May 27, 2014 Minutes | www.charlescountymd.gov

www.charlescountymd.gov

Charles County, Maryland

May 27, 2014 Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

 

The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 27, 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
Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman
Lynn Green
Sean Johnston, Alternate
Matthew Clagett, Associate County Attorney
Joseph Adams-Raczkowski, Program Manager, Planning
Kirby Blass, Planning    
Tetchiana Anderson, Planning
Carrol Everett, Clerk

  • The Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:12 p.m. and stated there was a quorum.  Shannon Houston-Smack and Frederick Mower 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.
  • Mr. Clagett reviewed the issue on the Order for Docket #1304, Chaney Enterprises, for the hearing held on February 11, 2014 for surface mining.  During that hearing, the Board entered into discussion at length and asked him to draft an Order consistent with that discussion.  He asked the Board’s permission to submit that Order for their signatures this evening.

7:14 pm Public Hearing

Docket #1324, InSite Towers, LLC,  for a Special Exception for a telecommunications tower more than 50 ft. tall (Black Powder site), as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Section 297-415 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance. 

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

  • A 161 ft. monopole cell tower proposed within a 50’ x 50’ compound on a 5 acre site accessed off of Marcus Lane near the intersection of Penns Hill Road in Dentsville, MD
  • Site  is known as “Black Powder” and designated as Parcel 64 on Tax Map 65 in the Agricultural Conservation Zone
  • Parcel 64 is owned by Mr.& Mrs. James Volonakis who reside on the property.
  • Staff recommends seven (7) conditions of approval.

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

Greg Rapisarda, Esquire, represented the Applicant. He opened by stating that Verizon Wireless has provided documentation of their interest in co-location. 

Mr. Rapisarda proffered the following testimony for the Applicant:

  • Exhibit #1 - Resume of Scott Inglehart, TAM, Inc.
  • Exhibit #2 - Description of Wireless Applications, Corporation
  • Exhibit #3 - Resume of Eric Kohl, KCI Technologies

there was sufficient notification from the Applicant.

Mr. Rapisarda requested 1) that a condition be added stating that the tower height will not  exceed 161 ft. including a lightning rod and 2) the Applicant is not asking for a variance to the tower height setback.

Testimony was heard from 11 witnesses in the audience who were opposed to the tower.  

Mr. Rapisarda proffered the following testimony for the Applicant:

  • Exhibit #4 - Resume of Oakleigh Thorne and Research Study

Mr. Thorne performed over 11 studies involving communication installations and the impact on adjacent property values.  The analysis concluded that there was no negative impact upon improved residential properties exposed to the view of telecommunication towers.

Mr. Johnston noted that a mitigating factor exists in that the tower height has been reduced from 199 ft. to 161 ft.   

Questions by the Board regarded buffering around the compound, possible mitigation to the tower design, and approximate height of the tree line. 

There were no questions from the audience.

The Chairman closed testimony for Docket #1324.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Ms. Green, to approve Docket #1324 with Staff’s seven (7) recommended conditions of approval and two (2) additional conditions:  1) a reduction of tower height not to exceed 161 ft. including a lightning rod and 2) the surface of the monopole shall be a mat finish to help minimize the view from surrounding properties.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed

8:10 PM, The Chairman called for a 5 minute recess.

8:16 PM, Public Hearing

Docket #1326, St. Charles Sportsman’s Club,  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.

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

The Vice Chairman recused himself from this case as he is a member of the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club.

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

  • Location:  10th Election District, approximately 322 acres off of Smallwood Church Road, 800 feet southeast of MD Route 224
  • Zone:  Rural Conservation (RC)
  • Property is mostly forested and has an existing gravel road and two gravel parking lots, with approximately 10 spaces each
  • Staff recommends approval of the Special Exception with five (5) conditions

Ms. Anderson reviewed the minimum standards as set forth in the Charles County Zoning Ordinance for  Use # 4.02.290, rifle and pistol range, war games, archery ranges or other recreation using weapons.

David Martinez, Esquire, represented the Applicant. 

The Chairman asked Mr. Martinez if he wished to continue the case to a future date or proceed at this time as only three out of four Board members were eligible to vote.

Mr. Martinez agreed to proceed. 

Mr. Martinez began opening remarks.  He described the subject property and surrounding areas.   The proposed shooting range as well as an archery range is subject to a MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest conservation easement.  There will be minimal disturbance for this use due to DNR restrictions.

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

  • #1 - St. Charles Sportsman Club Points of Interest
  • #2 - Draft Risk Management Plan

              
The Chairman swore in the following representative for the Applicant:

James Erdman
Ben Dyer Associates
Town of La Plata

Mr. Erdman is a registered landscape architect. Ben Dyer Associates prepared the justification report and site plans as part of the application.

Mr. Erdman described the topography, size, environmental features, and road access of the subject parcel.  He discussed the surrounding properties as predominantly undeveloped or occupied by low intensity land uses.  He described all the steps needed before the use is approved and operational. 

Mr. Erdman discussed how the use complies with the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning requirements of the RC Zone.

The Chairman swore in the following Applicant:

Frank Fruh
President
St. Charles Sportsman’s Club
4045 Renner Road
Waldorf, MD

Mr. Fruh described his certifications and training with the use of firearms.  He discussed the role of the Sportsman’s Club and its history in the County.  He discussed construction techniques of the shooting range, and how it intends to eliminate the danger to people and property from flying projectiles.   He continued by describing the proposed archery range and safety precautions that would be taken.

Questions from the Board included the following:  Are you planning to have baffles every 20 yards or so to catch any ricochets.   Can you elaborate on the containment system for lead?
Are there any limitations on the types of firearms? 

Marlene Smith
St. Charles Sportsman’s Club
4045 Renner Road
Waldorf, MD

Ms. Smith stated the Club will be private and just for members.  The Club will be responsible for scheduling access into the property.   She described the hours of operation and the topography as it pertains to mitigating noise.

The following Applicant Exhibit was entered for the record:

  • Exhibit #3 - Sunrise and Sunset times between May 2014 and April 2015

Mr. Johnston had questions regarding the operation and any impacts to the streams
shown on the site development plan. Mr. Erdman addressed his question. 

Ms. Green asked the Applicant to elaborate on the type of war games and recreation using weapons as defined in the use category.  Mr. Fruh addressed her question.

Testimony in support and in opposition was heard from 52 people in the audience.

Mr. Martinez made closing remarks.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by Mr. Johnston, seconded by Ms. Green to continue the hearing for Docket 1326 to June 10, 2014.  The record was closed for live public comment; however, written comments from the public will be accepted until June 5.   With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

Approval of Minutes

  •  February 11, 2014 approved
  • April 8, 2014 approved

The meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m.