• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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Planning & Zoning Meeting Minutes

November 5, 2012
The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge met on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman; Hubert Trego; Joy Loeffler, Dorchester County Liaison

Absent: Mary Losty; William Craig, Vice Chairman; Dwight Cromwell & Marshall Rickert

Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner; Dan Brandewie, City Planner II

Chairman Jerry Burroughs called the meeting to order and asked for a moment of silence.

For the record, Mr. Burroughs said Mary Losty is unable to attend this meeting, William Craig is in Seattle, Dwight Cromwell is unable to be here and Marshall Rickert is in a Baltimore hospital with his mother-in-law. The Planning Commission (PC) will go through Popeye's proposal for preliminary recommendation and will give them guidance. He requested this information be entered into the record, so if any questions come up about it, they can entertain it later. He asked each PC member if they had a problem with this: they both said no.

Antonio Akaras is Principal in the company that is opening up Popeyes in Cambridge.

Paul Patel said he is one of the partners of Popeyes; Ashish Patel is one of the partners and operating member of Popeyes.

Mr. Burroughs stated the PC does not have a quorum tonight. Tonight the Popeyes members are the only ones on the agenda. He knows they need permits; the PC will go over some issues.

Mr. Akaras said they are forming a group to expand the Popeyes brand which is undergoing a major expansion in the U.S. to start a national advertising and marketing. The other partner, Shahid Hashmi, who is not here, operates 37 Popeyes throughout the East Coast. Popeyes decided on the former Wendy's building because of the location and visibility from the Choptank River Bridge. It is still going to be Popeyes Chicken, but they are going to enhance the seafood; they have changed the name from Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Ms. Roane said this is a preliminary site plan review process which is typically a two-step process. The PC does not have a lot of authority over architecture, but Popeyes is not changing the site; the parking will stay the same; the dumpster location will stay the same. They will be changing their signage. Initially Popeyes wanted to re-face the existing pylon sign. She told them the PC would probably not support it based on experiences reviewing projects in the past. She said the PC is in the process of adopting a new ordinance that would not allow the pylon sign. She requested they come back with a ground mounted sign. It became apparent that a different location for the sign would be better given the two businesses that followed this one going eastward on Rt. 50. She looked at the corner of Henry Street and Rt. 50 as a possible location for a monument sign which is what the applicant came back with; that is what the PC has in front of them. The pylon sign will be removed as part of this project; that was the only outstanding issue. They are staying within the footprint of the building; there are no storm water management issues because they are not creating more disturbances.

Mr. Akaras requested consideration to keep the pylon sign. One of the overriding factors in Popeyes coming to Cambridge was the visibility of the pylon sign coming from the bridge.

Ms. Roane said the pylon sign should have come down within 90 days of the former Popeyes closing; the City was in error of not making that happen. The PC has the authority to tell you they don't want the pylon sign; the applicant can appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

Ms. Loeffler said the new ordinance will enforce regulations on signs that need to be removed. She suggested applicant take pictures of the proposed sign and the location they want for the sign; scan the pictures into the computer. Using a computer program applicant can cut and paste the sign in different locations to see how the sign relates to other existing signs.

Mr. Burroughs said the PC is under restrictions by the Governor to clean up all of the signs from the Bay Bridge to Rt. 50 all of the way down to Ocean City. That is one of the decisions made to get rid of these high signs as well. Ms. Roane said there is a lot of visual clutter that is on Rt. 50 that has been an issue for years.

Ms. Roane requested the applicant submit a proposal. As soon as they do Ms. Roane will submit it to the PC. The PC wants to work with the applicant. Ms. Roane suggested the applicant come back at the November 20th meeting.

Ashish Patel asked if they could keep the sign separate and move forward with the permit because Popeyes wants to open by the end of this year. Mr. Burroughs said since they do not have a quorum, he can call a PC member and obtain a vote via telephone. He asked the PC members if they both were comfortable with that; Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Trego both said they are.

Mr. Burroughs said one PC member did not like the color of the Popeyes building. Mr. Akaras said the color displayed was not the Popeyes color. The color would be the same color as the Easton Popeyes.

Mr. Burroughs spoke to Marshall Rickert via telephone and told him there was one issue - signage. The applicant will be coming back to the PC on November 14th or the 20th, but the PC wants the applicant to move forward with the exterior of the building. Mr. Rickert's voice was audible through a speaker phone and he said he will go on record supporting that, but he also wants to go on record that he will not support any re-use of the signage structure that is there. Mr. Rickert said he is delighted that Popeyes is coming to town.

Ms. Loeffler moved to give conditional approval for the preliminary site plan with the condition that the Planning Commission approves the sign when it is presented. Mr. Trego seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Burroughs told applicant they can continue working. Ms. Roane said applicant can continue to get all of their permits, but the sign permit.

Ashish Patel said thank you; that keeps Popeyes on schedule.

Mr. Burroughs said on behalf of the Planning Commission, welcome to Cambridge Popeyes, glad to have you; hurry up and open up.

Ms. Loeffler told Popeyes that if they are looking at the fluctuation of people that come here, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has numbers on how many visitors they bring in a year and it is in the 100,000's. Also, Cambridge has the Eagle Man Triathlon and Chesapeake Man.

It was properly moved and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

______________________
Anne D. Roane
City Planner

Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on December 20th, 2012.