April 9, 2013 Minutes
The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 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
Natalie McKinney, Vice Chairman
Frederick Mower, Member
Jean Schappet, Member
Brendan Moon, Member
Matthew Clagett, Associate County Attorney
Cyndi Bilbra, Planning
Carrol Everett, Clerk
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and stated there was a quorum. Cindy Terry, Alternate, was not present.
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.
7:03 PM, Public Hearing: Docket #1307 – Weatherly Farm, LLC, for a Special Exception for a scenic event location, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 (Use # 4.01.400) and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Clagett stated there was substantial compliance with the notification requirements.
Cyndi Bilbra, Planning Staff, presented a brief overview of the project using a location,
zoning and aerial map as references:
- The Applicant requests approval to provide a “scenic” event location on their farm.
- Specifically, they are proposing a location for weddings and other social events.
- Weatherly Farm contains a single family residence and several barns.
- Location: off of Banks O’Dee Road, a public road, approximately seven tenths of a mile off of MD Route 257/Rock Point Road in Newburg, MD.
- The property has approximately 500 ft. of frontage on the Potomac River.
- Zoning: Agricultural Conservation (AC), with a majority of the property located within the Resource Conservation Zone (RCZ), an overlay of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
- Parking is located to the right of the house. If needed, additional parking is available along each side of the driveway leading to the house.
- Proposal is in compliance with the general conditions of the use.
- Staff recommends approval with the following conditions:
1. A Site Development Plan must be submitted for review and approval
2. All applicable building permits must be applied for after receiving Site Development Plan approval for the use
3. If any event activity causes gravel/debris/mud to be tracked on to the County road (Banks O’Dee), the driveway must be upgraded to meet current County entrance standards.
Sue Greer, Esquire, represented the owners/Applicants of Weatherly Farm, LLC.
The Chairman swore in the Applicants:
James & Denise Edelen
14145 Banks O’Dee Road
Newburg, MD 20664-3011
Ms. Greer began testimony for the Applicants by stating that Weatherly Farm, LLC is a family business. Mr. & Mrs. Edelen have a history in Charles County of being good corporate citizens. They previously operated a strawberry farm for 11 years and restored a farmhouse designated by Charles County as historic.
In 2006, the Applicants sold their home in La Plata and bought the 25 acre parcel, subject to the Special Exception. They worked closely with the County to build their dream home and improve the buffer. They removed 1, 614 sq. ft. of impervious surface from the 100 ft. buffer in the Critical Area. They also did an extensive shoreline restoration project and provided plantings that exceeded what was required by the County. A barn on the property was also preserved.
After receiving requests from family and friends to use their house in this location as a wedding venue, the Applicants decided to apply for a Special Exception. Their concept is to provide an event location that showcases the rural character and waterfront character of Charles County. The proposal conforms to the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Greer presented a slide show of the house and the property. The narration included the following facts:
- Maximum guests: 500
- 100-150 people for a typical wedding
- View of the Potomac
- Shore restoration done by the Applicants
- Original building on property to be used for catering.
- Portable lighting directed into the interior of the property
- Applicants are providing a location only, with licensed caterers.
Ms. Greer stated that the adjoining property owner to the south has requested additional plantings that will be addressed with County staff during the site development permit process.
Mr. Mower stated that he is 100% in favor of the proposal.
Questions from the Board included the following: Will there be any other activities in the home other than the bridal party dressing? What are the hours of operation?
Ms. Greer responded that the Applicants’ contract states all events are to end by 11:00 PM, with the last 30 minutes reserved for clean-up.
Mr. Mower recommended the Applicants consider paving 30 ft. of driveway with blacktop, 20 ft. wide, at the entrance.
Ms. Edelen stated that they adopted Banks O Dee Road five (5) years ago. As stewards of the road, they are required to clean it up several times a year.
Ms. Greer introduced the following Applicants for the record:
Exhibit #1 – Slide Show Presentation on CD
Exhibit #2 – Aerial Photo of Property
Exhibit #3 – Letter of support from the Charles County Chamber of Commerce dtd 4/9/13
Actions by the Board
A MOTION was made by Mr. Mower, seconded by Mr. Ms. Schappet, to approve Docket #1307 with conditions as recommended by Staff. In addition, a condition stating that all events end by 11:00 PM. With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.
7:32 PM: Staff Briefing – Waldorf Urban Design Corridor (WURC)
A slideshow was presented by Steven Ball, Director of Planning, and Amy Blessinger, Planner, followed by questions by the Board.
Actions by the Board
A MOTION was made by Ms. Schappet, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to approve the Minutes for March 12, 2013. With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.
Decision & Orders were signed for Docket Nos. 1298, 1301, 1302.
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM.