OCTOBER 21, 2015
Chairman Jeffrey Grotsky called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members David Bowering, Darrell Craig, Morgan Ellis 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 September 16, 2015. Mr. Showalter moved to accept the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Bowering and carried unanimously.
RECOMMENDATION FOR A CONDITIONAL USE APPROVAL AT 115C LYNCHBURG STREET (ZONED LI-1) FOR A CHILDCARE CENTER
Ms. Terri Dowling, owner, was present for the application. Mr. de Mooy stated that the Planning Commission was charged with establishing that the use was appropriate and not in conflict with the Comprehensive Plan, that the public health, safety, morals and general welfare will not be adversely affected, adequate off-street parking would be available to provide for the protection of surrounding properties, persons and neighborhood values, and the additional standards of the article are complied with.
Mr. de Mooy stated that this application was for a Conditional Use and fell under Section B.9. Day Nurseries or Child Care Centers. Ms. Dowling stated that it would be advantageous to be in the same building as the Kent Family Center as they work with the same population and the businesses complement one another. Ms. Dowling stated that many of the families who use the services of the Kent Family Center transition their children to Carrot Top Daycare and Learning Center when they become employed and have to pay for child care.
Ms. Dowling stated that her daycare center was already set up with transportation to and from the schools for parents who are working in the early morning hours. She said that it was important for their services to remain in Chestertown.
Ms. Dowling stated that she has entered into a long-term lease (3 years) with Dixon Valve and hoped that this would be a permanent location for Carrot Top Daycare and Learning Center. Ms. Dowling stated that her daycare operation was different than most in that she offers seven (7) day daycare from 6 a.m. to midnight, noting that she had contracts with USA Fulfillment, Amazon, Wal-Mart, LaMotte and several other businesses in the area.
Ms. Dowling stated that the playground areas of the Kent Family Center and Carrot Top Daycare were separate due to State requirements, although they were side-by-side. She said that the State Office of Childcare approved the size, design and location of the playground.
Ms. Dowling stated that parking was developed with Dixon Valve and design planning has been ongoing since April 2015, as there were many requirements for her childcare center and the Kent Family Center.
Ms. Dowling stated that she was licensed for fifty one (51) children, thirty-one (31) during daytime hours and twenty (20) evenings and weekends. She said that the daycare was full most days.
Mr. Bowering moved for a positive recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a conditional use for Carrot Top Daycare and Learning Center, was seconded by Mr. Showalter and carried unanimously.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Commission went through a lengthy revision of the Comprehensive Plan not too long ago, but he has been approached by an owner of property in the North West quadrant of Town regarding zoning and whether or not the Commission would move along a change in zoning. Mr. de Mooy stated that he did contact the Maryland Department of Planning for procedure recommendations, including conflicts with spot zoning. Mr. de Mooy stated that he learned one way to move forward was for the Commission to publicly advertise that the zoning in a particular quadrant would be reviewed and any property owners interested in a change of zoning for that area are welcome and part of the process.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there were potential development proposals in the pipeline in other areas that may also require zoning changes, noting the waterfront in particular.
Mr. de Mooy stated that in the case of the North West quadrant, the Comprehensive Plan supported a change for the property in question to high-density residential. It was up to the Planning Commission, however, to decide the pace as to when they can or should begin the process.
Mr. Grotsky was concerned that if the Planning Commission decided to change their procedures, it would begin an ongoing process of rezoning, noting that he did not want to stand in the way of development. Mr. de Mooy stated that he thought it might be prudent to bring up the discussion when the entire Commission was available. The Commission agreed.
There being no further business, Mr. Showalter moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:58 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Ellis and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky