• 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

April 15, 2014

The Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Cambridge met on Tuesday, April 15, 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

Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner; Robert S. Collison, City Attorney;
Commissioner Frank Cooke, City Liaison; Jane Devlin and Judd Vickers

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. Everyone has a copy and can review it during this meeting.

Ms. Anne Roane thanked everyone for their hard work on this project. She hopes that this document will be acceptable to give to the City Council and make all the red changes to black then get it online. She would like for this document to be online at least a month before it goes to the City Council, so the public has ample time to review it. This document should be at the second meeting in May for the City Council for their work session or the first meeting in June.

Chairman Jerry Burroughs took the time to welcome the new City Council Liaison, Commissioner Frank Cooke.

A discussion about keeping the red corrections in the document for the online version, so the public will know what was changed and a paragraph about digital signage was omitted. This document should have all the corrections except for the portion that Anne mentioned earlier. If there are any more corrections needed, they can be directed to the Anne's office.

Discussion for a clarification on Tables One & Two in the back of the document for Permitted Use by Zoning District, Group Homes. It was suggested that the P in Table One should be a C. The Group Homes and every other residential zone are C, and this residential zone they are a P. Group Homes in Table One were all C's, so this should be a C in Table Two. Under definitions, Group Homes is not defined. The definition of Temporal Homes needs to be separated from the Group Home. We still need the DDA definition and Assisted Living definition for this document.

Group Home - A facility providing housing facilities and/or rehabilitation in a single family dwelling for not more than eight (8) persons, including support personnel, for persons who need specialized housing, treatment and/or counseling service because of delinquency or criminal rehabilitation, such as a criminal half-way house, current addiction to or illegal use of a controlled substance, or a type of mental illness that involves behavior related to violent felony crime. Residents are provided service and supervision by licensed operators in accordance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and requirements. Treatment and counseling shall be limited to the residents of the dwelling. The residents of a group home shall not include any person who, during the term of residence at such facility, commits a violent act or causes substantial physical damage to the property of others, and any such person must be removed from such facility.

Mr. Robert Collison was asked, for a legal point of view of this document. And his comment was, "that it needs to be made more user friendly with more page numbers and some type of index."

Discussion on the red section for the mixed used water front overlay, is that intent on the A type of PUD. Didn't see if there was a minimum acreage on that. It reads as there was a minimum acreage of three acres as far as their height. The height was allowed with the process and goes up to 70 feet if there was more than three acres. It was silent as far as to the minimum number of acres to consider this type of development. If two or more owners say, jointly developed the area, they might have 2.6 acres.

Commissioner Mr. Frank Cooke: "One thing that has jumped out to me about the change that regard to the appeals to HPC decisions, I am sure that there were some discussions about that. Having been personally involved with that, the Board of Zoning Appeals, I suspect that the change was requested because of the actions that the Board of Zoning Appeals took in a couple of cases. In an existing document and you are a homeowner in the Historic District, you go to the HPC and they rule against you, or you have the right to go to the City's Board of Zoning Appeals to appeal that decision. Having been involved in that, HPC has won more cases than they have lost. Recently they have lost a couple of cases and the first one, no one showed up from the HPC, generally when you go to court if you do not show up, you lose. The second case they had two decisions from HPC in regards to this historic nature of the issue, one HPC ruled one way and on another they ruled differently. So we stepped in and took that case and ruled on it. The second group was a little upset with that. Now you are asking for everyone homeowner in the city if they have a problem with the City from HPC, now they have to spend the cost, and file in Circuit Court. That is a big difference, so that is a major change in the way we have been operating in the Historic District."

The Historic Preservation Commission is going through their entire by-laws and processes. They have been going back and forth through the Appeals. The law is Appeals of HPC, must follow the same process as the Appeals of the Planning Commission. Before there has been discussion on having the Appeals of the Planning Commission continue to the Board of Zoning Appeals is where they are going now. As it is drafted, it will be consistent with the HPC language, appeals from this body will go to the Circuit Court. Because they have to be the same, and the way it is drafted is any appeals the decision by the Planning & Zoning Commission will not go to the Court of Appeals as drafted, it is on page 12. It will have to go to Circuit Court. So to change one, you have to change the other.

The Historic Preservation Commission has to follow the same appeals process as your zoning board and that is the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Ms. Jane Devlin: "The HPC should have stricter qualifications and we finally have a certified local government and hope that we are holding there. That requires a body of knowledge that not all of us have. So from my perspective I think this is why remanded back to HPC and you can have a group of five people that may have knowledge of the code about nothing of preservation. That is where we get into a problem of how to we support the preservation district without the preservation commissions making the decisions."

All of the information from the Historic Preservation Commissions has been given to Chris to be put into this document. The HPC design guidelines will not be incorporated into our process, but the recommendations appeals process would be.

This document with the corrections tonight can be put into an online form, because it is going to go through an extensive public hearing process and there is going to be lots of suggestions and perhaps the Planning Commission is going to evaluate some of the suggestions and a significant number of citizens will recognize that this is a work in progress with the expectation that should something different come forth in the public hearing that we can work on it.

Discussion with Judd Vickers, Anne Roane and Robert Collison: I made a couple of comments last fall, conversion of single family homes to a two-family residence. It looks like the NC districts have eliminated that, as far as multi-family. (Anne: It has been eliminated.) My second question is related to the day care need to be brought forward into this current code. (Anne: I will follow up on that.)

Ms. Mary Losty, "When we looked at our temporal housing, we not only have definition back on page 253, which is great, but we have special regulations with the language on page 93 that specifies that they must comply with every other state regulations, permit, license and that was good work. What I would like to know, is do we have any section that also dictates that must Group Homes must comply with the annual registrations, inspections and all the state regulations, permits and licenses." (Anne: No, we did not do that for Group Homes.)

Discussion with Mary Losty, Anne Roane & Robert Collison: We thought that it might protect some of the disabled to make sure that it is a good situation. So, we need to have this in as special regulations. This needs to be in the definition of Group Home, as well to follow state regulations and also the definition of Temporal as well. Page 93 and then the definition on page 253 does not have it. A cross references to all the definitions is needed.

The NC Districts were kept and the R-1, 2 and 3 into one R zone.

Discussion with Robert Collison & Anne Roane: There was an issue before with only one R zone; the NC zones are working just fine. Waterford area between Jenkins Creek and Route #343 is going through bankruptcy foreclosure and they are single family homes and someone could buy that area and change them into multi-family homes. Even though it is all residential, what qualifies as an R-3 is the acreage. If you have just R, than you would have 80 or more acres to be multi-family. The minimum acreage for an R-3 would limit where that could be and you can have these larger tracts and have a buyer to un-subdivide and make them into two lots at 40 acres each. Anything already zoned as R-1 cannot be down zoned to something other. There were also so at Race Street extended and already platted as R-1 single family developments. The acreage could dictate the type of R zone. (Anne Roane: Multi-family is only permitted by through special exception in the R-zone is not permitted in the NC-zone. It is subject through some conditions in the R-zones.)

Mr. W. Marshall Rickert made a motion that the Unified Development Code to be submitted to the City Council with the recommendation for adoption, subject to the following. First is to make the Group Home use tables consistent per our discussion and the second is that there will be an addition of definition for Group Home with subject to Planning Commission review and third that there will be additional clarification language regarding to dissolution and re-subdivision of property or subject to the development of regulations which would prohibit multi-family use in a previously approved single family residential subdivision. Motion seconded by Mary Losty. Motion was approved by all attending.

Ms. Anne Roane mentioned that on Tuesday, May 6th the University of Maryland landscape & architecture seniors are going to be presenting from 2:30 to 4:30 pm their master plan design for the Norris Taylor property. Hope that all can come out and see that. This is also our next meeting date.

Robert Collison: An issue about a church that has come to the Planning Office and seeking a Use of Occupancy Permit at a rental space in the industrial park. They presented materials which they have received from the Justice Department. The Religion Land Use Institutional Purpose Act, statute that was passed by Congress in 2000, that says that you can't treat religious use through your land use planning and processing in any way that would create an undue burden to them if you will. You can't treat any differently than any other non-commercial uses. The problem we have presently is when we looked into it, the existing code and the purposed code allows non-industrial uses similar to that of a church to occupy, such as colleges, hospital and institutions are permitted, but churches are not. This creates a problem for the City as a potential violation of that, it is my recommendation that our office grant their use to occupy permit and that we look at something to a policy standpoint, we wish that we had those types of uses in the industrial zone, then we need to remove those other permitted uses from that district. There is something to say, well industrial uses to keep it for that, because if you have a large use of companies coming in, you may lose that opportunity, because the space is taken up by these other non-industrial uses and since there is an abundant industrially zoned property with in this City, that we do not foresee that being a problem. We have this problem in this particular instance.

Anne Roane and Robert Collison: The Planning office has given a occupancy permit for the new church and we have put in a non-nuisance clause, so if the church is in that building and a sand blasting operation wants to open next door....... (R.C.: The County has right now, an industrial area with a jail and Chesapeake Juvenile residential treatment facility so we have some non-industrial uses in the area.)

The code presently says that we are not permitted. Idea being that you would want to keep the industrial use land to for industrial users if you have a large industrial user coming along and may lose that because you did not have enough space for them. So you try to limit your non-industrial uses in that district. It could very well not be compatible with some industrial types of operations. When we designated these properties as industrial, we looked a lots of different things, like location respect to transportation, utilities and a church can go most anywhere, where a lite industry can't.

A discussion about the Spicer's Seafood location sign and why they are being fined. The owners of the property of Spicer's on Wood Road are appealing the decision by the City. They have an application with the variance as a backup plan. If they lose the appeal and has to remove it, he wants the Board of Appeals to give him a variance for the height. They didn't need a variance for the height. He had setback variances. They are appealing the decision that the Board of Appeals had given them until November to remove it, and then he filed an application for a variance. The owners were told that they did not need the variance, and it was not required, because under the current zone, you can go up to 75 feet and his sign is about 45 feet. That particular sign has been there for 30 years.

Mr. Robert Collison commented, that "The state law says that zoning regulations, you have a three year statute of limitations in the enforcement of your zoning."

The owners are appealing; Beth Todd (DPW: Building Permit Administrator) received a phone call today from Stella saying that she wants to come and apply for a sign permit. Stella thinks that she is going to try and replace that sign. This Committee has been enforcing on new tenants that if there is a sign that is not conforming, they cannot carry that forward. So it does not matter whether the owner has a tenant or not. The owners were presenting, that the Board of Appeals decision was that they had until November to have the property occupied by a tenant, so they said that had a tenant whom was opening it, it has been five months and there still is no activity. They still need to get a zoning permit and a new tenant. We have been enforcing compliant signage.

• Do they know that the property is being re-zoned?

Anne Roane: Yes, they know! They have not been in business for over nine years at that location. We have had compliance with a lot of signage up and down the highway, with the exception of these people. They cannot open, until the zoning ordinance passes, because they cannot have a restaurant in the industrial zone. The cost of removing the sign is about $1,300.00 and not the $100,000 that they report to the Board of Zoning Appeals. They do have a court date.

W. Marshall Rickert: Begin the enforcement again. They say that is was improperly, the appeal is based on their contention that it was an improper admiration of the finding of the appeals court. The likely remedy is going to be going back to doing it right. They are not going to rule that they can keep a sign. So, I would hope that the ruling adverse to us, we simply go back and start the process new. And do it right.

Robert Collison: Have we received a memorandum in support of the appeal. (Anne Roane: I gave it to you.) That was the notice of the appeal. The memorandum of it.......(Anne Roane: Michael Dodd is handling it and they are moving ahead with it.)

Jerry Burroughs: I would like a motion to adjourn this meeting. Motion to adjourn by Hubert Trego and second by W. Marshall Rickert. Approved by all attending this meeting.


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

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Jerry Burroughs, Chairman Date