May 20, 2014
Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman; Hubert Trego; Mary Losty and W. Marshall Rickert and Chantey Nelson
Others in attendance included: Anne Roane, City Planner
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Burroughs. Tonight we have one case at hand, a rezoning P&Z case 03 FY 13/14, map# 305, parcel# 5692 located at 802 Woods Road, this is a map mistake from 2003 adopted zoning map.
Ms. Roane addressed the Commission, "I am going to read you may staff report. City of Cambridge is proposing to rezone 802 Woods Road from lite industrial I-1, to highway commercial. A mistake in the official zoning map, and was discovered by the staff of the Planning Department. When the current maps were compiled and approved in 2003 this property was mistakenly given the previous zoning lite industrial, although the properties land use was a functioning restaurant at the time. Currently there is a proposal for a restaurant and this is not a permitted use and the lite industrial zone. In the draft Unified Developed Code and the associate Zoning Maps are recommending that this map and the State be correct, that these are pending adoption by the City Council. The Annotated Code of Maryland regulates policies and procedures regarding zoning. A zoning request may be granted as stated in the Annotated Code of Maryland based on the findings that there was a substantial change in character of the neighbor where the property located or a mistake in the existing zoning classification, otherwise none as a mapping mistake. Planning and Zoning is proposing a rezoning and recommends supporting the change from I-1 to HC per the Annotated Code of Maryland, due to a mapping mistake in 2003. Attached is a map that shows the proposed zoning. This was brought to the attention of the Planning Staff, we are aware of where this property is, home of the old Spicer's Restaurant. It became clear to us, when the owners of the property came in to say that they were going to be leasing this land and property and at that time, we discovered that is was zoned as I-1, we knew and at that time we made sure that the proposed maps in the Unified Development Code, that we made that correction. When that happened we thought that we were closer to adopting this Code, then we were. The owners were advised that instead of paying $1,000.00 and going through the process, the City is already making that proposal. Obviously, we did not adopt the Codes as quickly as we thought and the new tenants have been moving ahead and hopes to open this restaurant. That is where we are, since we do not know how fast, nothing has happened in the time we thought it would, she can't open this restaurant while it is zoned lite industrial. Staff has raised the issue and that is where we are. The owner of the business, not the property, Ms. Patti D_______ is here and we understand that there are some questions."
She is Patti D_______ and lives at 30955 Omar Road Frankford, Delaware 19945. She is asking for a license to open. She has spoken with Mr. Phillips, the Fire Chief today and will be back on Thursday and still needs to get in touch with some from the Health Department and that is it.
Were you aware of some of the issue with that property and site before you signed the lease?
No, I did not.
Are the property owners being helpful to you in any way to try and get this settled?
The sign issue? They said that they are going to court and I have nothing to do with any of that.
Ms. Losty asked Ms. Roane that if the idea is that we do the rezoning based on the State per the Code and it would be effective, what is the process to be followed. Ms. Roane replied that this is a recommendation that goes to the City Council, so whatever we recommend. The State will go, your recommendation tonight, whether to move ahead with it or not or to deny to go to the City Council.
Ms. Losty questioned that if the City Council were to vote, today to be decided on and then they would not have to wait for the full Code to be done. Since, this already shows what the applicant is requesting in the new code, this is to correct our error. She cannot get the license until this is done. Ms. Roane replied that Ms. D_____ cannot get the occupancy permit. This is not the only thing that she needs to comply with to get the occupancy permit. She needs to meet with the Fire Marshall and the Health Department, but certainly Zoning Department must to sign off on it.
Mr. Rickert addressed Ms. D_____, that we welcome new businesses and not trying to hold up anything. All of us understand the rationalization of the rezone changes of the ordnance rather than waiting for the new law to take effect. However, as you are aware there are some pending issues with the property owner that are relevant to the obtaining a zoning permit. We need to iron those issues out and hope that we can do that working with you and the property owner to get this moving in a good manner.
A question directed to Ms. Roane, he did not see anything here that says that the property owner requests this zoning change. My understanding is in the Annotated Code is that on a petition to consider that a mistake was made or to change a neighborhood, that has be initiated by the property owner. It can't be initiated by somebody else. Before this is a valid application, we have to have acknowledgement signed by the property owner is asking for the change. Do you agree with that? Ms. Roane replied that she thought that the staff could raise it as an issue, but she understands that she may have misspoken. She is happy to meet with the owners and she think that they want to be a willing applicant.
They have to be and Ms. Roane should check with Mr. Collison, for the record.
A question for Ms. D____ when new restaurant have been opening here on Route 50 and downtown, if they are going into buildings where there are elements that did not conform to the ordinance, the current ordinance, they have been required to bring the property into conformance. A good example is Popeye's on Route 50, who went into a Wendy's building and they remodeled it and did a nice job and there was an old sign and the sign was too close to the highway. They could not reuse the sign for their business. A stipulation for opening and getting a zoning permit was that they had to construct a proper sign. Are you aware that that requirement would be enforced?
Ms. D____ said that she has spoke with Ms. Roane and is trying to do what is being required.
Are you aware, that there is enforcement effort underway on the current sign is now pending court?
Mr. Rickert expressed his view that we have to address those two issues as part of recommending the approval for this process and having said that, at some point I would like to draft a motion.
Ms. Losty expressed also that was a great point, it would make since that the property owner should be the one, because it is their interest. A neighbor could rezone your property.
Ms. D_____ asked how does she come in to play?
Mr. Rickert stated that maybe when we discuss a motion that would be evident, but you may be caught in the middle of something that you can't be resolved. He thinks that this can be a win, win, for you as well as for the property owner and us. You have indicated that you are willing to do it, why should they not agree to it. We have to tie that into this, because we could not reconsider a rezoning if there is a litigation involved right now, on the current zoning decision on the property. We hope that it does not happen.
Mr. Burroughs expressed that he met Ms. D___ when you were first in town and sort of directed you into where to go with this planning of the restaurant. He also knew about the litigation that we had with the sign, and unfortunately the owners are not trying to be cooperative with us. They are now in their second try at a court case with this sign. They are not paying fines that they are being leveed against. He does not see a reason that we should hold you up, because of their mistake and not willingness to cooperate with the City laws. Maybe with this proposal that we are going to make, hopefully with Ms. Roane's help and our attorney that we can work this out that you can try and get your permit to go ahead and open up your business. With this stipulation, it will be attached to this recommendation is a must, that they do cooperate and help you. You are paying them money and I do not want to see you out of the money that you have already put into the place and because of their unwillingness to cooperate with the City laws. Is there a motion to be made?
Mr. Rickert made a motion that based on a finding that a mapping mistake was made of property located at 802 Woods Road, tax map 305, parcel 5692, the City of Cambridge Planning Commission recommends that the Mayor and City Council of Cambridge to approve a change in the zoning from I-1 to HC, subject to the following conditions:
1. The owners of the property agree and acknowledge that they are a co-applicant with the City on the rezoning request and that consistent with the current enforcement practices of the City all signs associated with any permitted use of the property will fully conform to the zoning ordinance without exception. (This is a good way to get this resolved and we are happy and move forward and you have indicated that you are willing to do that anyways, so why should they hold it up.)
2. That a fully executed agreement between the owners and the City shall be included as part of the rezoning application before the City Council. (If there is not a fully executed agreement as part of the package before the City Council, that the Planning Commission regards the package as incomplete and should not move forward.)
Mr. Burroughs stated that the motion was second, by Ms. Losty. It has been property moved and second with the recommendation made by Mr. Rickert, with the full contents of his recommendation of parts one and two, which you will give a copy to Ms. Roane. All those in favor, Aye and opposed, all approved.
Mr. Rickert had a talk with Mr. Collison and he is prepared to write up the agreement.
Ms. Losty asked from a timing point of view, what are we thinking of timing, could this still go to the City Council next month. Ms. Roane advised that it must be advertised first, a 14 day advertising and posting period.
Discussion about the presentation of the new Code for the City Council.
We will be meeting with the Council on June 2nd, and that is the presentation of the draft Unified Development Code to the City Council. That will start their process. We will meet next week to go over the highlights and decide who will speak about those points.
Ms. Nelson asked a few questions about the signs on Washington Street that have been placed at Kool Ice and Eastern Service Corp. Who actually gave the approval to put those up? Ms. Roane replied that are permitted at this time. They will not be permitted in the new ordinance. What about the Chicken Man or the Laundromat, so are they allowed to erect that type of sign right now? They do not have enough money to do so, that is limiting those signs. They will have to conform to old code.
Ms. Nelson also asked about the sign at the High School? Ms. Roane replied that that sign was with County and we have no jurisdiction over that. The Code does not apply to County.
Mr. Burroughs commented to the group that we have had this discussion several times with someone, the C-SD High School had to have different colors. No one else has asked about this special request. We say no more than one color on static signs. We made sure that the Mexican place that the bull and outside colors and had only one color and they complied with the PWCD. We put them through a wringer to make sure that they did do that. They had to conform. You have people in town that want to paint their buildings any color and not comply with what we have in our Code.
There was discussion about business owners using their property to sell cars and they are not a licensed car dealership. The State requires that anyone that sells a car if they sell five or more in a year they have to be a license dealer. There are location, building standards, functional standards and financial standards to comply to and one of them is to meet local ordinance.
With the passing of this Code, most businesses can't just adopt another business and put it on their property and operate it. Would this be true? Example is Route 16 at the corner of Stone Boundary, there was a flower shop and last year they started an snowball place and then it changed. The building from that property and moved it down to the chimney place and now they are running the business out of there. There is a process to conform.
There was some discussion about a few people have approached Ms. Nelson that at Patamoke Village at 8 Patamoke Way that there is a salon being operated out of a home. There is no sign out, but everyone knows that they are there. Cars are always loaded up there at the house. They can get a permit with a special exception.
Mr. Trego commented to this Commission that he attended the last County Commissioners meeting and they say the pledge of allegiance and have pray. We can do that to.
Mr. Burroughs asked for a motion to adjourn this meeting. Motion to adjourn by Hubert Trego and second by Mary Losty. Approved by all attending this meeting.
Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on ???????????
Jerry Burroughs, Chairman Date