December 9, 2014 Minutes |

Charles County, Maryland

December 9, 2014 Minutes

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland.

The following were present:

Frederick Mower, Chairman

Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman

Shannon Houston-Smack

Sean Johnston, Alternate

  • The Chairman announced that the Board of Appeals is responsible for following the Charles County ordinance to each application for a variance or special exception in a fair, impartial manner after a hearing where innocent persons are heard.
  • The Chairman states that any verbal communication with a Board Member outside of the hearing room concerning a pending case is strictly prohibited under the ethics of all independent Boards.

Public Hearing: Docket #1336 – SOMAR Hospitality, LLC, for a Special Exception and variance for a restaurant fast food, drive-in/thru (Sonic) located at 2055 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD.

A staff presentation was given by Heather Kelly, Planner, using a location, zoning and vicinity map for reference.  The following findings of fact were included in the presentation:

  • Special Exception request:  Abandoned gas station/car wash to be demolished and replaced with the proposed Sonic.
  • Location:  301 North/North Western side and South of Mattawoman Drive.
  • Variance request:  .834 acres.
  • Project site is designated in the Commercial Business (CB) Zone.
  • Sonic will not interfere with traffic nor will the proposed lights create a glare on other nearby businesses.
  • Redevelopment of site would reduce the amount of traffic trips of the preexisting business by 37 in the morning and 91 in the evening.

The Board had questions of Staff regarding the assurance of no traffic complications being created by the proposed Sonic restaurant.  The representative for the Applicant, Mr. Steve Scott, assured them that based on the evidence and inspections done by those supervising the flow of traffic that there would be no problems.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Michael Lenhart

Lenhart Traffic Consulting

331 Redwood Grove Court

Millersville, MD 21108

Michael Lenhart stated that through inspections that were done on the property that traffic would not pose a problem with the proposed new restaurant.

Mr. Johnston moved that proposal be approved.  And all were in favor.


Docket #1340 – G. Macy Nelson, LLC, for Appeal of Planning Commission decision in reference to Waldorf Station

Mr. Clagett stated that there would be no testimonies for this hearing due to the legal nature of it.  He stated that there would only be arguments presented.

Mr. Clagett also stated that the Applicant had provided 5 motions for the case.  The first motion is a request for a preliminary hearing.  The second being to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to satisfy statutory requirements to be parties to the Planning Commission proceeding.  The third is to dismiss the amended appeal.  The fourth is to limit the subject matter of the appeal.  The fifth is to dismiss the appeal for lack of aggrievement.  Mr. Clagett stated that only the second, third and fourth motions would be heard at the meeting. 

Mr. Clagett stated that the fifth motion can be scheduled to be discussed for another date.

Edward Gibbs, an Attorney representing the Property Owners, presented his argument to the Board.   Mr. Nelson, representing the appellants, presented his arguments in response.

The Board decided to take the decision on the motions presented under advisement.

Mr. Moon made a motion that the Board consult with Mr. Clagett for legal advice and to meet at a later date for a decision.  This motion was seconded by another Board member, and passed unanimously, and the Board adjourned its meeting to go into closed session to receive legal advice pursuant to the Open Meetings Act – section 3-305(b)(7) of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.