OCTOBER 21, 2020
Chair Jeffery Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Darell Craig, Morgan Ellis, John Hutchison and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or correction of the minutes of Planning Commission Meeting of August 19, 2020. Mr. Bailey moved to approve the minutes of the meeting as presented, was seconded by Ms. Ellis, and carried unanimously.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there was no meeting of the Planning Commission Meeting in September.
YMCA/KRM – CORNER OF HAACKE DRIVE and SCHEELER ROAD – FINAL SITE PLAN
Mr. Jesse Barnes of KRM, Brian Hutchison of Becker Morgan, and Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates were present for the application.
Mr. Shearon stated that preliminary approval for the YMCA building was approved in May 2020. He said that a final lot line adjustment approval was received in August 2020 for the site. An early grading plan was approved to beat the oncoming winter weather and preparation of the building site has begun.
Mr. Shearon stated that the site is 4.83 acres after the lot line adjustment, zoned RB, which allows for the YMCA use. The final floor area calculation is 57,274 sq.ft. He said that he discussed parking requirements with Mr. Ingersoll (Town Manager) earlier in the week and Mr. Ingersoll agreed that he was conservative in his calculations and felt as though the 1 space per 100 sq.ft. rule for this large of a building was more than what was needed for this facility. Mr. Shearon stated that the YMCA is asking for a reduction in the number of spaces to a total of 123, which by experience of the YMCA is adequate for the use of the community but may require a waiver approval by the Commission.
Mr. Shearon stated that access to the site will be from two locations on Scheeler Road and there is access in the back for deliveries. Trash corrals are in the back of the building. Most of the vehicular circulation will be off Scheeler Road. There is an existing sidewalk network around the facility, and it will be added to and extended from the business campus to the intersection with a new dual crosswalk at Scheeler and Haacke which will provide direct access to the front door. Sidewalks will also be added throughout the site for people once they park their cars.
Mr. Shearon stated that there is a bike rack proposed by the front of the building, installed under an overhang to provide shelter.
Mr. Shearon stated that there were a variety of different stormwater management practices on site as there is a fair amount of impervious cover. There will be bioretention areas and storage wetlands emptying to an existing step-pool on the other side of Rt. 213. There is an area of permeable pavers along Haacke and Scheeler Drive as they could not add a bioretention area at that location due to underground utilities. Stormwater management and sediment erosion control plans for this phase have been approved for initial grading of the site and the signed plans for the rest of the stormwater management proposal was signed and approved today.
Mr. Shearon stated that sewer to the building will come in from Scheeler Road and from Haacke Drive. A 6” line will enter the building to serve fire sprinkler flow and a 4” line will go to the water meter for domestic water.
Mr. Shearon showed the landscaping plan developed for the site. Trees and shrubs were mainly native species. All species used in the stormwater management areas are native. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Tree Committee will approve the landscaping plan.
Mr. Shearon presented a lighting plan and said that the lighting will match all other lighting on the business campus. Lights are LED and are dark sky compatible. Lighting fixtures will be approximately 20’ from the ground.
Mr. Shearon reviewed the building elevations, noting that the materials are in keeping with the rest of the campus with brick, masonry and glass.
Mr. Shearon stated that the traffic impact study was forwarded to the Commission earlier where they swapped out the earlier submitted apartments for the YMCA building. He said it did not include some of the other buildings that have not yet been built. Mr. Shearon stated that the original Phase I study measured traffic on Haacke and Scheeler Road and Phase II will be when the entrance is created from Rt. 213. He said that the original assumptions for the distribution center and apartment complex were updated to include the headquarter building, distribution center, Boss manufacturing building and the YMCA with an increase in the amount of trips by 150 peak morning trips which were applied to all intersections previously studies (Haacke and Scheeler, Rt. 213 and Haacke Drive, Scheeler and Morgnec Road and Rt. 213 and Morgnec Road). All continue to operate at a level of service B or better. Mr. Shearon stated that all traffic generated is not new because most building uses are not new traffic to Chestertown.
Mr. Hutchison asked if there was a road that was likely to be used the most to get in and out of the site. Mr. Shearon stated that he thought the model showed that, but he did not have it in front of him.
Mr. de Mooy asked what the projected timeframe was for making the connection to Rt. 213. Mr. Barnes stated that he was still working with State Highway Administration on some of the details of that entrance before they would know the anticipated timing of construction.
Mr. Craig asked who had the responsibility for stormwater management issues onsite. Mr. Shearon stated that whoever the ultimate owner of the property became is responsible but there is a requirement to sign and record a maintenance agreement for stormwater.
Mr. Craig stated that the lighting along the main roads was low over the sidewalk areas closest to the street. Mr. Shearon stated that he was mandated to cut foot candles off at the property line and not spill light over the property line, adding that there were existing streetlights on Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road that were not part of this plan.
Mr. Craig stated that he agreed that parking requirements were high, but he was not certain that the numbers provided would be enough. Mr. Bailey asked if there was on-street parking allowed. Mr. Shearon stated that on-street parking was allowed on both Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road. Mr. Barnes stated that the parking seemed consistent with what is available at the YMCA in Easton and parking is never an issue, even with their higher population. Ms. Mulligan asked if parking would be allowed on other lots in the business campus. Mr. Barnes stated that there was a great deal of parking on the campus and they did not want to create parking for Christmas and Easter. He said that there would be the ability to use other parking on the street.
Mr. de Mooy stated that uses in the building should also be considered, adding that staff would not be too high and there was a lot of space where the 1 person per 100 sq.ft. ratio should not be applied, such as the pool area. He said that he was inclined to follow the YMCA’s estimation on what works in other facilities. Mr. de Mooy stated that a high number of users is expected but they would not be there at the same times throughout the day. Mr. Hutchison stated that most people would only be parking for approximately 1 to 2 hour increments throughout the day.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he was hoping that bike linkages will be improved so people can ride their bikes to the center and the sidewalks lend to walkability from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Mr. Hutchison asked if there was a projected time that would be busiest throughout the day. Mr. Barnes stated that he would have to confirm that with the YMCA, but he thought it would be after school hours.
Mr. Bailey asked how many spaces were allotted for bicycles. Mr. Shearon stated that it has not been specified yet, but he thinks there will initially be 9 with plenty of room for additional if needed.
Mr. Hutchison asked if there would be charging stations for electric vehicles. Mr. Barnes stated that the plans do not reflect that, but the YMCA’s intention is to include charging stations.
Mr. Bailey stated that he admired the vehicle traffic flow from Scheeler Road with pedestrian entry from Haacke Drive. He said that he also appreciated the native trees.
Ms. Ellis stated that a resident questioned if there was discussion of what is proposed for recreation at the YMCA compared to what is available at the Kent Recreation Center with Kent County Parks and Recreation. Mr. Barnes stated that this issue was discussed with the YMCA and were hoping that with their new facility it would add a full complement of services for residents while not doubling up on something that exists and is working at the Kent County Recreation Center.
Mr. de Mooy stated that this was going to be a tremendous asset to the Chestertown and Kent County. Ms. Ellis complemented the YMCA and KRM for the nice design and how it fit into the rest of the site.
Mr. Hutchison asked if there had to be a formal motion to approve the parking. Mr. de Mooy stated that it could be worked into the motion as a waiver of required parking. He said that the Planning Commission has the right to waive parking requirements if there is believed to be sufficient parking both onsite and in the immediate vicinity (within a 300’ radius). Mr. Craig asked if a variance was required. Mr. Shearon stated that the Code spells out the Commission’s ability to waive parking requirements.
Mr. Hutchison asked the building occupancy rating. Mr. Brian Hutchison stated that he did not have the exact number, but it was a mix depending on uses, such as office space, assemble space, pool space and storage. He said that he would get the overall occupancy count to the Commission. Mr. Craig stated that it was important to know the overall occupancy because it seemed as though what they were being told was that 123 parking spaces would be enough to accommodate the use.
Mr. Brian Hutchison stated that generally there is not such a dense level of capacity in the building or the amount of people who will be using the building at one time. It was more to establish means of egress for worst case scenario if the building was fully packed. He said that day-to-day operations do not generate those types of number. Mr. John Hutchison agreed, stating that the amount of parking is going to be a fraction of the actual building occupancy load.
Mr. Grotsky asked if there would be a daycare facility in the building. Mr. Barnes stated that there is not a daycare. There are classes offered for children, but not a daycare facility where someone could drop-off their child and leave the premises.
Mr. Bailey motioned for final site plan approval as submitted, including the waiver of parking to 123 spaces, was seconded by Mr. Hutchison and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeff Grotsky
Town Clerk Chair