Board or Committee Meeting
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Agenda

 

FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY FOURTH MEETING

TUESDAY–DECEMBER 12, 2017– 7:00 P.M.

AGENDA

 

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 November 14, 2017 meeting
  3. Special Exception Application No. 879- 9701 Ft. Meade Road; filed by Christ Vision Ministries, for recommendation to the Board of Appeals

Public Hearing on Application

Final Action by Planning Commission

  1. Neo-Traditional Overlay Application No. 878 and Resolution No. 17-15-PC, 7041 Contee Road, filed by Strittmatter Contee LLC

Public Hearing on Application

Final Action by Planning Commission

  1. Special Exception Application No. 881- 14703-B Baltimore Avenue; filed by Blu Pharms LLC, for recommendation to the Board of Appeals

Public Hearing on Application

Final Action by Planning Commission

  1. Resolution No. 17-17-PC; Planning Commission determination that Proposed PUD Amendment No. 880 for property known as 14415 Greenview Drive is a substantial departure from previously approved PUD Plan.

Public Hearing on Application

Final Action by Planning Commission

  1. PUD Map Amendment Application No. 880 and Resolution No. 17-16-PC, 14415 Greenview Drive; filed by CS Patuxent Greens LLC

Public Hearing on Application

Final Action by Planning Commission

  1. Adjourn

Minutes

FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY THIRD MEETING

CITY OF LAUREL PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY- DECEMBER 12, 2017

 

The meeting convened in the Council Chambers of the Laurel Municipal Center at 7:01 P.M., with Chairwoman Mitzi R. Betman, presiding. The roll was called with Mr. John R. Kish, Vice Chairman, Mr. Mr. Bill Wellford, Councilman Fred Smalls and the Honorable G. Rick Wilson present. Also present were Councilmember Valerie M.A. Nicholas, Councilmember Carl DeWalt, Councilmember Keith Sydnor, William Goddard, Deputy City Administrator, Stephen Allen, Emergency Manager, Ms. Christian L. Pulley, Director, Mr. Robert Love, Deputy Director and Ms. Brooke Quillen, Secretary to the Commission. There were approximately fifty (50) members of the public in attendance.

 

The minutes of the November 14, 2017 meeting were suggested to be revised to note the new Council members were “confirmed” by Mayor Moe, not “appointed” as per Mr. Wellford.  In addition, Mr. Wellford stated the motion on the last item on the agenda was not included in the minutes. It was decided by the Commission to vote on the minutes at the next meeting.

 

            Next, Mr. Robert Love, Deputy Director presented the Technical Staff Report dated December 1, 2017 regarding the Special Exception No. 879– 9701 Ft. Meade Road, Unit 200 filed by Christ Vision Ministries., 9701 Ft. Meade Road, Laurel Maryland  20707. Mr. Love stated that the Applicant was seeking approval to operate a House of Worship at 9701 Ft. Meade Road Unit 200. The Technical Staff Report recommended approval of the request with certain conditions.

 

Chairwoman Betman opened the public hearing regarding at 7:06 p.m. and noted that there was no one signed up and no one came forward to speak regarding the item. Chairwoman Betman closed the public hearing at approximately 7:07 p.m.

 

The Commission, on motion by Mr. Wellford, seconded by Mr. Kish, and carried on a roll call vote of all members present, voted to recommend approval of the Special Exception No. 879- Christ Vision Ministries located at 9701 Ft. Meade Road Unit 200 Laurel, Maryland  20707 with the conditions listed in the Technical Staff Report to the Board of Appeals. 

 

The next agenda item was filed by Strittmatter, 9102 Owens Drive Manassas Park, Virginia  20111, for Neo-Traditional Overlay Application No. 878 and Resolution No. 17-15-PC, 7041 Contee Road. Chairwoman Betman asked Staff for a brief description of the Neo-Traditional Overlay zone, to which Ms. Pulley explained the purpose is to be an alternative neighborhood design with reduced front lines, rear parking and a complete sidewalk system with recreational amenities. Ms. Pulley then presented the Technical Staff Report dated November 20, 2017 and stated the Applicant was seeking approval to construct a townhouse community of a maximum of 180 dwelling units for the Flester property.

 

Chairwoman Betman opened the public hearing at 7:24 p.m. Edward C. Gibbs, Jr., Esquire, Gibbs and Haller, 1300 Caraway Court Suite 102 Upper Marlboro, Maryland  20774, Attorney for the Applicant, stated that there will be no direct access with this project and Westside, and that was never the plan. When his client purchased the property with a vision to build a townhome community, it was a gravel site under Prince George’s County jurisdiction until they decided to annex into the City of Laurel. Mr. Gibbs also stated that his client plans to meet all the design requirements, which would be addressed in the subdivision plan (a later step) and offer more than standard recreational amenities along with constructing an athletic field, which will be dedicated to the City of Laurel.  Based off a question from Commissioner Wellford, Mr. Gibbs also commented that this project, nor any other could withstand installing a salt holder, as there is simply not enough room and if that were a requirement it would cause a withdrawal of the project from his client. Mr. Gibbs ended his comments that he is available to answer any questions from the Commission. Councilman Smalls added that he encourages the Applicant to create a walkable community with either sidewalks or trails. Chairwoman Betman closed the public hearing at 7:29 p.m.

 

The Commission, on motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Kish and carried on a roll call vote of all members’ present, voted approval to the Mayor and City Council for the Neo-Traditional Overlay Application No. 879 and Resolution No. 17-15-PC located at 7041 Contee Road Laurel, Maryland  20707 with the conditions listed in the Technical Staff Report.  

 

Next, the item for Special Exception No. 881, 14703 Baltimore Avenue Suite B filed by Blu Pharms LLC, 14703 Baltimore Avenue Suite B Laurel, Maryland 20707. Mr. Love presented the Technical Staff Report dated December 4, 2017 and stated the Applicant is seeking approval operate a Medical Cannabis Dispensary. The Technical Staff Report recommended approval of the request with certain conditions to the Board of Appeals. There was discussion among the Commission and Staff regarding how the Dispensary will operate with its patients and the restrictions of any other Dispensaries coming into the area. Councilman Smalls commented that the State of Maryland and the Mayor and City Council both have regulations for the use and also that a considerable amount of effort and thought was taken into consideration when designating zones for the business to operate for the dispensaries and that they are in visible areas.

 

Chairwoman Betman opened the public hearing on the application at 7:40 p.m. The Applicant and Owner, Kalpesh Shah, 3301 Royal Oak Court, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043, stated he attended for any questions regarding his application. Chairwoman Betman asked what his timeline to get the business open was. Mr. Kalesh stated if they get approved by the Board of Appeals hearing later in the month, it would take approximately 60-90 days as they have to get through State and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene inspections (they already have their license from the state, one of two for District 21). They hope to open April 2018. Mr. Kalesh also explained that he has a few years’ experience as well as his partners. They have already met with the Chief of Police and the Mayor’s Office to make sure they are in compliance with all the regulations and in agreement with how the Dispensary should be operated.  Most of the regulations have come from the State of Maryland.

 

Erin Reed, 600 F Street PMB #3-308 Arcata, California  95521, the Applicant’s business partner, spoke in support of the application. Ms. Reed stated she owns and operates a 45-acre Medical Marijuana Farm in California; she is one of few female growers. Ms. Reed said she has studied the industry with the Applicant, has extensive knowledge in cropping, cultivating, cloning, packaging, inventory management and processing within regulation compliances.   

 

Perry Coleman, 3226 Kelox Road Gwynn Oak, Maryland 21207, spoke in support of the application. Mr. Coleman represented himself as private citizen, and stated it would be very beneficial to the many military members or veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Mr. Coleman has known the applicant for approximately four years and has attended many Legislative and community meetings with him, and he has known the applicant to be a solid, responsible citizen.

 

Jusmin Patel, 7513 Broken Staff, Columbia, Maryland  21045, spoke in support of the application. Mr. Patel represented himself as part of the applicant’s team, one of the key operators; they have current dispensaries in Arizona. Mr. Patel presented a sample layout of the Dispensary to the Commission.  Mr. Patel explained patients would get either their drivers licenses updated or a separate id card.  The limit is four ounces a month, there will be a surveillance system, a lounge area; patients will not be able to roam around the space. The last inspection will be done by MMCC (Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission). The product will come from Maryland. They are not connected to the North Laurel Dispensary. Patients will either get the product in flower or concentrate form. There will be no edibles on site. Right now, patients cannot get this through their health plan. Mr. Patel explained there are 15,000 approved patients and 10,000 pre-registered patients and 102 other Dispensaries in the State of Maryland.

 

Cindy Russell, 2824 Solomon’s Island Road #200 Edgewater, Maryland  21037, spoke in support of the application. Ms. Russell was representing the owners of Tower Plaza, Jordan One, LLC. Met with applicants a few months back regarding their move to the proposed space. Ms. Russell believes this business would be very beneficial to the many people who need it, and could help alieve the opiate problems.

 

There was no one else signed up and no one came forward to speak regarding the application. Chairwoman Betman closed the public hearing at 7:55 p.m. 

 

 The Commission, on motion by Mr. Kish, seconded by Mr. Wellford and carried on a roll call vote of all members present, voted to recommend approval of the Special Exception No. 881 located at 14703 Baltimore Avenue Suite B, Laurel, Maryland  20707 with the conditions listed in the Technical Staff Report to the Board of Appeals.  

 

The next item on the agenda was for the Departure of Approved PUD Plan- 14415 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland 20708, filed by ADC Builders Inc., 6290 Montrose Road Rockville, MD  20852.  Chairwoman Betman asked Staff for a brief overview of PUD zone, to which Ms. Pulley explained its zone is Planned Unit Development Existing (PUD-E) the Patuxent Greens area is in the City with this zone, also stated the amendment process for such zone.  Ms. Pulley presented the Technical Staff Report dated November 30, 2017 and stated the applicant is requesting a determination that the proposed PUD Amendment is a substantial departure of previously approved PUD Plan. There was discussion among the Commission and Staff regarding what the request actually meant. Ms. Pulley explained the request is required in order to redevelop the Patuxent Greens Golf Course (property) into a residential community since the use will be changing.

               

Chairwoman Betman opened the public hearing regarding at 8:07 p.m.

 

Cheryl Pianim, 14207 Summit Lane, Laurel, Maryland 20708, resident of Patuxent Glenn and Vice President of the HOA. Ms. Pianim stated there is a divide in the community regarding the proposed development. Many of the concerns are due to housing value among existing residents. Ms. Pianim stated she would much rather see housing go up on this project instead of a strip mall or anything else. She stated she was for the project.

 

Holly Ulmer, 9408 Spring House Lane #K Laurel, Maryland  20708, she lives in the Apartments in Patuxent Greens and moved there because it was a quiet area and offered a lot of greenspace in the community. Ms. Ulmer is concerned about how it will affect the current residents. Traffic is a major concern. Ms. Ulmer is also concerned about the environment; there are many chemicals used on golf courses. Ms. Ulmer has seen the area flood and does agree that this is a departure from what is already there.

 

The Attorney for the Applicant, Mr. William Shipp, Esquire, O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, P.A., 11785 Beltsville Drive, 10th Floor, Calverton, Maryland  20705, stated they agrees that this is a substantial departure from previously approved PUD Plan.

 

Nina McDaniel, resident at Patuxent Greens, Greenview Drive, Laurel, Maryland  20708, agrees that this request is a substantial deviation from the current land use and will modify environmental elements in the area.

 

Samuel Epps, 9431 Trevino Terrace, Laurel, Maryland  20708 his back deck backs up to the driving range. Mr. Epps agrees that this is a substantial departure from previously approved PUD Plan.

 

Chairwoman Betman noted that there was no one else signed up and no one came forward to speak regarding the item. Chairwoman Betman closed the public hearing at approximately 8:17 p.m.

 

The Commission, on motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Wellford and carried on a roll call vote of all members present, voted to approve the Departure of Approved PUD Plan, 14415 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland  20708, as presented in the Technical Staff Report.  

 

 The last agenda item was for the Map Amendment No. 880- 14415 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland 20708, filed by ADC Builders Inc., 6290 Montrose Road Rockville, Maryland 20852. Ms. Pulley presented the Technical Staff Report dated December 11, 2017 and stated the applicant is requesting approval to amend the PUD Plan, which would be required to redevelop the Patuxent Greens Golf course with the conditions listed in the Technical Staff Report. There was discussion between the Commission and Staff regarding the traffic study and the flood plain mitigation issues that will be further addressed at a later stage of the project if the map amendment application is approved by the Mayor and City Council.  

 

Chairwoman Betman opened the public hearing at 8:27 p.m. The Applicant, Mr. Allen Cohen, 6290 Montrose Avenue Rockville, Maryland 20852, thanked the Commission for their time and consideration on the application. Mr. Cohen explained this is not his first big project, and stated he has his entire team present to answer any questions. Mr. Cohen stated in the past five years the golf course has been losing money and after the 2018 season, the facility will close no matter what happens. He purchased the property in July 2017.

 

Mr. Shipp stated they would be showing a presentation to the Commission. He asked to give Staff a copy of a study on golf courses in Prince George’s County. Mr. Shipp noted that they would talk about the vision of the project, which would be a quality neighborhood, that the team is also considered about the flood plain maps, issues of water and ponding, and even though the land was not developed for this use, they have a plan in place to fix the concerns. A traffic study was provided up front to show that his client is aware of concerns and issues. Any updates will be provided as they come. Mr. Shipp started the presentation of the project.

 

Next, Mr. Alex Villegas, Rodgers Consulting, 1101 Mercantile Lane, Largo, Maryland, also come up to present the slideshow to the Commission. Mr. West Ducker, Traffic Group Inc., 9900 Franklin Square Drive, Baltimore, Maryland, 21236 spoke regarding the traffic study and stated they looked at seven different intersections in the area, and the possibility of adding a turning lane onto Clubhouse Lane.  Mr. Ducker noted not all traffic is all day, but certain times of the day with rush hour traffic being between 6:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-7:00 p.m. There was a lengthy discussion among the Commission members and the Applicant’s team.

 

Dr. Robert E. Jackson, 14117 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland  20708, worked 40 years as a regulator to the federal government. Mr. Jackson stated he appreciates the work the consultants do.  However, his biggest issue is regarding FEMA and WSSC. Since living in Patuxent Greens, he has been evacuated twice at 2:00 a.m. and FEMA has no control over when they release the water, currently there is no drainage in the area and it has not been maintained. The entrance to the community is part of the flood plain. In addition, traffic is another concern and the many fatalities that have occurred at their intersection.

 

Cheryl Pianim, 14207 Summit Lane, Laurel, Maryland 20708, resident of Patuxent Glenn and Vice President of the HOA, stated she is in favor of the project However, as long as there is help from the developer to the existing residents to get their houses out of the flood zone. Ms. Pianim also stated she is concerned about traffic and the fatalities turning left onto the intersection. Another way out would be nice. Also, worried about extra pedestrian traffic, crime and robberies. Ms. Pianim stated she would not want trails to go in between the communities.

 

Holly Ulmer, 9408 Spring House Lane #K Laurel, Maryland  20708, she lives in the Apartments in Patuxent Greens, she has a great respect for science and engineers. However, since the land is requiring so much change for this project concerns her are about flooding regardless of what FEMA says. Climate change should be considered for this project. In addition, what if people are not paying enough for flood insurance now to cover the cost of the impacts on the houses later.

 

Nina McDaniel, 14225 Greenview Drive, Laurel, Maryland  20708, stated she would like to review the documents for this project. Chairwoman Betman stated that documents are available by contacting City staff. Ms. McDaniel stated the intersection is already very dangerous and does not like the idea of linking trails because she would not want more people traveling through her neighborhood. Ms. McDaniel also stated she would want to view the permits when available. Ms. McDaniel also asked what were the differences between open play areas and tot lots. Chairwoman Betman stated the Department of Parks and Recreation would review recreational amenities.

 

Samuel Epps, 9431 Trevino Terrace, Laurel, Maryland  20708, stated he lives roughly on 10th hole of the golf course, concurs with much of what has already been said tonight, however, his major concern is regarding the impact of schools and students. Especially since Laurel High School is already in trailers to learn. Mr. Epps also believes this process seems rushed to him, and no community dialogue, which should be done to give everyone a chance to voice his or her concerns. 

 

Odessa Phillip, 9407 Nicholas Lane Laurel, Maryland 20707, she was in attendance at the Mayor and City Council meeting, Ms. Phillip is a Civil Engineer in the State of Maryland, also owns her own firm and has planning experience in other jurisdictions. The time limit, the timing of the community meeting between the holidays is not a convenience time for the public to attend. The closest area is 44 ft. on the townhouse buffer is a concern to her, does not seem like enough. In addition, the intersection study and limits, is a concern to her. Ms. Phillips stated if there were more communication between the developer and community there would not be this much opposition. Lastly, her concern is with FEMA and the condominium fees that recently went up. She is open to continue dialogue on the project but an outreach to the community is much needed to move forward on the next steps.

 

Thomas Dernoga, 15611 Straughn Drive, Laurel, Maryland  20707, also a business owner, stated residents contacted him on this issue last Thursday regarding this project and he had some trouble finding any information online regarding this property. Mr. Dernoga questioned the process of (15) day notice to residence and being so close to the holidays while legal, it is unfair to the community, also stated he had tried to come to the City to get more information but the City of Laurel had closed early for the annual holiday party. Only a map amendment is not true it is a re-zoning. He also questioned the zoning processing. Mr. Dernoga stated he wanted on record that he has a legal objection and has issued with the flood plain. He also stated he was a private Citizen representing himself. He explained represents nobody; he is a citizen raising concerns (not a City of Laurel citizen). He said he found an article regarding the loads in Houston who are looking at 250-year flood plan while the City of Laurel is only 100-year floods.

 

Kelsey Eustace, 14224 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland  20708, the flooding is concerning to her. Also having only one entrance in the neighborhood is alarming in case of an emergency. In addition, the left turning lane is a problem turning into the community going South on 197. She is agreement with linking the trails and thinks its a great idea. In addition, she would like to be contacted about the meetings with the community and the developer.

 

Glenn Olson, Resident of Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland 20708, Mr. Olson stated changing the flood plain by two (2) feet will not make a difference. He lives in Patuxent Greens and pays for flood insurance because he decided to live there. His concern is if the area floods after developed, where will the developer be in five or 10 years down the road and who will help the residents then. Lastly, Mr. Olson also stated it should be considered to grow medical marijuana there instead.

It was discussed that notification for the community meeting shall be sent out via regular mail and advertised by digital sign within the community if possible. The Council shall consider delaying their action until a community meeting is held and input is given.

Mr. Wilson stated it would be further reviewed at a later date as well.

 

Chairwoman Betman closed the public hearing at approximately 10:07 p.m.

 

The Commission, on motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Kish and carried on a roll call vote of all members present, voted to approve the Map Amendment No. 880, 14415 Greenview Drive Laurel, Maryland  20708, as presented in the Technical Staff Report with the addition of the following recommendations: (1) Notification (2) The Planning Commission recommends the Mayor and City Council considering delaying their action until after a community meeting is held.

                                                                                                                                                          

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

 

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