March 12, 2013 Minutes |

Charles County, Maryland

March 12, 2013 Minutes

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 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
Cindy Terry, Alternate
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.  

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.

7:04 PM, Public Hearing:  Docket #1298 – Maurice Long, Jr., for a variance to reduce the front building restriction line for the construction of a two-car garage, as provided in Article XXV, Section 297-416 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance.

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

Cyndi Bilbra, Planning Staff, gave a brief summary of the request using a location, zoning and aerial map as follows: 

  • The Hughesville bypass was constructed after the applicant’s house was built.
  • If the bypass had not been constructed, the applicant would have a 6’ side setback instead of a 30’ front setback
  • The bypass negatively impacted the ability to build on the applicant’s property. 
  • A large right-of-way now exists between the applicant’s property and the road. 
  • Staff recommends approval due to the unique circumstances surrounding this property,

The Chairman swore in the following representative for the Applicant:

R. Victor Buckler
Professional Land Surveyor
40562 Old Horse Landing Road
Mechanicsville, MD 20659

The Chairman asked the witness if the Applicant was present.  Mr. Buckler replied no.

The Chairman stated that the Board typically prefers the Applicant to be present for questioning. 

Mr. Buckler stated that due to the terrain, wetlands, and expanded buffers, they tried different locations.  The site chosen was the best they could find with the least environmental impact on the property.  

Mr. Mower asked why there isn’t enough room to put the garage on either side of the house.

Mr. Buckler replied that there is a septic system on one side. and the other side had a stream and  steep slopes that would require substantial grading.

The Chairman stated that there doesn’t appear to be any steep slopes or stream shown on the site plan submitted by the applicant.   He would like to be able to identify some of these issues on the site. 

Ms. Bilbra referred to the Zoning Map that showed a Resource Protection Zone on the property.

The Chairman asked the members if they still wanted to speak to the owner of the property.

Mr. Moon stated that the construction of the bypass created a unique circumstance. 

Mr. Clagett stated that there is no opposition, even though the applicant is not present for questioning. 

The Chairman stated that he was concerned that the applicant was not present; however, he was satisfied once he saw the Resource Protection Zone on the Zoning Map.  He would have preferred it shown on the site plan.               

Mr. Moon stated that the front yard would not have been where it is now and the restriction line not an issue had the bypass not been built.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Mr. Mower, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to deny the variance for Docket #1298.  The vote was 2 in favor, 3 opposed, and the MOTION failed.

A MOTION was made by Mr. Moon, seconded by Ms. Schappet, to approve the variance for Docket #1298.  The vote was 3 in favor, 2 opposed, and the MOTION passed.

A MOTION was made by Ms. Schappet, seconded by Ms. McKinney, to approve the Minutes for February 12, 2013.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.