2019, Planning Commission|


JULY 17, 2019

 Chairman Jeffery Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  In attendance were Commission members Rob Busler, David Bowering, Jane Richman and Paul Showalter, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.


Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Planning Commission meeting of June 19, 2019.  Mr. Showalter moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

 The Commission welcomed Mr. Busler to the Commission.


Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates was present for the application along with Kate Gray, Bryan Matthews, John Johansen and Chris Holmes of KRM.

Mr. Shearon stated that Lot 6 was the strip of land from Warner Drive in front of the headquarters building to Rt. 213 consisting of approximately 33 acres.  This subdivision request divided the 33 acre parcel into 5 lots.  Lot 6 will be the location of the athletic center building and consisted of 8.5 acres.  With the additional right-of-way for new Town streets, lots 7, 8 and 9 would be created.  Dixon Square itself will be considered lot 10 although there was no construction planned for it.  Dixon would prefer to own that lot rather than have it become a park, so that they can use it for their own company functions.

Mr. Shearon showed the original Master Plan and the location for the proposed fitness center.  He said that they were seeking preliminary approval for the Fitness Center, including the intersection of Warner Drive, the section of road paralleling Rt. 213 and road improvements along Rt. 213.  He said that the road network and the Rt. 213 entrance were reviewed earlier when the headquarters building was presented and approved.

Mr. Shearon stated that the submittal to SHA has been made and initial comments have been received and were under review.  He said that he was hoping he would have final approval for the fitness center from the Town and finish the Rt. 213 road improvements before the fitness center was ready for occupancy.

Mr. Shearon stated that there was a statement of intent included in the submission packet indicating KRM’s request for relief for setback requirements at the fitness center.  Mr. Shearon stated that the Mayor and Council approved a text amendment allowing the Planning Commission to be able to modify the setbacks at their discretion to allow more compact development in LI-2.

Mr. Shearon stated that the fitness center was on a corner lot, therefore having 2 front yards. He showed slides of the original concept and how the development has progressed over time.  He said that the current layout has the parking lot connecting to Dixon Square rather than in front of the headquarters building.  The proposed building is 53,000 sq.ft. and although there is no standard for an athletic facility in the parking regulations, there were a total of 94 parking spaces shown in the preliminary plan (including 5 handicap spaces).  Mr. Matthews stated that there were 40 spaces at the existing wellness center on High Street.

Mr. Shearon showed the road networks.  He said that the SHA road improvements begin by the Auto Zone with accel/decel lanes.  He also showed the water and sewer access lines behind the Redner’s Shopping Center.  Mr. Shearon stated that the gravity sewer was taken as far northward as it could go and that anything built beyond that would require a pump station.

Mr. Shearon stated that stormwater management requirements were addressed with a series of bioretention ponds on site before any discharge will take place.  The fitness center building drains toward Rt. 213 where a pond will be constructed.  He said that runoff cannot increase to the state highway.  The pond was designed for the volume needed but will likely be split into 2 ponds at either side of the front entrance road framing Dixon Square.  There will be a smaller pond at the lowest spot on the site.  Details on the ponds will be shown at final site plan review.

Mr. Shearon stated that the street tree patterns mimics species and spacing of the existing trees on Haacke Drive Extended and Warner Drive.  The landscaping plan for the fitness center building was shown.  The shade trees framing Dixon Square were shown as well and he said that the footprint of the grass on Dixon Square was about an acre and one-third and stormwater management was kept out of that area so that it could remain a functional square.

Mr. Shearon showed the lighting plans and said that streetlights, on-site lights and walkway and wall-mounted lights were in the plans, all of which will mimic the other approved lighting in the development.

Mr. Shearon stated that the setback requirement for Dixon Drive and Warner Drive is 50’.  He said that the fitness center is a corner lot and that the applicant is requesting the Planning Commission allow a reduction in setback to 44’ from the building façade to the Dixon Square right-of-way line and to 18’ from the Warner Drive right-of-way line to the building.  Mr. Shearon stated that there were examples shown at an earlier meeting of other buildings in Town with similar setbacks.

Mr. Shearon showed the draft architectural renderings of the Wellness Center and said that they were working on final details including materials.  Mr.  Shearon stated that this would be a one-story building including a gymnasium.  Mr. Busler asked if rooflines could be oriented so they could benefit from a solar array in the future.  Mr. Matthews stated that he did speak to the engineer about solar and the largest issue was that according to the information received in soil testing they would have to reengineer the entire building.  Ms. Gray stated that the Distribution Center was engineered for future solar which would be enough to handle solar for the entire development as the roof is 4 acres.  She said that solar rebates weren’t in place when the distribution center was built and therefore not incorporated into the plan, but it was on their radar.

Mr. Showalter asked about signage at the entrances to the business park.  Mr. Shearon stated that signage has not been addressed but it would be presented to the Commission later.

Mr. de Mooy asked if there was a visualization from the curb line with the smaller setbacks for the fitness center.  Mr. Shearon stated that he did not have that rendering but he would bring it for final site plan approval.  Mr. Showalter asked for a construction timeline.  Mr. Shearon stated that he hoped to be back by September for final site plan and said that construction would likely begin this fall.

Mr. Busler asked for more detail on the stormwater management plan.  Mr. Shearon stated that the stormwater would be on each side of the entrance to Dixon Square with the ultimate outfall to the larger stormwater management pond on the other side of Rt. 213 by the Crestview subdivision.

Mr. Busler asked if parking would be allowed on both side of the streets in the development.  Mr. Shearon stated that there was some parking on Dixon Square.  He said that some of the streets were one-way roads with parking on one side.  The streets would be dedicated to the Town and it would be up to the Town to decide if parking was permitted on the main roads (Warner Drive and Haacke Drive Extended).

Mr. Shearon stated that there would be sidewalks along both sides of Warner Drive to the parking lot and in front of the headquarter building at Dixon Square with connections to the buildings.  He said that as development took place the sidewalk network will extend accordingly.  The distribution center has sidewalks from the corner all the way around the parking lot and along the side and front of the headquarters which will connect to Dixon Square.  Sidewalk is already installed on Haacke Drive extended.  Mr. de Mooy suggested bike racks in front of the athletic center.  Mr. Matthews stated that he expected to have bike racks in place.

Mr. Showalter asked about a traffic light along Rt. 213.  A traffic study was completed before the development began with traffic coming in from Scheeler Road and at Rt. 213.  Based on the proposed uses, a traffic signal was not warranted at that time but the way that access permits are written, at any time in the future if a light is warranted the developer is responsible to install it.

Mr. Showalter moved to approve the preliminary subdivision plan for Lot 6 of the Chestertown Business Campus as presented, was seconded by Mr. Busler and carried unanimously.

Mr. Showalter moved to approve preliminary site plan for the Kent Wellness Center at the Chestertown Business Campus including the with a reduction in setbacks as proposed, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.


Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates was present for the application, along with Kate Gray, John Johansen and Chris Holmes of KRM Construction,

Mr. Shearon showed the Commission a subdivision sheet which created 8 new single-family lots and a proposed right-of-way for a 24’ alley.  He said that 5 houses will face Cannon Street and 3 will front the alley.

Mr. Busler asked if there were any changes discussed when the applicant was in for preliminary approval.  Mr. Grotsky stated that there was little change from the original plan although there was a lot of discussion at the first meeting.  Ms. Mulligan stated that that the motion was to approve the preliminary site plan as submitted.

Mr. Shearon stated that the subdivision plan did not change from their appearance in May 2019 and each house met all requirements onsite for a single-family house.  There was one lot that met the definition of a corner lot by Code.  The alley will have a 24’ right of way with pavement 18’ wide sloping toward the Rail-Trail for stormwater management into a graded-out area designed to accept the runoff from the road into the adjacent swale.  Each property will handle its stormwater on site.

Mr. Bowering asked what the Historic District Commission’s role was in the process.  Ms. Mulligan stated that the Historic District Commission will review the architecture.  The Planning Commission is to review the overall site but will not review any structures as they will be reviewed by the HDC one by one as lots are purchased and developed.

Mr. Shearon stated that the stormwater retention area will be considered a rain garden that will be planted with landscaping to absorb and purify the water.  An easement will be created for stormwater management which will be owned by the future owners of lot 6, and put into a deed restriction, unless the Town wanted to take ownership.  Mr. Shearon stated that KRM Construction will build the alley at the time lot 5 is constructed.

Mr. Shearon stated that one of the main changes from preliminary approval was the approach to water and sewer as the laterals ran to Cannon Street.  He said that the gravity sewer line will connect at one location on Cannon Street and run to the alley and serve all 8 lots from the main.  Water laterals will still run to Cannon Street as shown in the original drawings.

Mr. Grotsky stated that he lived on Radcliffe Drive and was concerned for the house on Lot 8, as the owners may not want to enter off Radcliffe Drive due to the curve in the road.  Mr. Shearon stated that the front of Lot 8 will likely face Kent Street and enter from the alley.  Mr. Grotsky suggested looking closer at that lot for the best way to enter and exit.

Mr. Busler asked how the alley and sidewalk widths were decided.  Mr. de Mooy stated that the widths were approved by Mr. Ingersoll as the Town would adopt the interior road when the project was finished.  Off-street parking and garages for all lots will be accessed through the alley.  Lot 6 and 7 will have the front façade facing the Rail-Trail.

Mr. Shearon reviewed the sediment control details and showed an aerial view.

Ms. Richman asked who would maintain the 10’ right-of-way by the Rail-Trail.  Mr. Shearon stated that if the owner was going to be asked to maintain the right-of-way it would have to be written in the deed.

Mr. Busler asked how Mr. Shearon determined that Lot 6 is a corner lot.  Mr. de Mooy stated that he did not believe Lot 6 was a corner lot, as a corner lot must be at the intersection of two streets.

Mr. Shearon stated that there is no curb planned for Kent Street and said that the sidewalk exists on Cannon Street.  Radcliffe Drive did not have sidewalk.  Mr. Busler stated that he thought there should be sidewalk along Kent Street in order to tie the development together with the Town as there is sidewalk on other streets in the area.  Ms. Gray stated that they could investigate incorporating sidewalk from Cannon Street to Radcliffe, but she did not think it was necessary.  Mr. de Mooy stated that there was no sidewalk along Radcliffe Drive.  Mr. Busler stated that there were no sidewalks on this area of Kent Street, and he thought the sidewalks should be a minimum requirement.

Mr. Shearon stated that the rain garden will be shown on the construction documents and in the subdivision plan.  Mr. Shearon stated that the interior road would be built to Town standards.

Mr. Showalter asked what would happen if lot 8 was removed from the plan altogether.  Ms. Gray stated that the original plan had 22 houses planned for the site and that there was a great deal of time spent designing a viable plan with 8 lots which had been carefully crafted to fit this unique site.  Each site was designed wide enough for a first-floor master and parking onsite for 2 cars.

Mr. Busler moved to approve final site plan with the rain garden location as described and sidewalk to be added along Kent Street from Cannon Street to the southwest corner of lot 8, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously. 

In discussion, Mr. Grotsky stated that the sidewalk could enhance the use of the Rail-Trail.  Mr. Showalter stated that the sidewalk would draw the project together and would be good for Chestertown.

There being no further business, Mr. Showalter moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                           Jeffrey Grotsky

Stenographer                                                   Chair


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