MAY 18, 2016
Mr. Jeff Grotsky, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members David Bowering, Darrell Craig, Morgan Ellis, Jane Richman and Paul Showalter, Kees de Mooy, Zoning Administrator, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk, and guests.
MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the meeting of April 20, 2016. Mr. Showalter moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.
VERIZON STORE – WASHINGTON SQUARE – MODIFICATIONS TO APPROVED PLAN
Mr. de Mooy stated that this was a minor change to the plan where the exterior facade would be raised from what was originally shown to the Commission. Mr. de Mooy stated that everything else on the plans was exactly the same.
Mr. Craig moved to accept the revisions to the Verizon Store as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
LOT-LINE ADJUSTMENT – CHURCH ALLEY AND COURT STREET
Mr. Bill Crowding was present for the application for a lot-line adjustment at 106 Church Alley. Mr. Crowding stated that Church Alley, LLC located at 106 Church Alley (Law Offices of Rasin & Wooten) and the parcel behind it (parcel 1148) was owned by Alex Rasin which was used as a parking lot for the business. There is a garage at the rear of the property used for storage. The applicants would like to add the garage to the parking lot parcel, which will be split as shown on the submitted plat. Ms. Wooten will own the garage and Ms. Rasin will own the office building fronting on Church Alley.
Mr. Craig asked if there were any issues with side or rear setbacks. Mr. de Mooy stated that there were no issues to be addressed.
Ms. Ellis moved to approve the lot-line adjustment as presented, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS – WASHINGTON AVENUE – PRELIMINARY SITE PLAN
Mr. Showalter recused himself from the application as he was employed by a competitor of Advance Auto Parts.
Mr. Andrew Collins of Larson Engineering was present for the application.
Mr. Collins stated that Advance Auto Parts was looking to remodel the vacant Happy Harry’s store at 905 Washington Avenue, creating two separate tenant spaces. Unit 1 is a 7,821 square foot Advanced Auto store and Unit 2 will be a 3,982 square foot tenant space.
Mr. Collins stated that a roll up door will be added to the rear of the building but otherwise the footprint will remain as is. He said that the parking area has 3 handicap spaces and 2 standard parking spots in the front. A handicap space will be removed on the side of the building, leaving 2 stalls with a drop-off and 4 standard spaces. A handicap space will be installed at the new tenant space and a handicap ramp will be added. He said the existing conditions were not ADA compliant and would be reworked.
Mr. Collins stated that the rear entrance will be widened for ease of tractor trailer parking. The site will lose 2 parking spaces overall going from 47 parking spaces to 45. A waiver was granted by the Planning Commission in December 2000 to allow 45 spaces. Calculations for the former Happy Harry’s were the same for the proposed use by Advance Auto Parts.
Mr. Collins showed architectural renderings of the building. The existing monument sign will be reused. Mr. de Mooy stated that the proposed changes are primarily cosmetic even with the creation of an additional unit. Mr. de Mooy stated that he had previously expressed concern over the existing landscaping. Mr. Collins stated that he did not have a proposal for landscaping although he knew that existing landscaping would be spruced up. Mr. Grotsky stated that he would like to see the landscaping plan, whether it was the previously approved plan or not. Mr. Collins stated that he would have someone look at the plans and certify that what was approved is in place and alive.
Mr. Collins stated that there was not a tenant for the additional space yet. He said that he assumed that the tenant would come in for a sign permit and interior drawings. Mr. Collins stated that the owner of the building is Primax Properties and Advance Auto would be leasing the space.
Mr. Craig asked if there would be any change to the lighting plan. Mr. Collins stated that the only change he knows about are the addition of a wall mounted light over the loading doors.
Mr. Craig moved to approve the preliminary site plan with the condition that the applicant return with landscaping and any lighting changes, keeping in mind to remain night sky compliant, was seconded by Ms. Richman and carried unanimously.
KRM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION – DIXON SQUARE WAREHOUSE – CONCEPT
Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates and Ms. Kate Gray of KRM were present for the application. Mr. Shearon stated that this was an informational meeting to give the Commission a view of a project coming into Town. He said that KRM and Dixon Valve have purchased approximately 80 acres north of Town bounded by Scheeler Road and Haacke Drive, including the former Wal-Mart property and property formerly owned by Dr. Brayton.
Mr. Shearon stated that the annexation process is ongoing and was introduced at the Mayor and Council meeting on Monday, May 16th. A traffic study is being conducted and a gravity sewer study is in the works.
Mr. Shearon stated that Urban Design Associates out of Pittsburgh have created a plan to incorporate KRM’s needs while staying sensitive to the surrounding areas in the Town and County. He said that the plan shows multi-family residential fronting on Haacke Drive with a transition zone of small office spaces. The main area of annexed property will be a corporate campus with entrances off of Rt. 213. The first of the industrial buildings will be a highly automated facility used for packaging and shipping. The other industrial building will be flex-commercial or flex-industrial.
Mr. Shearon stated that no action can be taken on the plans as it is not in Town yet, but they wanted to show the conceptual plans for the area. The first phase of the project after annexation would be an industrial building with a road connection from Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road and a temporary connection to Rt. 213 before the overall road system and the entrances are designed and constructed.
Mr. Showalter asked about timing for the project. Mr. Shearon stated that the annexation process will take some time, but after that the project would be broken into phases.
Mr. Craig asked how the County tied into the process. Mr. Shearon stated that the County was involved as the property had to be similar in zoning or the County would have to waive that requirement. He said that he would appear before the County Planning Commission to show them the plans and said that he was not anticipating any problems with the annexation.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the County zoning for this property included Intense Village and Commercial, which are compatible for what is being proposed to come into Chestertown.
Mr. Bowering asked for more information on the Rt. 213 traffic impact study. Mr. Shearon stated that a consultant has been hired to identify key intersections in and around the project. They will do peak hour measuring of how many trips per day go through the intersections. The plan will be done according to anticipated phases of the project and at full build out.
Mr. Bowering asked if this development would add significantly to heavy truck traffic on Rt. 213. Mr. Shearon stated that the operators of the facilities can dictate how the trucks arrive in Chestertown (i.e. avoiding the bridge).
Ms. Ellis asked if this was a relocation of the existing Dixon Valve facilities. Ms. Gray stated that the initial warehouse building will be a portion of their current facilities located at the Chestertown Business Park. There may be shifting of other divisions of Dixon that would occupy a portion of the warehouse and other portions will be leased out. Ms. Gray stated that not all of the buildings are for Dixon.
Mr. Shearon stated that the proposal was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan for intense residential and transition zones with a mix of uses up to and including industrial.
Mr. Shearon stated that he was working to make sure that the zoning works closely with that of the County while providing flexibility for KRM to have industrial and commercial uses. Mr. de Mooy referred to an “Employment Zone” which could be considered for Chestertown. Mr. Shearon agreed, noting that an employment zone allowed for commercial and industrial.
Ms. Gray stated that this development will be similar to a business park owned by KRM in Kent Island where there was a mix of office buildings, manufacturing and distribution, and some residential. She said that the zoning in Kent Island was called a Business Employment District.
Mr. Shearon stated that a Business Employment District allows daycares, barbershops, banks, etc. in an area where people work during the day so they do not have to drive anywhere else during the day and can run their errands in the immediate vicinity.
Mr. Grotsky stated that he looked forward to the plans coming back to the Commission as this would be a good thing for Chestertown.
ZONING CHANGE REQUESTS:
- 25255 Cromwell Clark Road (8 acres, +/-) Tax Map 37, Parcel 289 – R3 to R4
- 329 Flatland Road (9.19 acres +/-), Tax Map 37, Parcel 202 – R3 to R4
- 201 Talbot Boulevard (23 acres +/-) Tax Map 204, Parcel 245, Lot 8 – LI1 to LI1 and R4
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Comprehensive Plan identified a potential change in zoning for the Talbot Boulevard property to high-density residential which is being proposed for that parcel.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the parcel off of Flatland Road and Cromwell Clark Road was requested to change from R-3 to R-4. Mr. de Mooy stated that when Coventry II was designed it was for larger single-family lots and Coventry III (which was not developed) was changed during comprehensive rezoning from R-2 to R-3. He said that the proposal is to change the zoning from R-3 to R-4.
Mr. deMooy stated that the request for higher density zoning on Cromwell Clark Road would be limited because there are some areas that cannot be built on. Therefore, a zoning change was not necessarily paving the way for high density development.
Mr. Steve Meehan stated that the property on Cromwell Clark Road was approximately 20 acres but there was only about 9 acres that could be built out. He said that he would like to go to R4 to allow for flexibility instead of having to go for a PUD. Mr. de Mooy stated that Mr. Sipes already indicated that any development off of Flatland Road, including this property and Coventry III, would require an additional water tower and upgrades to the sewage pumping station.
Mr. Showalter moved to approve the zoning changes as proposed, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously. The matter will now go to the Mayor and Council for their consideration.
There being no further business, Ms. Ellis moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky