PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
JANUARY 18, 2023
Morgan Ellis (Chair) called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Tony D’Elia, Jeffery Grotsky, John Hutchison, Jay Silcox, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), and Lynda Thomas (Town Clerk).
Ms. Ellis asked if there were any corrections or revisions to the minutes of the meeting of December 21, 2022. Mr. D’Elia moved to approve the minutes as corrected, was seconded by Mr. Grotsky. The motion carried unanimously.
PARKING RATIFICATION – CHESTER RIVER LANDING
Mr. Brent Paquin, Paquin Design/Build, presented the parking plan for Chester River Landing. He reviewed plans to make minor adjustments to garages and surrounding areas to create two (2) parking spots per unit. Mr. Paquin reviewed the proposed change to unit 11’s parking spaces that would create adequate spaces for units 12 and 13. He noted that this plan has been reviewed by the Council of Unit Owners.
Mr. Larry Hutchison, member of the Chester River Landing Council of Unit Owners, reviewed and asked for the Commission’s support, for when they go before the Town to ask for relief with snow plowing, trash pickup, water and sewer maintenance, road completion and parking development.
Mr. Larry Hutchison stated that the Chester River Landing Board is favorably inclined toward Mr. Paquin’s most recent plan of 14 units with two (2) parking spaces but feel they are still three (3) parking spaces short at units 12 and 13.
Mr. Larry Hutchison reviewed the trash/dumpster issue and noted that the Board reached out to Paquin to purchase Lot 40 for parking and a place for a dumpster.
Mr. Larry Hutchison reviewed that the pathway to the boat slips runs through Unit 1’s property. The Board would like to move and establish a new pathway, which would also allow for three (3) single parking spaces.
Mr. Silcox made a motion to approve the parking plan as submitted. The motion was seconded by Mr. D’Elia and passed unanimously.
CONCEPT PLAN – WASHINGTON SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER
Mr. Greg Torchio, architect and Mr. Kevin Shearon, engineer, presented a concept plan for the Washington Square Shopping Center, a two-story building to replace the section that burned in 2022.
Mr. Shearon reviewed the concept plan to include commercial units on the first floor and add two floors with 24 apartments. He noted that there are currently 540 marked parking spaces and according to the Building Code there should be 612. With the rebuild and addition of apartments, the code will require 663 parking spaces. The rebuild has the potential for commercial frontage at the back of the building, and the concept plan included 31 new parking spaces to accommodate the businesses and apartment renters. Mr. Silcox raised concern regarding the sharp turn next to Luisa’s. Mr. Shearon stated that some areas can be striped and/or designated as no parking areas.
Mr. Torchio reviewed the pedestrian connection between the apartments and the sidewalk that will run northward on the opposite side of the rear of the building towards the new Kent County Family YMCA. He reviewed the plan to show views of the approach to the block from Scheeler Road and from the Washington Square shopping center to the proposed plaza between the future site of Uncle Charlie’s Bistro and the apartments. Mr. Torchio also reviewed the design of the building and materials to be used. Several Commission members voiced their full support for the proposed building.
ADUs and COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Owen Bailey stated that the Mayor and Council had voted to have the Planning Commission review the Zoning Ordinance section on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Mr. de Mooy said that he had spoken with Mayor David Foster and that Mr. Foster had agreed that that review should take place when the Planning Commission undertakes the Comprehensive Plan update, which will be starting soon. The revised Comprehensive Plan will include a newly mandated chapter on housing, and the ADU discussion can take place within that context as there are many related issues. Mr. Bailey stated that he would reach out to David Dahlstrom, the Maryland Department of Planning contact for Kent, Caroline, Cecil and Queen Anne’s Counties to see whether he could make a presentation to the Commission on ADUs and the Comprehensive Plan review process. Mr. de Mooy said that Mr. Dahlstrom had provided him with Comprehensive Plan examples from other municipalities and that these will be useful as references.
There being no further business or questions from the audience, Mr. D’Elia moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:13 pm, was seconded by Mr. Bailey and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk Morgan Ellis, Chair