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BoA Minutes

June 30, 2015

Board of Zoning Appeals


June 30, 2015

The Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Cambridge met at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 in the City Council Chambers located at 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Board Members in Attendance: Jane Devlin, Chairperson; Brian Manning, Vice-Chairman; Ted Brooks and Robin Sample

Other representatives in Attendance: LaSara Kinser, City Planner Assistant

Ms. Devlin started the meeting with roll call.  She discussed the order of proceedings and proceeded to swear in anyone wishing to testify on any of the agenda items.

New Cases

Case BZA#6 FY 2014-15, 2455 Cambridge Beltway.  Dorchester County Board of Education requests a variance to the maximum height allowance of six feet for fences as stipulated in Section 5.1.4 D of the UDC. This property is zoned Institutional.  Mr. Fleming represented the Board of Education.

Ms. Kinser stated that there were no written comments from any residents near the high school.

Ms. Devlin, for the record, asked Ms. Kinser if Dorchester Community Transit and Pleasant Day were also contacted with the 28 other property owners?  Ms. Kinser commented affirmatively.

Mr. William Fleming, Transportation Supervisor for the Board of Education, explained the request including that:

· The buses had been moved from behind the Board of Ed building on Glasgow St to the C-SDHS parking lot.

· There have been acts of vandalism and employees were approached by individuals in the dark morning hours.  The buses actually have “22 rifle” shots in them.

· Since moving the buses out to the High School, the board of Education has suffered thousands of dollars in vandalism, and now sees the need for a fence.

Further points of discussion were:

1. The Materials:  Galvanized chain link fencing with a sliding gate. Ms. Kinser stated that she was told there would be no barbed wire on the fence.

2. Traffic Flow: The side entrance to the DCTC building was the employee parking lot in front of the building and it is not on the high school side.  It is a self-contained parking lot and does not interfere in any other roadways.  The school is still accessible from Egypt Road.

3. Distance from Egypt Road: The distance from Egypt Road is about 250 ft. to the lot.

4. Was the Glasgow Street property enclosed by a fence?  Yes it was and the height was 8 ft. and the fence was deteriorating.  The vandals’ broke through the fence.  The spot was not visible and was surrounded by woods on two sides, so they had easy access to it.

5. Reasoning for the fence height:  The height was a recommendation from the fence company for what we needed.

6. The nature of the vandalism:  The problem is the vandals breaking into the buses were shooting off the fire extinguishers inside the entire bus and so they were complete coated.  We have found motor oil bottles were sprayed inside the bus.  It was not that things were being thrown at the buses.

Mr. Manning stated that the law says that the school buses are not to be locked.  Mr. Fleming agreed.

Ms. Devlin asked for a motion to close the public session, made by Mr. Manning and seconded by Mr. Brooks.  All in favor and carried.

There was some discussion about the height of the fence, the location from Egypt Road, and the visibility from all sides.

Motion to close the discussion was made and all approved and carried.

Mr. Brooks made a motion to allow the 7 ft. fence with no barbed wire, because based upon the facts.

1. The physical surroundings and shape of the property existing create the hardship.

2. This hardship is unique to these circumstances.

3. The hardship has not been created by the present owner/previous owner.

4. It is not detrimental to the public welfare, and will curtail trespassing and vandalism.

5. No problems with adequate supply of light and air to the adjacent property.

6. Applicant has attempted to mitigate these circumstances by using illumination, police presence, and relocating. None of these solutions were able to afford relief.

7. There is no adverse effect on water quality or fish, wildlife or habitat.

8. It is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

9. N/A

Motion seconded by Mr. Manning.  All in favor and carried.

Other Topics and Discussion

The UDC and BoA Bylaws

The bylaws cannot be completed until the Board has copies of the UDC. Ms. Kinser is working in conjunction with Mr. Dale Price, City IT specialist, to complete the corrections to the document.

The Albanus Phillips Inn Special Exception Case:

A meeting needs to be scheduled with the applicant and his Attorney and the City Attorney, Mr. Collison in order to schedule a new hearing because the original hearing was not posted adequately. The Board discussed when the new hearing should be and when it would need to be advertised.

July Elections

Elections will be held at the next meeting.

Planning and Zoning Commission Vacation rentals

The Planning and Zoning Commission is researching policies for the regulation of Air BnB and similar vacation rentals. The Board of Appeals is monitoring their progress.

UDC Text amendments coming before City Council

The minutes from the last meeting needs to have a few corrections.  We will hold until the next meeting when more of members are here.

Mr. Brooks moved to adjourn the meeting and seconded by Ms. Sample.  All in favor and carried.

Respectfully submitted,

LaSara Kinser, Planning and Zoning Assistant