June 25, 2013 Minutes
The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 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
Kirby Blass, Planning
Matthew Claggett, Associate County Attorney
Carrol Everett, Clerk
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and stated there was a quorum.
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.
7:33 PM, Public Hearing:
Docket #1029 – Verizon Wireless, for a modification of a Special Exception for a telecommunications tower more than 50 ft. tall, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 (Use #4.06.300) and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Clagett stated there was substantial compliance with the notification requirements.
Kirby Blass, Planning Staff, gave a brief summary of the Applicant’s request using a
location, zoning and aerial map of the property, as well as a photograph of the existing site condition.
• Address of tower site: 6980 Bensville Rd., White Plains, MD, also known as Bensville Park, containing approximately 94 acres
• Property designated as Parcel 147, Grid 23 on Tax Map 13
• October 23, 2001: Board approved 190’ telecommunications tower with 8’ lightning rod (198’ total). Sprint was the Applicant at that time.
• June 11, 2002: Board approved 187 ft. telecommunications tower constructed via SDP 02-2012.
• Current request: Modification for a 12 ft. extension to the existing 187 ft. telecommunications tower for a total of 199 ft. and an 18’ x 40’ extension to the existing compound facility. Will enable Verizon to attach an additional 15 of its panel antennas to the tower and house its new equipment shelter.
• Existing 50 ft. x 50 ft. compound facility is at capacity with current equipment of other users
• The RF consultant found that the tower extension would allow Applicant to co-locate their antennas at sufficient height to provide the desired coverage area.
• The RF Consultant found that the modification will not interfere with existing County public safety communications systems.
• Planning recommends approval with six associated conditions.
Questions from the Board for Mr. Blass included the following: 1) Will there be buffering around the new 18’ x 40‘extension of the perimeter? 2) An 8 ft. lightning rod was approved with a 190 ft. tower in 2001. Why wasn’t the lightning rod put on then? 3) Who owns the tower?
Mr. Steven Resnick, Esquire, represented the Applicant.
The Chairman swore in the following representative for the Applicant:
9000 Junction Dr.
Annapolis Junction, MD
Mr. Resnick stated the use is low intensity and visited only 3-4 times a year by a technician.
Mr. Resnick continued that in 2001, a natural buffer existed which exceeded the required 10 ft. buffer on all sides of the property except the eastern boundary. No additional buffer was required by the Board.
The Chairman noted that it is not the case now.
Mr. Resnick noted that the closest residence is 800 feet.
Mr. Resnick stated that the RF consultant concurs that this location is appropriate and suggested a structural analysis be submitted at the time of a building permit application.
Mr. Resnick stated there are no historic structures in the area nor will there be any adverse environmental impacts from the proposed modification.
Mr. Martin provided additional testimony in support of the Applicant.
Questions from the Board included the following: 1) At what height do you have to reach before a light is required at the top of a tower? 2) Is there an airport or anything nearby that would require some type of a light on top? 3) At what height have you determined would cause interference with police emergency bands?
Mr. Moon stated that he would support a condition to buffer the new add-on to the compound.
The Chairman stated he would like a 10 ft. bufferyard in front of the new add-on and the east side only of the existing compound; i.e., the side facing the ball fields.
Testimony was closed for Docket #1029.
Actions by the Board
A MOTION was made by Ms. Schappet, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to approve the modification for Docket #1029 with conditions as recommended by Staff and an additional10 ft. bufferyard as discussed. With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Schappet, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to approve the Minutes for May 14, 2013. With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.
A MOTION was made by Ms. Schappet, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to approve the Minutes for May 28, 2013. With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.
The Decisions and Orders:
Docket #1305, Sheehy Waldorf, Inc., was signed.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.