October 7, 2013 Minutes

Kenny Kan, Board Chairperson, called the regularly scheduled meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. on October 7, 2013, at Claret Hall, 6020 Daybreak Circle, Clarksville, MD 21029.  Members present were Melissa Bradshaw, DengFeng Liu, Dipper Wettstein, and Liyan Zhang. Jenny Chu arrived at 7:07 p.m. Tiffany Kan, Student Member, Michael Cornell, Council Representative, and Susan Smith, Village Manager, were present. Kathy Chavers was absent.  Mr. Cornell left the meeting at 8 p.m. A list of attendees is on file with the Minutes.

Approval of the Agenda (Agenda 2):
Mr. Wettstein made a motion to approve the agenda as submitted.  Ms. Bradshaw seconded the motion. The motion passed (5-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Administrative Items (Agenda 3):
Ms. Bradshaw made a motion to approve the Minutes from the September 16, 2013 meeting. Ms. Chavers seconded the motion.  The motion passed (3-0-2). 

River Hill Garden Center Variance Petition – Bill Erskine, RHGC Counsel (Agenda 4):
Mr. Erskine asked to record his portion of the meeting.  The Board and other attendees consented and it was agreed that the recording would be made available to the Association and interested attendees.

Mr. Erskine reviewed the plan, explained that the setback variance petition had been submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ), and stated that his client is awaiting the technical staff report.  The petition to reduce the required setbacks was submitted to address vehicle safety issues that have arisen since the installation of the traffic signal at Sheppard Lane and vehicular circulation needs given the proposed re-development of the site.  The property owner has discussed access to the property with the County and the State Highway Administration (SHA).  The plan includes converting the current entrance to right-in, right-out only. SHA is requiring a bike lane and sidewalk in front of the garden center property and a new entrance that aligns with Sheppard Lane.  The plan also includes extension of the dedicated pocket lane for vehicles turning left onto Shepard Lane to address the back-up that is currently occurring for northbound vehicles during peak periods. A retaining wall along the MD 108 frontage is needed to accommodate the necessary right-of-way improvements.  Mr. Erskine explained that the current redevelopment proposal is configured to accommodate two (2) traditional, non-fast food, restaurants and a bank.  However, tenants have not been established and he reminded the Board and attendees that it is normal in this type of development for the tenant mix to change over time.

Resident Speak Out (Agenda 5):
Shawn Shaw, Whistling Winds Walk resident, stated that the River Hill Garden Center sits higher than homes on Whistling Winds Walk and despite the installation of the privacy fence, even during the summer some residents on Whistling Winds Walk can see the building and lights.  Ms. Shaw expressed concern about the impact of noise and vehicle lights generated by the proposed redevelopment.  She requested that additional landscaping be installed.

Ron Shaw, Representative of Linthicum Chapel Cemetery, expressed concern about the proposed new entrance.  He cited current issues with access to the cemetery and believes that the proposed entrance will make this even worse.  Other concerns included the privacy of mourners and the proximity of gravesites relative to the shared property line.

Gayle Annis-Forder, Pastor, Linden Linthicum United Methodist Church, expressed concern about the impact on the adjacent day care operated by the congregation and the church as a whole.  Concerns included: noise and proximity to the day care, traffic and safety issues, odors and rodents associated with restaurants, security and crime.  Ms. Forder noted that although the amount of square footage being developed is low, the number of people and vehicles on the site will be greater than the current use as a garden center.  She also noted that although banks are not open the hours that most businesses are, ATMs are accessible 24 hrs./day and therefore there will be vehicles on site around the clock.

Judi Gershenson, Whistling Winds Walk resident, stated her major concern is the impact the proposed redevelopment will have on traffic.

David Elsaesser, Whistling Winds Walk resident, expressed concerns regarding traffic and the location of the parking and the impact of lights on residential properties.  Mr. Elsaesser stated that a large berm with landscaping along the top is what is needed to shield the properties to the rear.

Frank Nezu, Western Sea Run resident, shared a phone photo of the current traffic back-up occurring at the Sheppard Lane intersection.  He expressed concern about “squeezing” additional development into the area and questioned what unintended consequences might result from additional development.

Melissa Purdue, Whistling Winds Walk resident, expressed frustration with the amount of proposed development and that the proposed uses keep changing.  She questioned whether new approvals will be required in the future if the uses change.  She commented on the need for a traffic study.

Tim Finkelston, Whistling Winds Walk resident, commented on the negative impact of the proposed development and cited that the current plan is quite different than the original proposal for a small café.

Frank Cadell (????), White Oak Farm, cited serious incompatibility of the redevelopment proposal with the surrounding area.  He specifically mentioned the impact on the adjacent cemetery and the property in agricultural preservation across MD 108.

At the conclusion of Resident Speak Out, Mr. Erskine had an opportunity to respond to these comments.  He reiterated that a fast food restaurant on the property as currently zoned is not a matter of right and that a fast food restaurant is not something the owner wants to pursue at this time.  Mr. Erskine explained that 60,000 sq. ft. is the typical amount of development on a 6 acre property and the property owner is proposing 25,000 sq. ft. of development. He reiterated the need for safety improvements and stated that SHA has endorsed the proposed road design.  Mr. Erskine explained that it typically takes 8 – 10 weeks for a response from DPZ once a variance petition has been submitted.

Mr. Kan made a motion to establish a subcommittee made up of residents and Association representatives to work on the River Hill Garden Center issue and to draft a letter regarding the variance petition for the Village Board’s consideration on November 18, 2013.  Mr. Cornell seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Master Plan Committee – Village Center Master Plan (Agenda 6A):
Robert Runser, Master Plan Committee Chair, introduced the members of the Committee in attendance:  Jacqueline Easely, Trevor Greene, Olivia Vaught.  Jim Burnett was not present.  Mr. Runser reminded the Board that during the Master Plan process residents had consistently said “no new banks”.  Mr. Runser summarized the changes made to the document based on community feedback which included: enhancements to the water retention pond area behind the Columbia Gym; opposition to redevelopment of the Columbia Gym parking lot; and opposition to the addition of rental housing to the community.  The revised plan identifies the main Village Center parking lot and the portion of the Center facing Great Star Drive as locations for long-term expansion/redevelopment.

Mr. Kan made a motion to approve the Village Center Master Plan as amended.  Mr. Liu seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Mr. Wettstein made a motion to appoint Robert Runser and Trevor Greene to speak on behalf of the Association at the DPZ meeting on October 14, 2013 at Claret Hall.  Mr. Liu seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0 (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).  Mr. Kan requested that Mr. Runser and Mr. Greene provide the Board with a summary of the meeting for the November 18 meeting.

Covenants and Restrictions – W.R. Grace – Update (Agenda 6B):
Ms. Smith provided an update on her conversation with Mr. McGowan. Mr. Kan made a motion to allocate $1000 for counsel to draft covenants and restrictions and negotiate an agreement.  Ms. Bradshaw seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).  Ms. Smith will engage counsel.

Health Fair – Update (Agenda 6C):
Ms. Smith reviewed the final figures from the Health Fair.  Ms. Smith recommended that, if the Association decides to co-sponsor a second Health Fair, it be held in September 2014.

Mr. Kan recused himself.

Mr. Wettstein made a motion to donate $1,000 to the American Heart Association and to retain $1,415 for start-up costs for a 2014 Health Fair.  Ms. Bradshaw seconded the motion. The motion passed (5-0-1) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Mr. Zhang made a motion to hold the next Health Fair on September 13, 2014.  Ms. Bradshaw seconded the motion.  The motion passed (5-0-1) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

FY14 1st Quarter Financial Statements and Variance Analysis (Agenda 7A):
Mr. Kan and Ms. Smith provided an overview of the financial statements.  Mr. Kan made a motion to approve the FY14 1st Quarter Financial Statements and Variance Analysis as presented.  Mr. Wettstein seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Free Use Requests (Agenda 7B):
Mr. Wettstein made a motion to approve the free use of Claret Hall recommended by staff for the DPZ meeting on October 14, 2013.  Mr. Kan seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Mr. Wettstein made a motion to approve the free use of Claret Hall recommended by staff for a Boy Scout Troop 618 Eagle Court of Honor on November 10. Ms. Kan seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Manager’s Report (Agenda 8A):
A written report is on file with the original Minutes.  Ms. Smith provided an update on the Property Standards Evaluator Program, development plans in the area, and beaver damage in the open space behind the Columbia Gym.  She reported that one of the trees planted by the Association to commemorate the 9-11 tragedy was chopped down.

Ms. Kan made a motion to request that the Columbia Association plant a crab apple tree to replace the tree damaged by the beaver and to install a bench in recognition of the 9-11 memorial.  Mr. Wettstein seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor). 

Board Chair Report (Agenda 8B):
Mr. Kan noted that at the November 18, 2013 Board Meeting should include the River Hill Garden Center variance petition and follow-up resulting from DPZ’s October 14 meeting.

Mr. Kan made a motion to approve uses of Claret Hall for community engagement related to the River Hill Garden Center with the number and dates of the meetings to be determined.  Mr. Wettstein seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

Council Representative Report (Agenda 8C):
None.

Liaisons/Student Members (Agenda 8D):
Ms. Kan provided an update on the Halloween event, including a Haunted House, being planned by the Teen Advisory Committee on October 25, 6 – 8 p.m.

Mr. Wettstein reported that the Columbia Association’s Watershed Committee needs members.  He also reported that Lauren Marcus will be the Chairperson of the Association’s Watershed Committee and that Elisabeth Hoffman will be the Vice Chairperson.

Board Speak Out (Agenda 9):
None.

Adjournment (Agenda 10):
Mr. Wettstein made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:54 p.m. Ms. Bradshaw seconded the motion.  The motion passed (6-0-0) (Student Advisory Vote – in favor).

 

Minutes submitted by: Susan M. Smith, Village Manager

Minutes Approved:  November 18, 2013

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