• 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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P&Z Minutes

February 18, 2014

The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge met on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 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 and W. Marshall Rickert, William Craig and Chantey Nelson

Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner; Robert S. Collison, City Attorney;
Chris Jakubiak, Gage Thomas, Commissioner Ward 4

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Burroughs.

 

Starting time is dead air space until you get to 42:44 left
W. Marshall Rickert: NONE

Bill Craig: I like the argument, but we have been snookered before.

Chantey Nelson: NONE

Hubert Trego: 36 ?

Mr. Jakubiak continued with, "This section talks about where we have changed the height from 70 feet down to 40 feet. Then there is an asterisk there * upon request of the applicant the Planning Commission may approve an increase in maximum in building height to 70 feet were the proposal to development tract exceeds three acres in size upon making the findings set for below. What these findings basically do is say that when there is a larger lot in play the developer wants to build something five stories tall and the roof will pop up over 70 ft. That is fine, but you are going to require a substantial find in fact. They are going to be related to architectural computability, compatibility of scale and style, building placement, strong provisions for walking and bicycling connections are made to the site and the City around the site, the open space will be created by the development tract that is accessible to the public.

My though is to allow flexibility for the bigger sites that may come available in the General Development District, which could include the port property. I have not seen any concept, no idea of what might happen there, but the reality is that having some flexibility, may allow for more architectural stunning building on that site. Where elsewhere in the community if a parcel this size may be available? It would certainly promote density development."

• Does anyone know how tall the hospital is? Maybe 50 feet.
I guess at least that height.

• How tall are the buildings off the little creek bridge, with the green roofs?
At least three stories and then the roof. About 40 feet and then the parking lot underneath.

• Cambridge Landing is 48 feet to the top of the building. The garage level and then three residential levels.

• The Harbor Haven buildings are how high?
About 60 feet at least with the roof.

• Where is the down-town waterfront development district?
That is everything in the purple on the City map.

Mr. Rickert commented that, "If the City is actively engaged in the potential public-private partnership for a high quality mixed-used development on it the port property or any potential large property, under our proposed zoning approach we no longer have a PUD. Correct. So the ability for the Planning Commission to weigh in on specific design details and to negotiate design details is gone. What would a six story step back building relate to form based zoning? There is not anything in town like that. I did not want to unduly restrict the opportunity to make a viable large mixed-use development. The purpose of this seems to be promoting a higher residential density, not a mixed-use. I would say that residential density to support mixed-use development and qualify it that way. I think that we need to be specific in the setbacks, if it is 70 feet how far back is it, the goal to me is to get the set building, as a condition on allowing a forward design to achieve the allowable density on the property, if it is a mixed-use development, to get it away from the waterfront. I think that if we can do it, some sort of formula, that says okay, if anything above 36 feet then the face of it should be setback at least 100 feet. In the findings I do not see anything it has to be mixed-use development, substantial mixed-use development. The way I read this, again, Mr. Craig's favorite developers could come in and make an argument for a 70 foot high condo box. It could be all these findings and not have a single other use on that property."

Robert Collison asked Mr. Jakubiak if the PUD concept is fading out if you will, in the temporary zoning and is that why we are going away with it. So, what is the trend to replace it, to give that flexibility, where we do have large parcels, such as this one where people build and rent combined?

Chris Jakubiak responded, "It is not necessarily phased out. A lot of the floating zones are. We had discussions here with the Planning Commission about feeling that we have lost control of those bigger projects and were not able to achieve what they wanted along Cambridge Creek with planned Waterfront District. But PUD is a possibility to allow for the standards to be set and worked through. I do not know that it is necessary to achieve what you want on that site."

Mr. Rickert want this Commission to insure that we do not write ourselves, into a position where a developer can make a rock solid case to put in residential high rise condominiums on that property.

Mr. Jakubiak responded that our zoning ordinance has proposed to require that any residential structure have non-residential commercial on the ground floor.

Mr. Rickert continued, "I think that it needs to be stronger. Everyone is going to have different visions for that property, but my vision for the property is the ideal include a small hotel and at least one restaurant. Some retail shops, structured parking and residential. I do not want to write something that weakens that opportunity, and on the business model side, we have seen along the creek, basically tall canyon condominium buildings. We have one mixed-use development, but I do not recall seeing any hotels by Port Side Restaurant. But that was a mixed-use development with a hotel; some other water based recreational facilities, walking path, townhouses and mid-rise condominiums. Where is the hotel? They essentially the profitable part of that business model, got carved out and there sits condominiums. I think that if we are not careful, we can tie our hands and the Cities elected officials hands and negotiate and demand the type of development that we want. That is what drove this specific concern about being overly restricted height on large multi-use developments."

Chris Jakubiak answered that you can't achieve the guaranties that you want, by leaving it in the general sub category. You are saying that you want the planned water front district, or some planning new development concept.

Mr. Rickert said, "That is my opinion and not everyone is going to agree with it. I just do not want to write an ordinance that walks us away from the high quality multi-use vision that I believe many people in Cambridge will have for that property."

Mr. Jakubiak continued that you could still keep this with some certain restrictions, and have a Planning and Development language that allows and then as part of the negotiation, the City Council can say, you will abide the Planning and Development concept, it is our requirement to meet the minimum standards and submit a plan to the Planning Commission and hold them to a public hearing.

• What minimum standards are you recommending for the height?
The language can go into the planning and development language. It can be set at 48 feet.

• Are you re-inserting the PUD section in the ordinance?
Make it available to whom every meets the site requirements. If you have three acres, you can
come in and petition for the PUD process and what that does is set the size of minimum standards
and allows things to go bigger, based on the unit aspects of the typography on the site.

• You can get density bonuses if you do X Y and Z. You can get a height bonus.
This is a height bonus, a way to get bigger buildings.

Mr. Rickert spoke, "In return is what we want on the property. That is not clear on this, we have a density bonus now in the Zoning Ordinance, and the way it was set up proportionally I think that it back fired. Up to 18 units can be within the PWCD if it is multi-use. It had 18 units to the acre, otherwise 15 units, so we have these townhouses down on the creek with a studio office."

• Are you talking about Muir Street? I thought that was studio plan.
You can create a resort district, or we can zone this a maritime resort or something and make the
use allowable very narrowly drawn.

• PWRD that we current have is done with the minimum acreage.
The other thing that you could do is hotels,

Mr. Collison stated, that with that type of vision, he agrees that we need to rethink, even the hospital property. Look at the Port Property, Sailwind's Park all the way over to the Visitor Center; you can see that it needs a master concept plan that should have that flexibility to get you the quality rather the institution. Now maybe we can word it that the institution can continuing as a non-conforming use, or you can say the institutional uses can be within the PWRD.

Mr. Rickert also stated, "That is one of the multi-uses. Fact that you could argue that the hospital, I believe that their office building is also there too. So you can argue that it maybe even be a multi-use."

o Another concern is if we go that route and if we do something like that, the final development gets out of our hands and into the City Council's hands. We do not want that to happen.

o In a PUD process the design activity takes place with the Planning Commission. It goes to the City Council the way that we want it to be as a recommendation.

o It is in the law.
We are drafting the law. How the City wants to deal with this Commission and the City Council,
you can draft it so that your recommendations are either accepted or rejected, by the Council and
then sent back to you. In other words, you can fine tune that in a way that still gives you the
ultimate approval, they can either accept or reject.

o That is what PUD is, that is. Remember the Mill Street School, last iteration, it got through the Planning Commission and got to City Council and it was changed dramatically.

Mr. Rickert spoke on how the process was really good and it also involved a lot of small means for the community, in the current iteration.

o National Harbor was that design on a small scale similar to the PUD.
Certainly the Baltimore Harbor was design, maybe not called a PUD at the time, but they
recreated the zoning process for that project. What direction do we go from here?

Mr. Jakubiak continued, "What I am hearing is that, we should explore the PUD or some type of plan development district to cover the entire river front from Sailwind's Park to the Visitor's Center, which would mean taking probably to take out what you have decided already. At least review the industrial zone for the hospital or simply say that we basically create a floating zone with this language and when someone petitions for it you can prove it and it will come down to the sets of the property of concerns. Then all the existing zoning regulations or some of them can be set aside for favor of flexibility and design.

Mr. Rickert, "I think that we should have to please the community from being uneasy if there was not a height maximum requirement and a setback requirement. Set back from the water, because if there was one common thread, that at every hearing that I have ever been involved in, with anything on the creek, everybody dislikes the canyons."

Mr. Jakubiak replied that we can handle the setbacks from the Choptank River easily, we could put that anywhere in the code, no building or structure shall be set closer than a certain amount of feet. A different standard for Cambridge Creek and another for the Choptank River.

o Tie it to the acreage, if there is a minimum acreage that this would apply to, and then say in the particular seen.

Mr. Jakubiak will write something up, and bring back to this Commission. Existing base zoning district, how do we want to zone it here and now and what restrictions do we want to place on it? For instance you could say, keep it as part of the Downtown Waterfront District and make it part of the form based code and cap the height at 48 feet, unless you know it can all be set aside once the Planning Development Concept applies to the property. We could also say, we do not want someone slipping in with a four story condo building on that site, so maybe we rezone it to something stricter, like an open space for natural resources type of zone, but create the Planning Development Concept that will apply in and change all of that. That might be the way to go; a more restrictive zoning ordinance is resource conservation.

o Instead of rezoning it, suppose we require that it is PUD if it is above certain acreage.

Any parcel in this area, larger than three or four or five acres, shall be developed according to the PUD. In the meantime, it is zoned according to resource conservation open space zoning category. Most of that is public owned land.

o You would be requiring a rezoning.

That is what a planning and development concept does; it rezones the property that is why it goes to City Council. Because it is legislative act.

Mr. Rickert stressed to this Commission, "The process that was going on, if it still is or not with the State involvement. Was in essence that type of approach to the development because the land was not available you don't meet these standards and build this building in phases one and then do these other things. That is the type of approach that we have to really adhere to in the ordinance to ensure that we don't. This has happened on several of the high density taller developments on the creek. The wording and the process and the PWC and the PWRD zoning did not work."

o The City Council had changed some of them.

Mr. Jakubiak commented that we should treat this like Sailwind's Park site, this port site, much the same way just like County Office Building site. There is a very restrict zone on that, you say nothing happens until you come see us first. The hospital is treated that way, if you approve what Mr. Roane suggested tonight, institutional nothing can happen but institutional. You might deal with it that way too. But the deal falls through with the County, the State and the City and this parcel falls into private hands and someone comes in with a development program, unless they come to you and take advantage of the plan in your development concept. You could be stuck with open space and maybe a small building, or a continuation of the Sailwind's facility.

o The State has the option and publicly stating it, to simply auctioning the property off. That is their normal process for disposing of land that they have declared surplus.

We need to treat this property just like any major parks or resource areas. Buy there is a provision that says, we want you to develop, in fact when you develop you have to take advantage of the enhanced, flexible, approach. It is the Planned Waterfront Development or PUD. It would be a floating zone that will be applied to that property. This could be applied to the hospital property too as one project or as two projects. It might apply somewhere else that we can't foresee right now that meets those general size requirements.

What we have done is to reduce the maximum building to 48 feet, Item six is the Historic District Regulations. Mr. Brandewie has some staff comments on the HPC regulations, largely based on comments from the HPC Members they are incorporated in these changes.

Mr. Brandewie stated that he wants to get with Mr. Collison in the appeals process as the Board of Zoning Appeals and how that language is finally shaped.

I have added some additional language, keeping with some of the comments. So, accessory usage construction may occupy 35 percent of the rear yard that is the prevision currently in the ordinance. Height of accessory building structure, in Industrial Districts these accessory units may be bigger without impact on the joining properties, and I think that the current ordinance may be a little restrictive in that respect. Except for the Industrial District and so the height is caped for the accessory building by the standard height limitation in the Industrial District, which is 35 feet. So if someone wanted to build an exhaust tower or refrigerated unit or something like that, you could not build over 12 feet unless you set it back a foot from your adjoining industrial building.

o An accessory building such as detached garage and is 18 feet in height. If you have an upstairs to that like a shop or apartment, that height may make it taller than that. Then it because an accessory drawing.

Back to the accessory swimming pools, we have six feet as the setback from the rear property line and then we went back to the Cities code and it said 10 feet from not only the rear property line but also from the principle dwelling and side property line, and any other accessory structure. So we have put that language back in.

Then General requirements for the accessory uses and structures. When an accessory structure is attached like an attached garage it become a part of the principle building, it has to be meet the setbacks and you can't have accessory use or an accessory building without having the principle building first, otherwise someone might build a garage before building a house.

The last thing is the fence height limitations. In the Industrial District the fence can be taller than six feet.

Next is the definition for artisan shop which is the selling of jewelry, paintings, sculptures that you produce on site.

o Are you saying at you can put up a four foot fenced in the residential areas.
o Three foot in the front and up to six feet at the rear of the property.

Ms. Roane stated that in this process we have a little bit more work and finalizing the comments and discussions from tonight. We need some time to incorporate the change, then email the proposal out and then come together. We have to have a public hearing with the Planning Commission, and then present the adopted code to the City Council. Then the City Council will have a work session and one public hearing. During all of this, we need to make a final draft and put onto the website. We are hoping that we could meet on March 18th and make sure the changes are acceptable and then get them posted. Also, during March 18th meeting to approve the final draft by the Planning Committee and then have a public hearing for voting second meeting in April 15th. We need to have a hard copy at the library and at City Hall.

o William Craig: Are you factoring in the Group Homes information.

I will finish the language and then after Ms. Losty has reviewed it on the Temporal Housing, not the Group Homes has already been done.

Mr. Burroughs asked for a motion to adjourn this meeting. Motion to adjourn by Hubert Trego and second by William Craig. Approved by all attending this meeting.

 


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

______________________ _______________
Jerry Burroughs, Chairman Date