April 8, 2014 Minutes | www.charlescountymd.gov


Charles County, Maryland

April 8, 2014 Minutes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland. 
The following were present:

Luke Hannah, Chairman
Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman
Frederick Mower
Shannon Houston-Smack,
Sean Johnston, Alternate
Matthew Clagett, Associate County Attorney
Joseph Raczkowski, Program Manager, Planning
Tetchiana Anderson, Planning
Kirby Blass, Planning    
Carrol Everett, Clerk

  • The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. and stated there was a quorum. 
  • Lynn Green was absent.
  • The Chairman announced the process by which all Board of Appeals hearings are to be conducted.
  • The 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.


Docket #1284 – Keller Transportation, Inc., for a Special Exception and variance for a bus dispatching, storage and maintenance facility, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Sections 297-415 and 297-416 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Blass, Planning Staff, gave a brief overview of the request using location, zoning, and aerial maps for reference.

  • Location:  4472 Gallant Green Road
  • Zoning:  Agricultural Conservation (AC) on 28 acres, designated as Parcels 56 and 133 on Tax Map 26
  • Subject property is home to the existing Keller Transportation business as well as the Keller’s residence. 
  • Keller bus service commenced in 1952 prior to the adoption of zoning in Charles County and has continued as a non-conforming use.
  • The business was granted non-conforming use expansion approval in 1994 via Docket #869.
  • In 2008, Bill #2008-02 was approved by the Charles County Commissioners which revised the Zoning Ordinance to include Use 6.03.311 as approvable via special exception in the AC Zone.
  • The Applicant proposes further expansion, improving and modernizing their bus operation facility.
  • Improvements will include a proposed 12,000 sq. ft. office/maintenance building, an increase in the parking areas, and a new entrance road location onto Gallant Green Road
  • The variance requested pertains to a small portion of the northern property boundary containing 36 existing gravel parking spaces that are within 100 ft. from the property line “no parking” limitation.
  • Five (5) conditions of approval are recommended by Staff.

Mr. Mower asked why an Adequate Public Facility (APF) review is necessary when a Traffic Study has already been done. 

The Chairman swore in the following County representative:

John Mudd
County Staff
Resource & Infrastructure Division
Planning & Growth Management Dept.

Mr. Mudd explained that an APF review is a Zoning Ordinance requirement, not Staff elected.  Any commercial use through a zoning site plan must go through the APF requirement.  The Traffic Study was prepared for the Board’s use tonight.

Gerard McDonough, Esquire represented the Applicant. 

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Ernest Keller
15265 Rosina Pl
Waldorf, MD

Mr. Keller gave testimony regarding the history of the Keller Transportation Company.  He described a 1940 tobacco barn on the property.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Charles Keller
15210 Rosina Pl
Waldorf, MD

Mr. Keller testified that he is one of the owners.  He described the operational aspects of the Company.  He stated that Keller has the highest safety standards from the Federal DOT.   There are 160 employees and the building is inadequate.  

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

David Richardson
General Manager for Operations

Mr. Richardson described the operation of the Company with respect to the number of school buses and motor coaches, number and type of employees, condition of the buses, licensing, fueling and maintenance of the vehicles. 

The Vice Chairman asked if there have been any current or past complaints from neighboring residents or businesses on Gallant Green Road regarding traffic. 

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Randy Crowder
Professional Civil Engineer

Mr. Crowder described his professional background and credentials.  His presentation regarded surrounding properties, site plan of existing conditions, proposed new entrance with deceleration and acceleration lanes, and environmental features of the property.

Mr. Mower stated that the project will be a great improvement over what exists today.

Mr. Crowder addressed two variance requests as they pertain to the 25 ft. landscape Bufferyard E requirement and the 100 ft. parking setback requirement. 
The Vice Chairman asked if the Applicant had any concerns on any conditions proposed by Staff.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Michael Lenhart
Traffic Engineer & Transportation Planning

Mr. Lenhart stated that an APF will be required when a site development plan is reviewed.  He summarized the Traffic Study which concluded that the use will have no greater impact at this location than any other site within the AC Zone.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Lawrence Abel
Land Planner

Mr. Abel testified as to his education and work experience.  He stated that the Applicant has a zero tolerance policy for safety issues.  He stated there will be a small impact from increased development. 

The Board referred to counsel whether the variance regarding the landscape buffer can be addressed even though it was not requested by the Applicant.

Mr. Mower asked for Staff’s opinion on variances.

There were questions and discussion by the Board on the historic significance of the tobacco barn on the property and whether or not demolition, as proposed, is appropriate or if further investigation, including site documentation, is warranted.

Mr. Raczkowski stated that to his knowledge, the tobacco barn issue is not within the Board’s jurisdiction but enforced through the Historic Preservation Commission process.    

Mr. McDonough made closing results.  There was no testimony from the audience.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mower, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve Docket #1284, eliminating Staff recommended Condition #4 regarding the tobacco barn.  In addition to granting a variance for 297-212, Use #6.03.311-D. which the Applicant specifically asked for, the Board is also granting a variance for 297-212-G. regarding the bufferyard as they both contain the same criteria and rationale.  The variances apply only to a small portion of the property line which interconnects t the adjacent Parcel 147 via an existing gravel parking area as shown on the submitted site plan.  All other areas of the property line are still subject to compliance with Use conditions D. and G.  All voted in favor with the exception of Ms. Smack, and the MOTION passed.  

Docket #1299:  Richard & Carol Turner - Entry of Order

Mr. Clagett stated that the Board needs to enter an Order, consistent with the Circuit Court Opinion. 

The Chairman stated that he was not prepared tonight to make a decision.

The Vice Chairman stated that his understanding of the Circuit Court Opinion is that the matter is remanded to the Board with direction to deny the application; i.e., Special Exception and variances as a whole. 

The Vice Chairman recommended that the County Attorney’s office draft the Order denying the application based on the Opinion of the Circuit Court.  However, if that ruling should be reversed on further appeal, the Board’s Order granting the Special Exception and variances would be in effect.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Mr. Mower, to have the County Attorney’s staff prepare an Order following the instructions of the Circuit Court to deny the application.  All voted in favor and the MOTION passed.

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Ms. Smack, to approve the Minutes for January 14, 2014.  All voted in favor and the MOTION passed.


The Vice Chairman expressed concern on the wording of Condition #7 of the draft Order for Docket #1304 - Chaney Enterprises. 

Condition #7 regards imposing a 100 ft. buffer along the property boundaries or a buffer/setback approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment. 

The Chairman stated that additional information is needed on Docket #1304.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.