APRIL 15, 2015
Chairman Jeffery Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were members Darell Craig, Morgan Ellis and Paul Showalter, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Andrew C. Meehan, Esquire, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk, and guests.
MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Ms. Ellis asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of March 18, 2015. Mr. Craig moved to accept the minutes with a correction to a name, was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
CONCEPT PLAN – KENT PLAZA – TRACTOR SUPPLY
Mr. de Mooy stated that this concept review was in that site plan approval has been given for previous work done by the owner of the Kent Plaza shopping center as part of the Acme expansion.
Mr. de Mooy stated that Tractor Supply is a national chain that has a particular style of store which includes outdoor storage. Trailers and other materials are typically stored in corrals and, in this case, it would have reduced the amount of parking directly in front of the store. Tractor Supply has agreed to move most of the storage indoors.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there would be a permanent storage area for parking of trailers, outlined in pink on the first page of the plans submitted to the Commission. He said that outdoor storage was permitted in the zoning for the C-1 District under certain conditions that include screening from the adjacent areas, which consists of fencing or landscaping.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the configuration of the new store creates a hazardous ingress situation at the Morgnec Road entrance. A 6,700 foot store at the corner closest to Morgnec Road would have an entrance insufficiently far from the intersection, thus creating an unsafe crossing for pedestrians who need to cross the entrance area.
Mr. John Peters, Director of Construction for the Cordish Company, was present for the application. He said that before he gave his presentation he wanted to apologize for the last time that the Cordish Company came before the Planning Commission. He said that mistakes were made by his company and he was hoping that it could be put to rest and everyone involved could move forward.
Mr. Peters stated that he was negotiating with Tractor Supply and in order to proceed with a lease, Tractor Supply would like certain items in writing. The first was that outdoor sidewalk sales would be permitted. He said that he was requiring that pedestrian flow or other hazards be avoided by installing a 5’ clear access directly in front of the building. Outdoor displays would not impede intrude on the required 5’ of sidewalk.
Mr. Peters stated that Tractor Supply would have to provide an appropriately screened, landscaped area where they were proposing the trailer display area. He said that trailers only would be parked in the section on the Morgnec Road side as shown on the plans. He said that Anthony’s Landscaping would perform the landscaping work and he did not think that a fence was the right idea for Morgnec Road.
Mr. Peters stated that the other part of the landscaping was the raised landscape bed between the shopping center and Walgreen’s. He said additional parking could be added against that wall if the Commission was concerned over losing parking at the dedicated area for trailer parking.
Mr. Peters requested a letter from the Zoning Administrator expressing that the items mentioned would be permitted at the Kent Plaza Shopping Center.
Mr. Peters stated that bringing the Tractor Supply to Chestertown would bring back the lost jobs from Rose’s closing. He said that he hoped to get the shopping center back to at least 90% occupancy.
Mr. Grotsky asked if the landscaping plan would come before the Commission. Mr. Peters stated that he would return to the Commission for approvals. Mr. de Mooy asked about the plan for landscaping that was already submitted. Mr. Peters stated that was part of a larger site plan for the entire shopping center. Mr. de Mooy asked if that plan would be acceptable to the tenant. Mr. Peters stated that he thought the landscaping could be even denser than what was submitted.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the plan submitted called for Winterberry, Knock-Out Roses, and Wax Myrtle which were attractive plants and would look nice on site. Mr. Peters stated that there was a program in place for all Cordish-owned shopping centers for four season color. He said Kent Plaza would be incorporated into that program.
Mr. Showalter stated that he would like to see the area along Morgnec filled in with plantings as he did not think that people would look for trailers from the road. He said that access to the store from Morgnec Road may be an issue and suggested that the existing entrance for Rose’s be used by Tractor Supply. He also suggested something be installed to bring attention to the corner entrance way in order to set apart the trailer storage from the main entrance. Mr. Peters agreed, noting that was one of the reasons he wanted to add 5’ to the sidewalk in front.
Ms. Ellis asked Mr. de Mooy if there were SHA requirements for landscaping. Mr. de Mooy stated that there would be requirements if this was a new site plan for the shopping center, then SHA would be involved in the process, but this was not the case.
Ms. Ellis stated that the entrance off of Morgnec Road was dangerous and she was not convinced of the pedestrian safety at that entrance and said that she would like traffic calming devices to be installed. Mr. Craig added that there was only space at that entrance to queue two (2) cars and said that there should be space for four (4) to five (5) cars.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the goal for this evening was for the Commission to agree that the permanent storage in front of the store and trailer storage along Morgnec was acceptable under appropriate conditions. He said that he was ready to write the letter with the provision that the applicant return with a landscaping plan that satisfies the Planning Commission and that they keep the 5’ ADA requirement for the sidewalk storage.
Mr. Showalter stated that lighting was a concern for the area off of Morgnec Road, especially where the trailers would be stored.
Mr. Grotsky encouraged Mr. Peters to continue to work with Mr. de Mooy for the success of the shopping center.
Mr. Showalter stated that he wanted it officially on the record that the Planning Commission was thankful to Mr. de Mooy for his work on the Comprehensive Plan. He said he worked tirelessly on the document and his work was appreciated. Mr. Grotsky stated that he would like to amend that to include Ms. Mulligan as she kept everyone straight on dates and public hearings and was always willing to help the Commission. Mr. Showalter agreed.
There being no further business, Ms. Ellis moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:07 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky