February 25, 2014 Minutes | www.charlescountymd.gov


Charles County, Maryland

February 25, 2014 Minutes

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, February 25, 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
Lynn Green, Member
Shannon Houston-Smack, Member
Sean Johnston, Alternate
Adam Storch, Associate County Attorney
Joseph Rackowski, Planning
Tetchiana Anderson, Planning
Kirby Blass, Planning    
Carrol Everett, Clerk

  • The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:09 p.m. and stated there was a quorum. 
  • Frederick Mower and Brendan Moon were 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.

OTHER - Staff Education Briefing - Cathy Thompson, Community Planning Manager

Ms. Thompson gave a presentation on the revitalization plans for the Port Tobacco Courthouse area and the Benedict Waterfront.


Docket #1315 – Verizon Wireless, for a Special Exception for a telecommunications tower more than 50 feet tall (199’ monopole), as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Storch stated there was sufficient compliance with the notification requirements.

Mr. Blass, Planning Staff, gave a brief overview of the request using a location, aerial and zoning map for clarification:

  • Four (4) antenna sites are proposed on the tower to enable three (3) potential co-location opportunities.
  • A 12 ft. x 16 ft. equipment shelter is proposed that will be within a 50 ft. x 50 ft. fenced compound enclosed by an 8 ft. tall chain link fence.
  • Zoning:  Rural Conservation (RC)
  • Location:  Pisgah Marbury Road, Marbury, MD (referred to as the Bicknell site)
  • Staff is recommending six (6) conditions of approval
  • Staff Recommendation /Condition #3 is no longer required.  The FAA has submitted a “Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation” study.

Mr. Blass explained the minimum requirement for a 10 ft. wide buffer around the compound.

Mr. Steven Resnick, Esquire, represented the Applicant. 

Mr. Resnick stated that the location for the tower site would provide reliable service where it is lacking now.  The property is approximately 40 acres and has a substantial amount of buffering of mature trees.   

The proposal is to construct a monopole at 199 ft. with an equipment shelter and compound to house the equipment.  The site will be unmanned and does not require septic, water, sewer.  The facility will be visited four times a year by a technician.

The facility is low impact as it creates no noise, glare, dust or light.

There is no opportunity for co-location on an existing structure in the area.

Mr. Blass stated that an historical building exists within the viewshed.  This was investigated for concerns by the County using balloon testing.  The tests found the impact low in terms of visibility from that site and there was no need for further mitigation.

Mr. Resnick submitted the following Applicant Exhibits for the record:

Exhibit #1 - Applicant SE submittal package (copy)
Exhibit #2 - FAA Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation
Exhibit #3 - Federal Communications Commission NEPA Review

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Hillorie Morrison
9305 Gerwig Lane, Suite M
Columbia, MD

Ms. Morrison is employed with SCE.  SCE serves as a consultant to Verizon Wireless regarding the development of the telecommunications facility sites.  She stated there is minimal impact on the public.  The site is needed to provide coverage in an area that is not reliably served in the present; i.e., voice use and data use such as internet access, streaming, etc.  She noted that Verizon Wireless must operate in accordance with FCC and FAA standards to maintain their license.  

Ms. Morrison stated that Verizon intends to install a 10 ft. landscape strip as shown on the site plan.  She added that more details will be provided at the time of site development process.

Ms. Morrison stated there were no structures available for co-location use.  The County RF consultant reviewed the submittal and confirmed their findings. 

Ms. Morrison stated that the site plan shows there will be space available on the tower for four available users.

Ms. Morrison stated that a balloon test was conducted and confirmed that there no adverse effect on structures eligible for the National Register Listing.

Ms. Morrison stated environmental issues were addressed in the FCC’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Report. 

The following Applicant Exhibit was entered in the record:

Exhibit #3 - NEPA Study

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant.

Michael Fischer
Downingtown, PA

Mr. Fischer is the Radio Frequency (RF) engineer for Verizon.  He addressed the issue of interference and summarized his conclusions for the Board.   Maps were presented showing coverage with and without the Verizon facility.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

  Eric Cole
  Raleigh NC

Mr. Cole is employed by KCI Technologies Inc., an architectural and engineering firm that prepared the site plan.  He discussed various aspects of the site plan.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Maureen McDoogle
Philadelphia, PA

Ms. McDoogle is employed by CHRS, Inc. as an architectural historian.   She evaluated the historic sites of concern and concluded there was no adverse effect on any of the properties from the proposal.

There was no testimony from the audience.

The Chairman stated that he is in favor of the application due to the good location and buffering on site. 

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Ms. Smack, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve the Special Exception for Docket #1315  with Staff conditions, omitting Condition #3 as testified by Mr. Blass.    The vote was three in favor and one opposed (Ms. Green) and the MOTION passed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.