Public Hearing
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Agenda

FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-SECOND MEETING

TUESDAY–SEPTEMBER 13, 2016– 7:00 P.M.

AGENDA (REVISED)

 

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to be heard at this meeting please sign the speaker list provided on the table at the side of the Council Chamber.  The Chairman reserves the right to limit the amount of time each speaker has for each agenda item.

 

  1. Roll Call.
  2. Approval of Minutes from the July 12, 2016 meeting.
  3. Variance Application No. 861- 332 Laurel Avenue, filed by Ms. Felicia Hyatt for recommendation to the Board of Appeals.
  4. Text Amendment No. 242 (Ordinance No. 1877)- An Ordinance to Amend Laurel City Code Chapter 20 “Land Development and Subdivision Regulations”, Article I “Zoning” to amend: Division 1 “In General”, Division 3 “City Planning Commission”, Division 4 “Board of Appeals”, Division 5 “Zoning Districts”, Division 6 “Parking and Loading Facilities”, Division 7 “Signs and Advertising Structures”, Division 9 “Exceptions and Supplements to Zone Regulations”, to add Section 20-20.9 Small Wind Energy Systems, Division 13 “Historic District Commission”, to add Section 20-25.9 “Prevention of Demolition by Neglect;” and repealing in its entirety Division 16 “Community Design Standards”, Amending Laurel City Code, Chapter 20 “Land Development and Subdivision Regulations” to add Appendix D. “Parking Modification Zone”; and providing an effective date for recommendation to the Mayor and City Council.
  5. Adjourn.

Minutes

The meeting convened in the Council Chambers of the Laurel Municipal Center at 7:00 P.M., with Chairwoman Mitzi R. Betman presiding. The roll was called with Vice Chairman John R. Kish and the Honorable G. Rick Wilson present. Also present were Mr. Martin A. Flemion, III, Executive Officer, Mr. Jack T. Brock, Director, and Ms. Christian L. Pulley, Assistant Director. There were approximately eleven (11) members of the public in attendance.

 

The minutes of the July 12, 2016 meeting were approved on motion by Mr. Kish, seconded by Mr. Wilson, and carried on a roll call vote of all other members present as written.

 

 Mr. Bill Wellford, Commissioner, entered the Chambers after the minutes were approved.

 

The next agenda item was Variance Application No. 861 for 332 Laurel Avenue (zoned R-55 One Family Detached) filed by Ms. Felicia Hyatt. Ms. Pulley presented the Technical Staff Report stating that the Applicant was seeing a variance to reduce the required yard regulations for a single family lot in order to create another parcel to be sold; as well as reduce yard maintenance at 332 Laurel Avenue. Ms. Pulley stated that the property sat on 13,750 sq. ft. of land and was considered a legally conforming parcel according to the Schedule of Area, Yard, and Height Regulations for residential uses in the Code and that the applicant was requesting a variance that would essentially create two (2) non-conforming lots. The existing residential home would remain and the Applicant intended to apply for approval to subdivide the parcel and sell the other lot for the future construction of a new (additional) single family home. Ms. Pulley stated that the Technical Staff Report recommended denial of the application.

 

Chairwoman Betman stated that she had asked Staff to research the property at 332 Laurel Avenue and advise if there was any record that the property had been two (2) separate lots in the past. Ms. Pulley stated that there was no record of the property ever having been two (2) separate lots.

 

Next, Mr. Gregory Benefiel, Survey’s Inc., 350 Main Street Laurel, Maryland 20707, Surveyor for the Applicant addressed the Commission and provided a summary of the Applicant’s request, research of other lots in the neighborhood of 332 Laurel Avenue and the existing yard setbacks.

 

Ms. Felicia Hyatt, Applicant/Property Owner, 332 Laurel Avenue Laurel, Maryland 20707 addressed the Commission and read into the record a letter she’d written, that was received by the Department of Economic and Community Development on July 8, 2016 and that was provided to the Commissioners in their information packets prior to the meeting.

 

 Mr. Wilson asked Ms. Hyatt to clarify that if the variance were approved her future plan would be to subdivide the parcel and sell the second lot to another party for the purpose of constructing a single family home. Ms. Hyatt stated that was her intention.

 

Next, Mr. Christopher Pohl, 334 Laurel Avenue Laurel, Maryland 20707 addressed the Commission and asked for clarification that the existing lot owned by Ms. Hyatt was 100 ft. wide and that if the variance were approved, the subdivision of the lot would create two (2) 50 ft. wide lots. Ms. Pulley stated that was correct. Mr. Pohl also asked if Ms. Hyatt already had a buyer for the second lot if the variance were approved and the lot subdivided. Ms. Hyatt stated that she did not have a buyer for the lot. Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Pohl if he was opposed to the variance application. Mr. Pohl stated that he was not opposed either way.

 

Mr. Akbar Fakhar, Owner, 44 Washington Boulevard was not signed up to speak and interrupted the meeting asking Chairwoman Betman if he could address the Commission. Chairwoman Betman said she would allow it. Mr. Fakhar began to speak to the Commission regarding his property at 44 Washington Boulevard and parking requirements. Chairwoman Betman asked Mr. Fakhar if he had anything to say about the variance application for 332 Laurel Avenue that was already being discussed by the Commission. Mr. Fakhar stated he did not. Chairwoman Betman directed Mr. Fakhar to contact Staff directly to discuss his questions and that the Planning Commission meeting was not the proper forum unless it related to something on the agenda.

 

Mr. Wilson stated that he initially intended to vote as recommended for denial of the application. However, Mr. Wilson said that his lot on Laurel Avenue was currently only fifty (50) ft. wide and that there were other existing lots on Laurel Avenue that were similar.

 

Mr. Wilson made a motion to recommend approval of Variance Application No. 861 for 332 Laurel Avenue. Chairwoman Betman stated that she would temporarily step down as Chairwoman during the vote on the variance application and Vice-Chairman Kish stepped in as Chairman so that she could second Mr. Wilson’s motion. Roll call continued with Mrs. Betman seconding Mr. Wilson’s motion, Mr. Wellford voted “No” Mr. Wellford stated that he was not in favor of the request because it would set precedence for allowing the intentional non-conformity of residential lots because it would take a current conforming lot and potentially create two non-conforming lots. Acting Chairman Kish cast the final vote of “No”. The final vote was 2 “Yes” and 2 “No”. Mrs. Betman asked Staff what that meant for the application moving forward. Ms. Green explained that in the case of a variance, the Planning Commission was a recommending body and that the Board of Appeals would make the final decision regarding the approval or denial of application. According, to the Rules of Procedure for the Planning Commission, failure to receive a majority vote for approval constitutes denial and that the Commission’s recommendation would be sent in writing to the Board of Appeals.

 

Chairwoman Betman stated that she would resume her role as Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

 

The next agenda item was Text Amendment Application No. 242 (Ordinance No. 1877) an ordinance to amend Laurel City Code Chapter 20 “Land Development and Subdivision Regulations”, Article I “Zoning” to amend: Division 1 In General, Division 3 “City Planning Commission”, Division 4 “Board of Appeals”, Division 5 “Zoning Districts”, Division 6 “Parking and Loading Facilities”, Division 7 “Signs and Advertising Structures”, Division 9 “Exceptions and Supplements to Zone Regulations”, to add Section 20-20.9 Small Wind Energy Systems, Division 13 “Historic District Commission”, to add Section 20-25.9 “Prevention of Demolition by Neglect”, and repealing in its entirety Division 16 “Community Design Standards”, amending Laurel City Code, Chapter 20 “Land Development and Subdivision  Regulations” to add Appendix D. “Parking Modification Zone”; and providing an effective date, for recommendation to the Mayor and City Council.

 

Mr. Brock provided a summary of the proposed ordinance stating that the original draft would have repealed Division 16 “Community Design Standards” in its entirety. However, at the Mayor and City Council meeting of September 12, 2016 regarding the proposed ordinance, the Mayor and City Council agreed to not delete Section 20-28.1 Division 16 “Community Design Standards” of the Laurel City Code in its entirety but to only delete the following sections: Section 20-28.3- Community Design Review Committee, Section 20-28.5 Procedure, Section 20-28.6 Expedited review process, Section 20-28.9 Incentives for better design solution and Section 20-28.10 Overlapping Jurisdiction. 

 

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Brock how the location of the Parking Modification Map area was determined. Mr. Brock stated that the area was determined years prior. Mr. Kish asked Mr. Brock to explain the “Prevention of Demolition by Neglect” portion of the proposed ordinance. Mr. Brock explained that the proposed language would apply in cases where a structure was in disrepair, i.e. the roof was dilapidated, open to the elements, and the owner refused to correct issues or could not be located, the City would have the authority to make the repairs and lien the property for the cost incurred.

 

Mr. Wilson made a motion to recommend approval of Text Amendment No. 242 (Ordinance No. 1877) to include changes to the draft Ordinance made at the Mayor and City Council hearing of Monday, September 12, 2016 to not delete Section 20-28.1 Division 16 “Community Design Standards” of the Laurel City Code in its entirety but to only delete the following sections: Section 20-28.3- Community Design Review Committee, Section 20-28.5 Procedure, Section 20-28.6 Expedited review process, Section 20-28.9 Incentives for better design solution and Section 20-28.10 Overlapping Jurisdiction. 

 

Mr. Kish seconded Mr. Wilson’s motion. Mr. Wellford voted “Yes” and Chairwoman Betman cast the final vote of “Yes”.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:41 p.m.

 

 

Approved:     Sara Green, Secretary to the Commission                                                                       Date:   November 15, 2016

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Economic & Community Development

The Department of Economic and Community Development maintains and oversees the built environment within the City of Laurel. The department is responsible for zoning compliance, subdivision and development review, historic preservation review, economic development, affordable housing, and implementation of the City’s Master Plan. These activities are intended to improve the life quality in the City. Department staff strive to provide these services in a timely and efficient manner while promoting high-quality development which is compliant with State of Maryland regulations and statutes.  

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