Chairman Jeffery Grostky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were members David Bowering, Darell Craig, Morgan Ellis, Rob Fordi and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Andrew C. Meehan, Esquire and guests.
MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Ms. Ellis asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of February 18, 2015. Ms. Ellis moved to accept the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Fordi and carried unanimously.
WASHINGTON COLLEGE – 300 WASHINGTON AVENUE – NEW DORMITORY BUILDING – PRELIMINARY/FINAL SITE PLAN REVIEW
Mr. Reid Raudenbush of Washington College and Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates were present for the application. He said that in December of 2006 the College came before the Planning Commission for a three (3) building residential approval. He said that in February 2007 the College was given preliminary approval for all three (3) buildings, but in June 2007 they removed one of the three (3) and only built two (2). He said that he was back tonight for permission to build the third building that was originally part of the application.
Mr. Raudenbush showed photographs of the actual buildings now on Campus that were named Chester Hall and Sassafras Hall. He said that the third building would look identical to the two (2) buildings that now existed and will run east and west of those buildings. The only difference is that the lounge will be in the center of the building looking down through the quad to the field. The new dormitory would be called Bohemia Hall. The same builders would be used to construct Bohemia Hall, which will house approximately one hundred nine (109) students.
Mr. Raudenbush stated that the building would be brick with a standing seam metal roof in gray with white accents, double-hung windows and three (3) stories high. The geothermal and other infrastructure for all three (3) buildings was constructed when the first two buildings were erected. He said that they were hoping to begin the build in June 2015 and finish in July 2016 for occupancy in the fall of 2016.
Mr. Shearon stated that storm water management for the project was designed for all three (3) buildings in 2007. Since that time, there have been changes to the storm water management regulations and Soil Conservation Service has accepted (in concept) a modification to the existing pond that would provide better water quality.
Mr. Raudenbush stated that the College was excited to have extra bed space as a way to periodically take older residence halls offline for needed renovations. He said that the College was at full capacity.
Mr. Craig asked if the building followed current regulations for fire sprinklers. Mr. Raudenbush stated that the buildings would have sprinklers, noting that sprinklers were also installed in the other two buildings. He said that construction drawings would reflect current codes before they were submitted to the Town for a permit. Mr. de Mooy stated that the most current International Building Code was what the Town followed.
Mr. Fordi moved to grant preliminary and final site plan, contingent on approval of the storm water management plan by Kent Soil Conservation, was seconded by Ms. Richman and carried unanimously.
WASHINGTON SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER – VERIZON WIRELESS BUILDING – CONCEPT PLAN
Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates was present for the application representing Dennis Silicato, owner of the Washington Square Shopping Center.
Mr. Shearon stated that pad site was a little over an acre and located in the area of the UPS Store and Towne Stationers. He said that this build was a joint effort by Townewood Enterprises and Dennis Silicato to lease a portion of the property for a stand-alone 1,500 square foot Verizon store.
Mr. Shearon stated that the owners of the pad site would like to retain parking around the building, which would be constructed on top of existing impervious asphalt. There was an existing portion of the parking lot that would be returned to landscaped area and the main entrance of the Verizon store would face the shopping center. A secondary entrance exists on what would be the side entrance of the building.
Mr. Shearon stated that the site would require thirty-seven (37) parking spaces and they were providing thirty-four (34) in this plan. He said that the parcel had a recorded agreement with the Washington Square Shopping Center for overflow parking.
Mr. de Mooy asked if there was any modification to the existing ingress point to the proposed pad site from the shopping center. Mr. Shearon stated that there was not. He said the owner of the pad site thought it would be too restrictive so the entrance would be open from the shopping center parking lot.
Mr. Fordi suggested the addition of a small island to help define the travel aisle.
Mr. de Mooy stated that signage would be an issue to address, noting that there were already issues with signage at the site at Kent Plaza. Lighting would also have to be addressed.
Mr. Shearon stated that he would like to return and request preliminary and final site plan approval at the same meeting, in order to get in line with the overall repaving of the parking lot that was planned.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN REVISIONS
Mr. Grotsky stated that at the last meeting of the Mayor and Council, the Washington Avenue Neighborhood Association and Washington College had proposed additions to the Comprehensive Plan. He said that Councilmember Kuiper motioned to send the Comprehensive Plan back to the Planning Commission with a recommendation that the Commission incorporate the verbiage suggested by the Washington Avenue residents and Washington College’s recommendation to add the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone as a Priority Action item.
Mr. de Mooy stated that RISE (Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise) Zones, were brought about by State legislation to create enterprise zones that were sponsored by a local institution (Washington College in this case) that would create tax incentives for job-creating businesses that locate to that designated zone. He said that this would be a cooperative effort with the Town to establish the outlines of the District and could be added on page 16 after the “Arts and Entertainment District Zone” by inserting the following:
“Explore the feasibility of a Regional Institution Enterprise or RISEZ zone to facilitate economic development and promote tourism.”
He said this additional designation will further promote economic development that the Town would look at it after the College made a formal proposal to the Planning Commission and Town Council.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the proposed insert for Washington Avenue was not verbatim the wording that was suggested by WANA on page 39, under the Community Character section, and the following is proposed to be inserted:
“The section of Washington Avenue from Spring Street to Greenwood Avenue is a residential neighborhood that is part of the Chestertown Historic District. It is distinguished by being an avenue of turn-of-the-century Victorian houses between two major North South Gateways to Chestertown. It is also a State highway bearing increasing volumes of private and commercial traffic. The Town will seek ways to preserve and improve the residential character of the historic neighborhood and to enlist the State’s help in making improvements to pedestrian and traffic safety and control, sidewalks and pavements.”
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Sustainable Communities Action Plan, was added in the last section of the Comprehensive Plan in the list of planning documents to be adopted by reference. It prequalifies the Town for grants that are vital for the Town for neighborhood revitalization and other activities, and should be added to the list.
Mr. Fordi moved to add the additions as proposed and send the document back to the Mayor and Council for their review and approval, was seconded by Mr. Craig and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Craig moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:07 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky