November 18, 2014 Minutes | www.charlescountymd.gov

www.charlescountymd.gov

Charles County, Maryland

November 18, 2014 Minutes

Minutes
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

 

The Board of Appeals held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 18, 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, Chairman
Brendan Moon, Vice Chairman
Lynn Green
Shannon Houston-Smack

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 7:15 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.


7:17 PM, Public Hearing:  Docket #1327 - Telecom Capital Group, for a Special Exception and variance for a telecommunications tower more than 50 ft. tall, as provided in Article XIII, Section 297-212 and Article XXV, Sections 297-415 and 297-416 of the Charles County Zoning Ordinance. 

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

A staff presentation was given by Kirby Blass, Planner, using a location, zoning and vicinity map for reference.  The following findings of fact were included in the presentation:

  • Special Exception request:  195 ft. monopole cell tower with a 4 ft. lightning rod at the peak for a total of 199 ft.

  • Location:  West side of Guy Washington Road, Newburg. MD

  • Variance request:  159 ft. variance from the required 199 ft. setback.

  • Project site, known as Mt. Victoria, is designated as Parcel 108 on Tax Map 83 in the Agricultural Conservation (AC) Zone.

  • Parcel 108 is owned by Mt. Tirzah Family Limited Partnership, LLC.

  • If approved, a boundary line adjustment plat will be recorded to configure the tower parcel for a total of approximately 0.3059 acres.

  • An 80 ft. x 80 ft. compound, with a 10 ft. chain-link fence and a 12 ft. wide access gate is also proposed.

  • A 10’ wide gravel driveway is proposed for access by authorized personnel

  • Proposed tower will significantly improve service to Mt. Victoria, Route 257 corridor and regions around Swan Point.

  • Tower is proposed to have (5) RAD centers for future co-location opportunities.

  • Verizon Wireless intends to co-locate if approved.

  • Staff recommends nine (9) conditions of approval.

The Board had questions of Staff regarding the variance request.

Mr. Page Wyrough, Esquire, counsel for the Applicant, presented the following Applicant Exhibit for the record:

Exhibit #1 - Agreement btwn Telecom Capital Group, LLC and Canes Purchase, LLC dtd 11/17/14

Mr. Wyrough stated Exhibit #1 is proof of common ownership between adjacent parcels; therefore, a variance is not necessary based on existing Maryland case law.         

The Vice Chairman asked Mr. Wyrough for confirmation that the Applicant is removing the variance request from their application.  Mr. Wyrough replied yes.

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Scott Burroughs
Lorenzi, Dodds & Gunnill
3475 Leonardtown Road, Suite 100
Waldorf, MD

Mr. Burroughs stated that he was responsible for preparing the plans and the Special Exception submittal package.

Mr. Burroughs explained that upon approval of the site development plan, additional permitting approval’s and associated processes are required before construction of the tower can take place. 

Mr. Blass reviewed the Charles County Master Plan requirements for cell tower development. 

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Mark Fisher
6150 Sheridan Point Rd
Prince Frederick, MD

Mr. Fisher is a managing member of Telecom Capital Group, LLC.

Mr. Wyrough presented the following Applicant Exhibit for the record:

Exhibit #2 - Site Executed Lease Agreement between Telecom Capital Group, LLC and Verizon Wireless dtd July 9, 2014

Mr. Blass clarified that the Applicant received a firm commitment from Verizon Wireless as shown in Exhibit #2 that satisfies the Master Plan requirements for cell tower development.

The following Applicant Exhibit was presented for the record:

Exhibit #3 - Power Point presentation (hard copy and disk) Wireless Coverage in Mt. Victoria

Mr. Fisher stated that a huge wireless infrastructure problem exists in the United States including this location and throughout Southern Maryland.  Demand for wireless has been increasing every year and more cell sites are needed.   Exhibit #3 included maps showing existing sites, proposed sites, coverage gaps and coverage with the Mt. Victoria site. 

The Chairman swore in the following witness for the Applicant:

Manny Dureja
8843 Stratford Ct.

Owings, MD

Mr. Dureja is the Director of Development for Telecom Capital Group.   He was responsible for citing the location and procured the Radio Frequency Engineering Study.   He reviewed the Staff Report and concurred with the Findings of Fact, with the exception of Staff recommended Conditions #3, #6 and #8.

Mr. Wyrough presented the following Applicant Exhibit for the record:

Exhibit #4 - Radio Frequency Engineering Study 

Mr. Wyrough stated that Exhibit #4 satisfies Condition #2 of the Staff Report.

Mr. Wyrough requested that the Board modify the following Conditions of Approval: 

  • Condition #3:  tower must be occupied with a carrier/service provider within 6 months of the final construction permit for the site.

  • Condition #6:  clerical correction: from 100 ft. x 100 ft. to 80 ft. x 80 ft. compound

  • Condition #8:  Prior to any future development or subdivision of the adjacent Parcel 122,  the owner (Mt. Tirzah Limited Partnership) be required to notify the “buyer” of the Special Exception and tower setback requirement

The Board suggested the County and Applicant confer on re-writing Condition #8 for clarification purposes.

The Chairman swore in the following witness from the audience:

Michael Callahan
13135 Gut Washington Rd.
Newburg, MD

The witness expressed concern with the visual aspects of the project and environmental impacts on the natural habitat.

Mr. Johnston stated that every precaution will be taken to ensure that the tower will not be visible to adjoining properties. 

Mr. Blass addressed the concern regarding landscaping around the compound.

There was no more testimony from the audience.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve the Special Exception but not the variance for Docket #1327, subject to conditions recommended by Staff with a few minor changes in Condition #3 (six months after the approval date of the construction permit in lieu of six months after the approval date of the site development plan permit), in Condition #6 (correct the size of the compound from 100’ x 100’ to 80’ x 80’),  Condition #8 to reflect that a variance no longer applies and also adequate notice be provided to a potential future buyer or subdivision regarding the existence of the Special Exception and reduction in the tower setback.  The new language in Condition #8 will be drafted by County counsel and agreed upon by counsel for the Applicant.  If an agreement cannot be met, another hearing date will be scheduled.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed. 

 

8:14 PM, Public Hearing:  Docket #1330 - Amir Kacapor, for a Special Exception for a commercial greenhouse with on-premise sales, 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 substantial compliance with the notification requirements.  A staff presentation was given by Ms. Tetchiana Anderson, Planner, using a location, zoning and vicinity map for reference.  

  • Site location: 7th Election District at the corner of Hawthorne Road and Huntt Road.

  • Zoning:  Rural Conservation Deferred Development District (RCD)

  • Size:  Approximately 5.81 acres

  • A house, garage and shed exist on the property.

  • There are two open fields in the rear of the property.

  • Surrounding neighborhood is a mixture of residential agricultural and commercial

  • Subject property is surrounded by private residences and forested properties

  • There are two residential properties located across the street that have visibility to the site. 

  • Staff recommends approval with conditions listed in the Staff Report.

The Vice Chairman asked if the Applicant wished to add anything to the Staff’s presentation. 

The Chairman swore in the following witness from the audience:

George Follett
7175 Berts Dr.
La Plata, MD 20646

The witness stated that Huntt Road is private and maintained by the residents.  He supports the Applicant but is concerned about the amount of traffic the commercial greenhouse will bring onto Huntt Road.  He wants an agreement from the Applicant that he will help maintain Huntt Road.

The Chairman asked who owns the road.  He questioned whether the Applicant has a right to use the road.

The Vice Chairman stated that according to the plat in the submittal package, the road is partially owned by the Applicant.  

Mr. Adams-Raczkowski, Program Manager, clarified that the site plan shows all access to the commercial greenhouse from Hawthorne Road (MD Route 225).   The owner is in negotiation with State Highway to provide access solely to their new operation from Hawthorne Road.

Ms. Anderson noted that nothing can occur regarding State Road access until the use is approved by the Board. 

Mr. Follett clarified that if the Applicant obtains access from Hawthorne Road, he would no longer need to help maintain Huntt Road.

The Chairman stated he would like a condition put on the Order that the Applicant can only use Hawthorne Road to access his property. 

Mr. Johnston stated that the intent is for the Applicant and his patrons to use Hawthorne Road and not Huntt Road to access the property.

The Chairman swore in the following witness from the audience:

Joe Clements
7500 Hawthorne Road
La Plata, MD 20646

The witness had concerns regarding current traffic speed on Hawthorne Road as it affects entering and exiting the property and poor well and septic in that area.

The Chairman stated that the State would require a commercial entrance from Hawthorne Road to the site.

Actions by the Board

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Ms. Green, to approve the Special Exception with Staff recommendations and to add a Condition #5 stating that no commercial retail traffic be allowed on Huntt Road and limited only to Hawthorne Road.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.    

The Board re-opened the hearing to allow the following Applicant representative to speak: 

The Chairman swore in the following representative for the Applicant:

Peter Kolarevic
Alexandria, VA

Mr. Kolarevic is a partner in the commercial greenhouse project.  He stated that access from Huntt Road would be more suitable in the beginning. 

The Chairman noted that the Special Exception and conditions of approval had already been voted on.

Mr. Johnston stated that some of the neighbors testified of their concern for the shared use and maintenance of Huntt Road.

The Vice Chairman stated that as part of the continuing review and approval process, an adequate entrance and exit for customers would be required and he is reasonably certain they would not allow that from Huntt Road. 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve the Board of Appeals Meeting Schedule for 2015.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed. 

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Ms. Smack, to approve the Minutes for August 12, 2014.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

A MOTION was made by the Vice Chairman, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to approve the Minutes for September 9, 2014.  With all voting in favor, the MOTION passed.

 

The meeting adjourned at 8.44 p.m.