Planning & Zoning Meeting Minutes
March 6, 2012
The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge convened on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland. Once Chris Jakubiak, consultant, arrived at 6:20 p.m. the meeting was opened.
Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman; Hubert Trego; Joy Loeffler, Dorchester County Liaison; William Craig, Vice Chairman; Marshall Rickert; Dwight Cromwell; Gage Thomas, City Council Liaison
Absent: Mary Losty
Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner; Dan Brandewie, City Planner II; Robert Collison, City Attorney
Chairman Jerry Burroughs called the meeting to order and asked for a moment of silence.
Downtown Urban Design Approach to Zoning -
Chris Jakubiak, AICP President, Jakubiak & Associates, Inc. opened the meeting by discussing the sub-districts of downtown.
At the February meeting the Planning Commission (PC) and Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Department reviewed Article 1, 2 and a large portion of 3 and approved an outline. The next step is to focus on the land use and zoning districts and to recommend which of the permitted uses and zoning districts are okay. They want to establish what the standards are.
Mr. Jakubiak recommended they continue the discussion of form-based zoning and make some progress with downtown zoning at the April 3rd meeting rather than at the scheduled May meeting. They could also have an overall City-wide zoning map worked out for that meeting as well. That will allow them to move quickly through all of the zoning districting, permitted uses and overall standard quality of development issues.
Mr. Rickert said one of things the PC wants to ensure in the Planned Waterfront Community District (PWCD) zone is that they be marine business friendly and still keep the integrity of urban general. If the existing marina business wants to expand their marina based activities, he would not want to see public promenades. He thinks there are considerations they need to accommodate that might be different from what urban general is. Seafood packing is another example.
Mr. Collison questions the Sailwinds proper versus the DGH waterfront site. In general, where the dividing line is between the form-based and the traditional, what process is there that they can create whereby when the hospital comes in for development they can tie it into whatever happens at Sailwinds even though it is not within the form-based. It will be a challenge if they do not include it within the form-based zoning. He said he is envisioning the development from Yacht Maintenance all of the way to the Sailwinds pavilion as a uniform type of development as opposed of too distinct.
Ms. Roane said that is something they need to discuss and explore more. It is going to be something they will probably be dealing with soon especially with the property re-development.
Mr. Burroughs stated he thinks the hospital official needs to come to our meetings and give us some kind of idea if they have a proposal for the property for our future plans on the property.
Mr. Craig said he has difficulty in dealing with it because the PC wants the hospital to stay there and have a medical campus around it, but on the other hand the PC is trying to talk about what it would be like if that area re-developed. He is not sure where they are going with this.
Mr. Collison said the City needs to be proactive so that they establish the guidelines within which they will develop. Mr. Jakubiak said they will come back next month with the suggestion about incorporating that into the form-based code and then they will have standards to deal with in the whole area.
Ms. Roane said it is a good time to engage the hospital. She said she will make sure they have an invitation and that they get all of this information. The hospital has a new administrator. She will get it to Mike Silgen.
Mr. Rickert said as a general suggestion for moving forward when Mr. Jakubiak breaks down these categories after the master map, could he mask out all of the other colors so they can tell what they are looking at. Mr. Jakubiak said yes.
Ms. Roane said on the 200 block of High Street with the brick road going down to Long Wharf, there has been a request by a homeowner there to open a book store in their house and sell coffee on the porch, but the neighbors and the zone would not allow it. Would that be something that the PC would want to encourage? If people are staying at the marina, they could walk up the street and get their coffee.
There was discussion that the PC has had similar circumstances in the past where the neighbors complained about it and it became controversial. There would be a lot of resistance from the neighbors, but Mr. Collison said he thought it is a great idea.
Mr. Jakubiak said there is one area he has not mentioned that has a residential feel to it and may have a historic quality to it and he grouped it as an urban general category and that is Washington Street heading out to High Street. Picture in your mind's eyes you can see repetitious small Shotgun Houses on both sides, very unique. He has not seen any place like that in Maryland. It is moving in the direction of being a historic district. Ms. Roane said it is part of a bigger district, but she thinks the application is in process. She said she will follow up on that and let Mr. Jakubiak know.
Within the boarder urban neighbor general category he will call out a specific geographic area that is the prototype that should be preserved in that pattern two or three blocks in this area. Ms. Roane said the area is Pine Street to High Street, both sides.
Mr. Jakubiak said on aesthetic uses there is a lot less in the way of form-based recommendations. This is more of a category that states this is the land use that is acceptable that they are looking for. The cemetery and civic uses will be the primary uses that will be on that side. The Court House is listed there too.
While Mr. Jakubiak was making his presentation with the land use map, Ms. Roane asked him why City Hall and the District Court were not color coded green. Mr. Jakubiak said he wanted them to be Downtown Core because they are so much about establishing what core is. This includes the County Office Building also.
Mr. Craig said the developers would love to have the County Office Building property. If the County ever decides to make a move, that is the end of the grass on that site.
Ms. Roane stated that Mr. Jakubiak was not showing the Richardson Museum which would fall under this. Mr. Craig said it would especially make sense given the possibility of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) open space type funding assisting with it. Ms. Roane said that is exactly right. The other site that is not shown as public, but is public is the boat ramp at Franklin Street. That is important because it becomes a public link into the hospital property. She thinks it is important that they show it which was also funded with waterway improvements.
Commissioner Thomas said he would not consider funding the reason to make it public property. Ms. Roane said she thinks that this area will be a park and that the whole idea is that it be part of the museum and also be noted as a component to it.
Mr. Rickert said his concern is that there is a possibility that the State grant money will fund part of the museum boatworks. If their open space is parks, they ought to have the right land use categories.
Mr. Collison said if the decision is made to include the hospital waterfront parcel, it would make sense to make green the Sailwinds' Visitor Center starting at the bridge as green and going to the hospital waterfront site and then everything waterfront from the bridge over to Long Wharf visually.
Ms. Roane said in the works is the railroad will be green. Mr. Craig said that would be nice to get a rails and trails.
Mr. Trego asked Mr. Jakubiak regarding the Norris Taylor property on Washington Street which has just been cited, there is a lot of cement there. Since they are talking about going green and yet they have a whole thing of cement. He asked him has he seen anything where they could urge the owner to rid himself of the cement. The owner right across the street from there has a grinding machine that takes care of the old cement and he has construction equipment to get that up. Mr. Jakubiak said it sounds like a three party deal. Ms. Roane said they had a meeting today about that.
Mr. Burroughs reminded everyone that for this meeting the PC will meet on Tuesday, April 3rd at 7 p.m. The PC will be back here on Tuesday, March 20th at 7 p.m.
Mr. Cromwell moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:32 p.m. Mr. Craig seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Anne D. Roane
Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on December 20th, 2012.