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Charles County, Maryland

January 27, 2015 Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

 

The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room of Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland.

The following were present:

  • Frederick Mower, Chairman
  • Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman
  • Lynn Green
  • Shannon Houston-Smack
  • Sean Johnston, Alternate
  • Matthew Clagett, Associate County Attorney
  • Joseph Adams-Raczowski, Program Manager, Planning.
  • Gina Markovich, Clerk

 

  1. Mr. Mower, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and there was a quorum to proceed.
  2. Mr. Mower, Chairman, announced the process by which all Board of Appeals hearings are to be conducted.
  3. Mr. Mower, Chairman, announced that anyone wishing to make a statement pertinent to the operations of the Board can do so at this time, excluding the items on tonight's agenda.

HEARINGS

7:05 p.m., Public Hearing: Docket #1339 – Cynthia Bliss, for a special exception application, as provided in Articles XXV and XIII, and Use # 4.01.400 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance to establish a Social, Fraternal Club & Lodge, union hall, meeting hall & similar uses.

Mr. Clagett stated there was substantial compliance with the notification requirements. 

Ms. Cyndi Bilbra, Planning Staff, gave a brief summary of the request, using a location, zoning and aerial map for reference:

  • Proposed: The Applicant is petitioning for a Special Exception, pursuant to Articles XXV and XIII, and Use # 4.01.400 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance to establish a Social, Fraternal Club & Lodge, union hall, meeting hall     & similar uses.  Specifically, they wish to hold events such as family reunions,       weddings, picnics, Boy/Girl Scout day outings. 
  • Location: 11770 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland (aka Dentsville)
  • Tax Map 56, Grid 4, Parcel 2
  • Zone: Agricultural Conservation (AC) zone
  • Staff recommends approval with conditions as outlined in the Staff Report.

Cynthia Bliss, applicant appeared before the Board.  Mr. Mower, Chairman swore in the applicant.

Cynthia Bliss

311 Carriage Lane

Huntingtown, Maryland

The Applicant provided background information of the property and what she specifically wanted to do with the property.  She wanted it understood to the public and the Board that she was requesting a special exception to hold events such as family reunions, weddings, picnics, Boy/Girl Scout day outings on the property and not open a lodge or club. 

The Chairman asked the Applicant if she found the Staff Report to be true and accurate.  Ms. Bliss stated that she did.  The Board asked if Ms. Blisss had read the conditions that staff recommended to the Board, and she stated that she read and understood them.

Mr. Johnston, also made clarification of what the applicant was asking for and stated that the use #4.01.400 was the appropriate use as it best fits.

The Chairman swore in the following witnesses from the audience:

  1. Mike Williams, 11610 Rome Place, La Plata, Maryland
  2. Joyce Cooksey, 11888 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland
  3. Iris Dickerson, 11877 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland
  4. Anna Valcarcel, 12472 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland
  5. Joan Hackett, 12438 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland
  6. David Holt, 11630 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland
  7. Tonya Redding, 11595 Farm Drive, La Plata, Maryland
  8. Ryan Hackett, 11876 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland

The witnesses made statements in opposition to the Applicant and expressed their concerns.

Most of the public concerns were traffic, noise, alcohol, and commercialization.  The Hackett family brought up the issue of the shared driveway that connects their properties and the farm.

The applicant appeared back before the board, and the board members addressed some of the concerns of the public and asked the applicant the following questions:

  1. If approved, would she be acceptable to set hours of operation for events? It was discussed and agreed on 10 am to 10 pm would be the hours of operation
  2. If approved, during events would the applicant be acceptable to close off the connection to the shared driveway with the adjacent property owners?  She stated that she would be agreeable to close of the connection to the shared driveway.         
  3. If approved, would she agree not to have shooting events for fee?  She stated that she would be agreeable to that.
  4. If approved, would she have no family members shooting on the day events are planned on the property? She stated that she would be agreeable to that.

Mr. Mower, Chairman stated that he would be inclined to approve the application, with the following conditions:

  • Conditions recommended by staff in the staff report
  • Hours of operation
  • Lighting, no intrusive lighting
  • No events with weapons/firearms for fee
  • Close the connection to the shared driveway during events

Mr. Moon, Vice- Chairman stated that he would be inclined to approve the application, with the following conditions:

  • Conditions recommended by staff in the staff report
  • Property owners can shoot on the property
  • No community firearm activity
  • Lighting
  • Restrict traffic flow on the shared driveway

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Mr. Moon, seconded by the Mr. Johnston, to approve the Special Exception for Docket #1338 with five (5) conditions of approval as recommended by Staff and the following conditions:

  • Commercial firearm activity is not permitted on days when events are held; the property owners and their guests may still use firearms on non-event days.    
  • The hours of operation will be 10 am to 10 pm
  • Lighting, no lighting outfacing the property and being intrusive to adjacent property owners
  • Close the connection to the shared driveway during events

With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A MOTION was made by Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman, seconded by Sean Johnston, to approve the Minutes for January 13, 2015 as presented.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.