Trail.
• Letters of support from Peoples Bank, Roger D. Brown and Pete Weed.
• Neil Brayton thinks that if zoning is changed, it should be extended to Rt. 213 (has since called Mr. de Mooy to say he was happy with current RB zoning and did not want the zoning to change)
• James Judge, Radcliffe Creek School, expressed concern about high density residential on Talbot Blvd.
• Pat Clarke, Kent County Commission on Aging spoke in favor of multi-family housing for seniors.
Staff Comments:
• Grant or deny the request.
• Consider access to the site from Talbot Boulevard and Speer Road, and effects on the intersection for Talbot Road and Morgnec Road.
Planning Commission Comments:
• The consensus of the Commission was that they were in favor of the requests from Talbot Road, LLC and to grant the request for the change to the Future Land Use Map.

Law Offices of Stephen Z. Meehan

Public Comments:
• Change future Land Use Map for property at corner of Cromwell Clark Road and Flatland Road to allow medium density residential for consistency with the adjacent Coventry III parcel.
Staff Comments:
• Grant or deny the request.
Planning Commission Comments:
• The consensus of the Commission was to change the zoning to R-4 as requested on the Future Land Use Map to match the zoning with the adjacent Coventry III parcel.

Washington Avenue Neighborhood Association

Public Comments
• Colin McRae thought that there should be a “Gateway” designation for the two blocks, a truck route established to avoid this area and zero tolerance for speeding. There should be pedestrian crossing and traffic calming measures installed.
• Barbara Jorgensen agreed with the creation of a “Gateway” designation, the enforcement of speed limits, safe pedestrian crossing installed, as well as instituting a new traffic route for commercial traffic.
• Sylvia Maloney spoke in favor of the same issues as did Bart Stolp and Carol Mylander.
Staff Comments:
• Are these requests pertinent to the Comprehensive Plan draft? Establishing gateways, enforcement of speed limits and pedestrian crossing are not.
• The bypass issue is addressed in the Transportation element and the Executive Summary, where it is given the highest priority.
Planning Commission Comments:
• The Planning Commission empathizes with the issues presented by the Washington Avenue Neighborhood Association, but is not empowered to make the changes requested by this group.

Chestertown Bypass

Public Comments:
• Ted Byrne commented that commercial and motorcycle traffic must be rerouted via an expressway or parkway.
• Linda Cramer (Queen Anne County Resident) spoke against the bypass near her home and was opposed to annexation.
Staff Comments:
• The bypass issue is addressed in the Transportation Element and the Executive Summary.
Planning Commission Comments:
• Agree with Staff Comments.

Sea Level Rising

Public Comments:
• Alice Macnow suggested increasing the buffer to 200 feet, noting that FEMA must redo the 100 year flood map. She thought a committee should be formed to look at his issue.
Staff Comments:
• Changing the buffer requires a text amendment to the Floodplain Management Ordinance, which is initiated by the Mayor and Council. FEMA has already updated the maps, and those went into effect earlier this year.
Planning Commission Comments:
• Agree with Staff Comments

Public Comments

Liz Gross asked for updates for stormwater control at Kent Plaza, the Police Station Study to be included in the plan and recommended an increased emphasis on sidewalks.

Staff Comments:
• Address as needed in the Comprehensive Plan.
Planning Commission Comments:
• Agree with Staff Comments.

CORRECTIONS TO ZONING MAP

Mr. de Mooy stated that one of the ways that zoning can be changed is if there was a mistake made in the zoning map. He said that there were some mistakes that have come to light and the map should be corrected as follows:

1. Flatland Road where three (3) parcels (including Courtney Welding) had been changed to R-4 as the result of a mistake in mapping. There were no requests to change the zoning on those parcels and no documentation exists supporting a change in zoning. The map should be changed to reflect the three (3) properties as LI-2

2. South Mill Street from the back of the property owned by Tyler Campbell on High Street along that side of the block to the corner of Mill and High Street are shown as RB but they were actually zoned R-5. There was no request to change the zoning on those parcels and no documentation exists supporting a change in zoning. The map should be changed to reflect those properties at R-5.

3. & 4. There are two (2) lots on Rt. 213 and Rt. 291 (LaMotte) that the Planning Commission listed as Institutional, but at the end of the zoning process the Mayor and Council changed the zoning to RB.

5. A flag-shaped lot that is owned by Washington College on Quaker Neck Road should be changed from CM to Institutional.

Mr. Showalter moved to approve the map changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Map as outlined by Mr. de Mooy, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT MAP

Mr. de Mooy stated that setting the boundaries for the A&E District was part of the process for the designation through the Maryland Council for the Arts. He said that the designation would be used to attract artists as well as an economic development tool. He said that the draft map essentially included the Downtown Commercial and R-5 District where artists can live and create their work.

Mr. de Mooy explained the tax credits that were available to those artists and owners of buildings that housed arts and entertainment could benefit from if the Town was designated an Arts & Entertainment District. He said that this was an incentive to get arts related enterprises into Town.

Mr. Showalter asked why the designation was only downtown. Mr. de Mooy stated that the A&E District encouraged infill development and artists buying properties and renovating an area. He said that the area is also where home-based businesses were permitted. Mr. Showalter stated that he hoped that people left out of the area did not feel as though they were missing out on a tax incentive.

Mr. de Mooy stated that an Arts and Entertainment District did not decrease any of the existing tax base for Chestertown.

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

Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky
Stenographer Chair

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