June 10, 2014 Minutes | www.charlescountymd.gov

www.charlescountymd.gov

Charles County, Maryland

June 10, 2014 Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 

The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the Charles County Government Building, La Plata, Maryland. 
  
The following were present:

Frederick Mower, Acting Chairman
Lynn Green
Sean Johnston, Alternate
Matthew Clagett, Associate County Attorney
Joseph Adams-Raczkowski, Program Manager, Planning
Tetchiana Anderson, Planning
Kirby Blass, Planning    
Carrol Everett, Clerk

  • The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. and stated there was a quorum. 
  • Luke Hannah, Chairman, Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman and Shannon Houston-Smack 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.

7:06 PM, Public Hearing:

Docket #1321, AT&T Mobility, for a Special Exception for a telecommunications tower more than 50 ft. tall, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance. 

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

Mr. Blass, County Staff, gave a brief summary of the request, using a location, aerial and zoning map for reference as follows:

  • Proposed:  A 128’ monopole cell tower and 6’ lighting rod (134’ total height) within a 30’ x 40’ compound with a 6’ high chain-link fence.  
  • Location:  Adjacent to the track/stadium used by Thomas Stone High School and accessed off of Route 5 in Waldorf, MD.    
  • Property size:  54.72 acres
  • The site known as “Heathcote”  is designated as Tax Map 15, Grid 11, Parcel 333
  • Zone:  High Density Residential (RH) Zone
  • Staff recommends seven (7) conditions of approval

The Chairman swore in the following representative for the Applicant:

Phillip Stetler
Site Link Wireless
10015 Old Columbia Rd., Suite F-100
Columbia, MD 21046

Mr. Stetler stated that County concerns have been addressed in the Staff Report.  The existing site has no coverage.  The space, identified by AT&T’s Radio Frequency engineers, is in need of adequate coverage.   The proposed site was deemed to fit the criteria that falls within any Ordinances that apply to that jurisdiction.  There already exists a light pole with antennas on it at the Thomas Stone High School, negating the need to build a tower on a new site.

Mr. Stetler asked the Board to strike Condition #3 requiring a 10 ft. landscape buffer around the compound.  This was at the request of the Charles County Public Schools as they want the area clear for supervision during sporting events in the stadium area.  This request was granted by the Board.    

The following Applicant Exhibit was entered into the record:

  • Exhibit #1 - Charles County Public Schools email dtd 6/4/14

There was no testimony from the audience.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Mr. Johnston, seconded by Ms. Green, to approve the Special Exception for Docket #1321 with six conditions of approval as recommended by Staff eliminating Condition #3.   With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed

7:15 PM, Public Hearing:

Docket #1323, InSite Towers, LLC., for a Special Exception for a telecommunications tower more than 50 ft. tall, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance. 

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


Mr. Blass, County Staff, gave a brief summary of the request, using a location, aerial and zoning map for reference as follows:

  • Proposed 195 ft. cell tower with a 4 ft. lightning rod within a 50 ft. x 50 ft. compound with an 8 ft. high chain link fence
  • 120.2 acre property located at 6585 Ripley Road, La Plata
  • Property, known as Kaline, is designated as Tax Map 31, Parcel 102
  • Zoning:  Rural Conservation Deferred District (RC(D)
  • Parcel 102 is owned by James E. Hill
  • The current use is a stump grinding/mulching facility
  • Parcel contains mature forest cover of at least 80 ft. in height or taller
  • Parcel is bordered by adjacent properties which are also heavily forested
  • Staff recommends six (6) conditions of approval

Greg Rapisarda, Esquire, represented the Applicant.   He stated that the Applicant has no concerns with Staff’s recommendations. 

Mr. Rapisarda proffered testimony from two witnesses who would be available for questioning if needed:

Andrew Martin
3300 Ailsa Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21214

Gustaf Truedson
921 Mercantile Dr.
Suite H
Hanover, MD 21076

Mr. Rapisarda offered the following Applicant Exhibits for the record:

  • Exhibit #1 - Resume of Andrew Martin
  • Exhibit #2 - Resume of Gustaf Truedson
  • Exhibit #3 - KCI Letter re: Tower Fall Zone dtd 6/4/14

Exhibit #3 states that this tower will be designed and engineered to fall within a 50 ft. radius.

The Chairman had the following questions for Staff:  Why was the landscape buffer not included in the recommendations for approval?  Can you explain the comment made by the RCC RF consultant regarding the close proximity of another 125 ft. monopole tower owned by SBA?

Mr. Rapisarda stated that the proposed tower can accommodate four carriers. 

Mr. Johnston asked the Applicant if any carriers are linked to the tower. Mr. Rapisarda replied that currently there is none; however they are in constant communication with the carriers.

There was no testimony from the audience.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Ms. Green, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve the Special Exception for Docket #1323 with Staff’s six (6) recommended conditions for approval.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed


7:30 PM, Public Hearing: 

Docket #1326, St. Charles Sportsman’s Club (continued from May 27, 2014), for a Special Exception for an outdoor rifle and pistol range, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.

The Chairman announced that he watched the previous hearing on a DVD and reviewed all the associated documents.  He will be voting tonight.

Ms. Anderson reviewed the Special Exception request and proceedings at the previous public hearing.   The Board held the record open for written public comments until COB June 5, 2014.  Written correspondence was received from 91 individuals who were in opposition to the Special Exception and 68 who were in support.   One letter took a neutral position.  Included in the concerns from individuals opposed were 1) noise, 2) safety of neighborhood, 3) possible environmental pollutants, 4) operational hours and 5) negative impact on property values.  A few of the main points raised in support were 1) quality environment to teach the youth and adults how to property and safely use firearms, 2)  the Club consists of professionals from the community and is not open to the public so the facility and number of users is controlled and the users are known, 3) the Club members care about preserving the natural environment and 4) the Club has been operating in Charles County for over 35 years in a densely populated neighborhood prior to this one without any complaints regarding noise or safety. 

The Applicant submitted a supplemental statement to their original application in response to public comments concerns made on May 27, 2014.   After review of all documents relative to this case, Staff continues to recommend approval as it meets the general requirements set forth in the Charles County Zoning Ordinance and the Charles County Comprehensive Plan. 

7:35 PM:  Mr. Clagett called for a closed legal session.

7:40 PM:  Mr. Clagett stated the record will be reopened for the Board to address specific questions raised by the public at the last hearing.

The Chairman announced that two written comments from the public were received after the deadline and will not be accepted.  The vast majority of written comments were received before COB on June 5.

David Martinez, Esquire asked if written certification has been filed on behalf of Mr. Mower who stated that he reviewed the file in order to participate in tonight’s voting. 

The Chairman announced the process by which the Board will answer questions from the public at the last hearing. 

There was discussion by the Board after all questions were answered.

The record was closed for Docket #1326.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Ms. Green, seconded by the Chairman to deny the Special Exception for Docket #1326.  With all voting to deny the request, the MOTION passed.

Approval of Minutes

A MOTION was made by Mr. Johnston, seconded by Ms. Green, to approve the Minutes for February 11, 2014.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.