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  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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P&Z Minutes

March 5, 2013

The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge met on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland.

Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman; Hubert Trego; Mary Losty, W. Marshall Rickert, William Craig, Joy Leoffler; County, Dwight Cromwell, Commissioner Gage Thomas

Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner; Robert S. Collison, City Attorney; Sean Callahan; Lane Engineering and Katie Clendaniel from Delmarva Community Services

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Burroughs. Tonight's agenda is to make a final review of the Unified Development Code and forward it to the City Council. We will also hear information from the Delmarva Community Services Senior complex.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs asked all on the Commission if we can set the starting time to be 6 pm for all the meetings and it was agreed by all in attendance and Mr. Cromwell will be notified of this change.

Ms. Roane addressed the Commission. We have one project on the agenda as of yet, then our April 2nd meeting will be a work session for the final draft that will incorporated all the latest language of the Unified Code. My hope is that that goes well and the maps will be finished by then. That we will be able to have a public hearing on that the second meeting in April followed by a work session with City Council at their second meeting in April and hopefully a public hearing with City Council their first meeting in May which I think is May 11th.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs asked if anyone had anything to say on the cases or the things we're going to discuss. There's a sign-up sheet for everyone in the room to sign up. We ask that you turn off your cell phones. First case tonight is P & Z case 03-10 Delmarva Community Services Senior movement complex, to discuss an alternative plan.

Ms. Roane: This is a project that came before you two years ago. It's an intergenerational facility that formed out of the community services proposal, directly behind here the facility on Chesapeake Street and Route 16. It was a combination of community center, villas and cottages, and they have come back because they want to propose a potential alternate plan regarding living arrangements. I'm going to turn this presentation over to Sean Callahan of Lane Engineering, as well as, Katie Clendaniel whom is with Delmarva Community Services. This is not a sketch plan it is more for your information and to get some general feedback. Depending on the feedback tonight they will come back to us with a new sketch plan but we thought before I get too far down the road with this, it'd be nice to get some comments and the schedule could accommodate it tonight.

Sean Callahan of Lane Engineering is located at 15 Washington Street, Cambridge.

Katie Clendaniel of Delmarva Community Services is located address at 2450 Cambridge Beltway, Cambridge.

Mr. Callahan started with, "August 2010 we came to this Commission with a sketch plan. The project is pretty much the same as it was then. We have done a lot of work on the site from an engineering standpoint. We do have county approval and forestry approval to build a big fill pad on which this whole thing will sit. And talking about fine tuning for the fill pad yet have a certain type of dirt and there was concerned that the market might not be the cottages or the townhouse type cottages shown on the north end of the project. But we would much rather put another 30 unit apartment complex on that area. He is not sure he'd like to do the senior cottage or senior village but he's not sure what the market's going to do when we get there. We want to get some ideas on a three apartment unit site plan. I've got to change things around a little bit. The intergenerational center is still the center focus and center piece of the project. It remains a dynamic place where the assisted units are but exactly where the three apartment complexes are for the village option."

Discussion progressed with the following:

• The density would remain the same as the villas.
We are not putting any more units on the land it's just a little different configuration.

• Apartments are a change from the Senior Complex.

• What are you keying on in the market that suggests that maybe apartments would be better than single-family or townhouses, the village?
We are going to have to go back and do another housing study. So in terms of that site plan it would be easier because we redeveloped it ourselves, versus the cottages. They were primarily developed in terms of individual sales and these unites would be easily rented for demographic

• The original senior cottages are they what one would consider independent living?
The original concept was that they would be sold to individuals. And then they would return part
back. That's the primary caring company. And then be resold back on an open market.

• Would a resident, would they be in a common area or would they be completely independent?
The cottage concept they would be completely independent. Utilize the center but the residence
Would not have to.

• On the apartment complex, is that the same?
The apartments will have their own kitchen and still be independent.

• You have the same rough square footage for your common areas but you have separated it into two buildings? You have the atrium area and the spa, healthcare, childcare building.
We don't have any plans for adult daycare at this point. The senior services will be in that area
but the footprint has changes slightly. Including the fitness and aquatic it is about 47,000 square
feet. We went from a three story to a two story. The main concerns there were because of access
and getting clients up and down in case of emergency from each floor.
• The plan is the original plan and will be marketed for seniors, in the intergenerational center is not meant that the whole complex would become intergenerational. In other words open to all ages rather than this is definitely senior directed and would be restricted to senior residents.
In terms of the housing, the assisted living, that's exactly the same demographic, obviously
seniors that have to be will need a little bit of assistance. A majority of the housing on the north
side would be, the complexes would be seniors. There might be intergenerational families I think
we are marketing to people who are avid to raise their grandchildren. And so families are a
component of that generational. So multigenerational is a part of the housing demographic.

• The understanding from the last meeting on this issue was that it was going to be senior's complex.
Our intentions are seniors focus this complex. And I think the idea again stating that seniors are
raising their grandchildren and so that's a component that building could probably have,
intergenerational families.

• This Commission kind of thought this plan was going to be like William Hill or Heartfields with independent housing, dining is if they want to use it, assisted living and nursing home facilities. Now it's evolving kind of like Conifer Village. We had hoped to keep our seniors here in Dorchester County.
It has to do with this low income housing tax credit.

• On apartments "C" in the new plan, the number of units the cut off, is that going to be the same as the first two with 29 units?
That's all, 29.

• As the needs continue to increase for seniors with regard to assistance they would then have an option. But what would happen to all these people in 87 units as they get older would they have an option to go into this assisted living area.
We have 87 units for independent living and we only have 30 beds for assisted living.

• As said we all thought that it was for seniors. Having just put a number of older relatives, taking them out of their single-family house into a complex, they have an apartment, a kitchen and they have the option. What's critical for all these people is that they have a place to go as they, one dies, one breaks a hip or something happens. So just to do the math if we had three buildings at 29 apartments, 87 apartments, if there was just assume two adults, husband, wife, sisters, whatever just an assumption that would be 174 individuals and yet there are only 30 beds which I don't know if they would already be a separate thing or if they would have an option if something happened to go to those beds. For assisted living it's only 17% out of the whole complex of what was supposed to be senior. They're renting an apartment and there just happens to be an assisted living business that's on the same campus.
The majority of the housing of the property will be for seniors.

• When you present is plan, the City Council it has changed and since this new Council, they have voted down a project that was tax for low income families.
Low income tax housing program is also for senior housing that is what we want to make
perfectly clear senior housing is covered under that program. Even though it is call low income
tax rate program that's how senior housing is funded.

 

• Senior programming as a part of our organization. We are a community service that is why we are developing the senior centers first. We'll have our fingers on all these seniors living in the community on a very close level on a programming basis.

• What is the definition of senior, using the AARP definition, when you're 50 years old?
I think for our seniors in the program it's like 65 plus

• Think through too on the apartments for the seniors, how much you need with the Americans with civil disabilities. That component should be in there too.
All of that will be integrated into the units.
Please put that in writing. The reason why I said that Wood Roods Apartments was supposed to
be the same way and we went out as a Commission and looked at the houses before the occupants
moved in and they were not handicapped accessible.

• This is all about Dorchester County seniors. DCS also provide meals every day to Talbot County Senior Program. These services are a backbone and so these are the physical facilities that we are adding for a portfolio of what we offer to the community.

• We are helping individual with disabilities and have some childcare services. If you look up the St. Anne Center, that's the model that we're using for the center.

• The building that you're using now for your activities and programs, are you going to do away with that?
The plans are for the building to exist as it is and we also offer the transportation services for the
county, that is how we get seniors back and forth for our program and we also, that's how we
transport individuals with disabilities, how we transport seniors to their medical appointments. So
the transportation needs more space for dispatch. Dispatch will be moving over and then we
operate at one stop in the mobility center in that space as well. Our commercial kitchen is in our
existing space.

• The proposed Hall will be available to the community.
The new center will be available to the community. As far as I know the existing hall will be
available and in its current condition. That's several years down the road. But the ambition for the
new center, that's going to be a beautiful space with an atrium, open glass cabinets. That will be
available the same way that the current senior hall is.

This ends our discussion on the Delmarva Community Service senior complex.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs announced that we will now discuss the Billboard section of the zoning ordinance.

Ms. Roane spoke about there being a moratorium on the billboards and electronic conversion of billboards so we could do research on those. She found out a lot that was introduced to you at the last meeting. An email she drafted and email to a few on this Commission reads as, "We continue to research the amortizing billboards as a means for removal but I found I believe would not allow Cambridge to do this in addressing the existing billboards along Route 50 which is a federal-primary highway. In my interpretation regarding using this tool as a means for removal is not permitted by the federal government. Attached are several documents that explain this. Also having measured the existing billboards it appears that only two of the four structures are within the 680 feet of a scenic byway. Attached is an aerial that illustrates this which would mean that the ones that are not in these protected corridors would be, could be subject to being converted to digital. And one conversation with Cliff Royalty, the attorney with Montgomery County regarding the successful efforts and not only prohibiting billboards but also the removal. It took about 20 years of litigation and in the end a compromise was reached that if Clear Channel would remove the billboards they would have an exclusive contract in advertising in bus shelters, hence there was not a buyout or an amortizing schedule. So based on this new information, here's what I believe are the facts.
Number one, Maryland Route 50 is a federal aid primary highway. The map is attached showing that this is a map given to us by state highway. ________ to the original highway beautification act regarding federal aid primary highways prohibits state and local governments to use amortizing as a tool for removal of billboards. Attached information on that legislation. Three, the two structures that are either on a scenic byway or within 680... but protected corridor cannot be converted or changed in any way with the exception of the skin first state law passed in 2011 and effected in October 2011. Attached is House Bill 109. And four, there cannot be any additional billboards permitted on the scenic byway per House Bill 109. Based on these facts here is how Cambridge could move forward in satisfying a moratorium. Prohibit billboards within municipal boundaries of Cambridge if not already in place. Language is in the draft ordinance. Number two, prohibit any electronic conversions and/or three, recommend a Clear Channel owner of the three static structures two of which are in protected areas that the one structure that is not in the scenic byway area be allowed to convert to electronic provided the two within the protected area are removed. "

Mr. Collison state that, "I think it's a great recommendation. Everyone's real clear on this. The two that we cannot, the two that are outside of it are electronic already. The other would be the one near McWilliam's Financial and the carwash, they are the ones outside the protected area. So the ones within the protected area we cannot require elimination for sunset provision. So Ms. Roane's suggestion is to try to negotiate with Clear Channel to allow them to convert the one outside the protected area. Possibly this is a suggestion to eliminate the two pedestals within the protected area." Ms. Roane responded as, "That recommendation is based on the facts that shortly after the moratorium was passed Clear Channel approached me in my office with that suggestion. Yes."

Ms. Roane commented that there were eight billboards. All three of the structures that are static that are owned by Clear Channel, two of which are in the protected area, are double-faced. Meaning that there are four faces on each structure which gives us twelve faces. Two of them are vertically double and one that we are talking about allowing possibly the conversion is the negotiating chip, is a double-faced this way. So you have two structures that are like this, front and back, one structure like this, front and back. We can't address any of the billboards. That's my interpretation on Route 50 because it's on a federal aided highway.

Ms. Roane suggested that we just keep it simple and convert the one structure that's outside the scenic byway provided that the two structures within the byway are removed. Why couldn't we say then, all eight, westbound and eastbound? What's the point of doing eastbound when you're still going to end up having westbound? Mr. Collison commented to, "What if you just said strip, like the structure of the pedestals, a two-for-one mitigation.

Mr. Rickert wanted to clarify his statement, "I'm saying we either prohibit conversions or where they are permitted under state and federal regulations we write language in the ordinance establishing a standard and not call them for a while." "I like Mr. Collison's idea, but I think we all want to accomplish the same thing. Just put it in there because everything else, we all know we're talking about one sign and the two we want gone. We all know that. But we're writing the ordinance in general terms and new ones are prohibited."

Mr. Collison wanted to add to that, "The only other suggestion I make would be that we consider including the compensation provisions that we have on the print electronic digital to go toward scenic beautification you were talking about. It is illegal non-conforming they consider it's all they can stay there as long as they want. And the problem we have is those two, because they are within that byway to protect we cannot require that they be provision that we advertise. As for the first two, the one right by the old Burger King, by the Maryland Avenue Shell station, because they are in an unprotected area we can't sunset through the amortization period, but the state prohibits them from being converted to the digital. The billboards are within 680 feet of the scene. However the next one down by McWilliams could be converted. It's no prohibition on the State law."

The third billboard cannot be converted through amortization because it's a federally primary highway. If it is a federal major road you cannot amortize sunset. So that's one factor. It does say you can buy it out if you can find the money

If a business closes like Popeye's did at their original location, they're no longer in business, it is an abandoned use then we could enforce it. So if the owner of that went bankrupt and they were not offering it for rent it is not an ongoing business, they've abandoned the use then. We could, making Popeye's take down that sign, we could do it. The difference I see is those are active business concerns. So there's some value that they would argue that they've lost and the court law generally is saying you have to compensate them for that.

In Montgomery County they compensated for removing the billboards. They give them all of their mass-transit advertising space. So we're still at the mercy of Clear Channel to a large extent here. If that's the best we got I guess we have to go for it.

Ms. Roane was tasked was to look up the various provisions, what holds up, when did we pass it, how long have they known that it's prohibited, then she came back with and said the feds say you can't.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs asked if there were any other questions on this before we move on.

Mr. Rickert responded, "I'm very grateful this research's been done and furthermore that it's quite conclusive because we've been wrestling with this a long time."

Mr. Collison informed everyone, "What's surprising is you'd have thought Congress, if they couldn't afford it, would at least give you the local communities the ability to sunset or further compensate."

Ms. Roane made everyone aware that Clear Channel is a powerful company. She spoke with an attorney who was extremely helpful from Montgomery County. The first thing he said was good luck. He said it was twenty years of litigation and volumes of files.

Mr. Craig stated, "So you're going to write this up and then we're going to final draft regulation and then we're going to enact the regulation and then we're going to contact Clear Channel after that.

Mr. Rickert suggesting is that the first one of those billboards may be eliminated just as part of the overall Sailwind's development project a gateway project. There's other negotiations that may be going on. We cannot throw some wrench in right now, number one. And number two, we should like to see if the Planning Commission and the City Council wants to permit conversion of that sign. We would like to see the standards enacted into the ordinance and not negotiated.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs has turned the discussion over to Boarding House language.

Ms. Roane spoke, "I have given each of you some information to read and come back to me if you have any additional thoughts, especially Ms. Losty since she put so much time into it and it might be fresher in her mind. If Mr. Collison will help me take a stab at coming up with a definition, sort of what we can regulate as far as licensing, allocation and do we license it and how we go about that and when Ms. Losty said she'd do that. And I'll try to have something, probably not for the next meeting but for the April 2nd.

Mr. Collison addressed the meeting with, "The Commission was kind of leaning towards adopting Ms. Losty's suggestion that with regards to contractual relationship of the entities as far as one single for the entire house versus multiplied by the number of tenants."

Ms. Losty responded to the Commission, "If you have a fresh eye look at the bottom line, the line which is all over this document talking about Group Home is a number of disabled people who live together for years. It's because it operates as a permanent living arrangement as a single-family unit. As opposed, that is totally different, much like our, enlarged definitions of family now. If it is a single housekeeping where food and budgets are shared and meals etcetera, versus a situation where you have multiple people. It's not single family, it's much more transient. And here they talk about it and say well, I saw multiple places throughout this that this would be better suited for multifamily or something. It is not as well suited as a residential because it is all the... again the concept of a Boarding House whether it is college students or Russians working in Ocean City or whatever it is. And when you see this it gives you a lot distinguishing definitions that sort of support what I was stating, you could make a case that you can distinguish depending on the use, whether it's single family housekeeping unit or transient. And again because of all these areas that cannot be protected, that cannot be discriminated against, we are now doing that. Our approach is very straight forward. Are you a single family housekeeping unit, or are you much more transient? Then once you establish that then you say, what kind of transient are you? Are you a college student, are you violin students, are you a two-week, three-week rehab? And then depending on what the use is there you can have official requirements from the City as to whether or not ...and whether you need supervision."

Mr. Collison commented, that Maryland law and structure that if you are one of these sober homes that is there as a drug-free, alcohol-free environment you have to treat them differently. You have to consider them a single family. For regulatory though, in other words the licensing part is where you can get into difficult situations. They are not transient, because case law determines that to be a single, you treat them as a single-family unit from a zoning standpoint.

Ms. Leoffler spoke, "Well at least if it is a single family kind of... dwelling from a... as we discussed previously, from a safety standpoint there are six unrelated people in a place and if it's one of them where it is unsupervised and there are no programs, it's strictly a bed. I think it's certainly, from a safety concern be something that we should be able to say it's different from a family, you have to get a license we have to know how many people are in there, how many bedrooms there are."

Ms. Losty responded, "Joy, to your point on page two of this APA highly recommend, carefully quietly reading it. Rob on right about halfway house, this goes directly to my point about transient, it says recovery homes for people with drug or alcohol addictions or another type of Group Home, occupants typically sign an annual lease and can live in a recovery home for years. That is not the case. We have six to eight weeks. Again this supports the idea that you don't have huge turnover. In our case, what we're talking about are Boarding House situations with high turnover and how they can be restricted. So I think Mr. Collison that maybe we can take some of this language and we can distinguish... I haven't seen what you're talking about, but to the extent that... do they talk about the turnover? Or do they just uniformly say all recovery homes are single family...."

Mr. Collison replied, "When the State legislature, I think it was in the early 1990s, changed the State Code, that part of some agencies to license them, and when they removed that another provision in it. When they looked at those states in which their courts had permitted a regulatory scheme of licensing strict fire codes in a regular family and other regulatory schemes, they noted that those were upheld in states which still retained that licensing requirement at the State level and Maryland not only reduced it, they eliminated all those licensing requirements with the goal and intent of creating these through all the neighborhoods, as many as they could. Spacing requirements was another reason as well. They had been upheld in states, one per block, person or what have you, where the state statutory scheme permits it. Maryland used to have one, and not only did they just make it greater or lesser, they eliminated it completely."

• By doing that do they prohibit a municipality or local government from making regulations? Or is it automatic. Mr. Collison answered with, "Combined with the Fair Housing Act and the ADA amendments to say your state, legislative, and that's why Belair has been working every legislative session. They try to get their delegates to go back to what it was before so that level of jurisdictions could place some regulations on it."

• So in other words if this is read in court it does in effect prohibit a local government from making any regulations.
Mr. Collison: Very minimal ones.

• Safety and licensing, because we need to know where it is and who's there.
Mr. Collison: I think it's very limited such as the certifier code, making sure that the agency
That is running it is legitimate, looking out for their interest. But you get beyond those spacing
ones, the density, you talk about because it's only a very few states, a very few that're the same
size as Maryland.

We need to broaden the topic and talk about all sorts of non-single family type situations. Then we treat you like everybody else because this is very disruptive to a single family neighborhood to have people changing over every six to eight weeks. There is some language in all these documents that talk about why Group Homes are allowed because residents tend to stay three, four or even five years. They don't have turnover and they operate as a family and have supervisors. They are also State recognized with a program, an approved program. They also have to have licensed councilors on site.

A number of disparate individuals coming in at different times, where you have either the owner or the person in charge having independent contracts with the various people as opposed to single family housekeeping even if it is a grandmother or daughter and a grandson, somebody is on the lease. It is not each person it is one or two people. That's part of the definition. So, but while, even as non-restrictive as the State is, there would be no problem at all requiring some application from the City just for purposes of intelligence so that we understand what our risks are. That anybody that wanted to operate a home with disparate people we need to know because there is a high level of risk associated and the City would need to inspect and make sure that the fire and safety codes were fulfilled. When it is this transient, not just sober, not just recovering, not just European, anybody in this type of boarding house situation we need to know all the information we can.

• A sober house to take an example is more like a Boarding House than it is like a single family residence. On the other hand, we can regulate Boarding Houses.

• You want to look at the level of responsibility, who actually has the interaction with the landlord. Is it one person or is it each one? What is the average length of stay? Boarding Houses are typically defined as a few days to a few weeks. The average stay for the sober is six weeks.

• Some Boarding Houses are 60 days, some are 90 days.

Mr. Collison and Ms. Roane will get together and draft work on the definitions. There is a risk on the moratorium as opposed to let us move forward and adopt something in new language.

Our goal was to try to get this language adopted into our zoning ordinance, so we could only be rather than singled out.

Ms. Roane stated, "I just wanted to, for the record that to be on the record. Chris will be here on the April 2nd and hopefully we'll be able to get something that we can agree on. We'll all agree on a second that he can take back and incorporate into ordinance."

Then the question is we then have to follow through, the usage and the group. There would be higher and lower requirements when they actually go to register. So with a group of handicapped people there would be... it really depends on what the use is. With a uniform application, it could be slightly different, just like childcare requires x amount of space to play outside.

We will state to whomever that this is a State regulated program, or Federal program, please just supply a copy of your application and certificate. If it falls outside of those two but it's still a Boarding House, the City could just have their list of things they need to see like the fire sign-off and the inspection in the square feet... but that would just be something to have in the City, it would not need to be in the addendum of the zoning. It is very important that we actually do this and enforce it or else all this is for nothing. So Rob, is that something that we just have to broad language in the new ordinance and then we have follow-up with the city?

• Do ADA requirements supply this kind of stuff?
Mr. Collison responded, "I would say if they're getting certain funds, state or federal, it gives that
combination. If you recall there were cases which defined recovering alcoholics and recovering
drug addicts as disabled. It is a combination of that, those four cases with the Fair Housing Act
that basically said those residents accessing those types of services must be given reasonable
accommodation. We could not require them as Talbot County to say they must be in a
commercial districts so when you combine that you can't prohibit them in single-family
residential districts because of the ADA rules.

• You cannot discriminate, but if you put them into the category with all sorts of Boarding House type transient individual contract. In one case all the key was are there multiple contracts where each person gets a voucher. That's an individual contract either with the owner of the building or the landlord. So that is a key criteria which puts them in a Boarding House and therefore everyone in a Boarding House gets treated the same way.

• So would we not, as a City, as a regulatory body, just say if you're going to have this type of home you have to comply with all ADA requirements and then it becomes a permitting issue to see that all that stuff's installed, just like the fire code issue.

Ms. Roane asked this Commission that since the maps are so big and it's late. She would like to schedule time with maybe in twos for everyone to come to DPW and meet with her and go over the maps.

Chairman Mr. Burroughs asked for a motion to adjourn?
Motion made by Mr. Trego to adjourn. Seconded by Ms. Losty. All those in favor say aye.

 


Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on ???????????

______________________ _______________
Jerry Burroughs, Chairman Date