The Chincoteague Planning Commission met on February 26, 2008 to conduct a Public Hearing: Conditional Use Permit and consider the following items: Parking Recommendations, Directional Signs, 100th Year Celebration by the Town, Concession Stands and Moving Signs.
Members Attending: Chairman Ray Rosenberger, Bob Behr, Jane Wolffe, Chuck Ward, Mollie Cherrix
Member(s) Absent: Ellen Richardson
Staff Attending: Jared Anderson, Town Planner and Commission Secretary; and Robert Ritter, Town Manager
Public Attendance: Five public citizens
The meeting agenda and backup material may be found at:
Agenda & Backup Materials
Audio of the meeting will be located at:
Recording of the Meeting
Chairman Rosenberger convened the meeting at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.
No members of the public rose to speak when requested by the Chairman.
Chairman Rosenberger requested that the agenda be supplemented with one item concerning the Directional Sign Post Program. The Commission unanimously approved the addition of this additional item.
Adoption of January 22, 2008, Minutes
Several spelling corrections were noted by Commission members. The Minutes were approved unanimously pending the minor
Public Hearing: Conditional Use Permit, Ms. Christine Schreibstein.
Regarding the subject, at the last Commission meeting the members decided to request public input. As a result, two announcements for the meeting were placed in the Eastern Shore Post. Since her original application, Ms. Schreibstein has amended her request to state that the reason for the permit is “Home Occupation” in lieu of “Business”. This requires a conditional use permit and additional consideration by the Commission. The “Home Occupation” would exist in the R-2 zone.
Chairman Rosenberger asked the assembled public for comment, and receiving none, closed the comment period for discussion by the Commission members only. The issue for the Commission is parking and the need for 4 parking spaces. The property currently has two parking spaces and could accommodate a third space if one auto is backed in. The applicant indicates that she is not willing to increase the number of spaces.
The Chairman suggested that the Council can grant the application with a variance for that parcel and that use only. Ms. Wolffe asked if the applicant could apply for a Conditional Use Permit in a commercial area. Mr. Ward stated that the Council is concerned with parking and the Commission should make a recommendation to the Council. Mr. Anderson relayed that the options are to grant, deny, or grant conditionally.
Mr. Ward indicated that this “business” is not presently allowed in the Code, and this application should additionally request that this type of service be allowed in the town. Therefore, the Commission should recommend to the Council that the zoning code be amended to add this use.
Mr. Ward stated that 12,500 ft. are needed for this permit, while the applicant has about one half of the land needed. This means the Council would have to grant a variance for two (instead of four) parking spaces--for a lot that is half the required size. This request should be addressed by the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Several members expressed concern because the application has morphed over time from an anticipated business of eight to two clients, and that there is no room for business to “grow”, even with a Conditional Use Permit.
Ms. Wolffe suggested that the application could be approved conditionally assuming the neighbors are canvassed annually to insure there are no parking issues. She indicated she would like to see this service available on the Island. Mr. Behr expressed concerns over the lack of parking, and the impact on future property owners on the street. Furthermore, he said he was hesitant to establish a business in a residential area. Chairman Rosenberger asked the Commission for a recommendation. Mr. Ward motioned that the Commission make an unfavorable recommendation to the Council based on lack of parking, lot size, parking space arrangement, and inability of the business to grow in the future. Mr. Behr seconded the motion. The motion carried with Ms. Wolffe opposing. Mr. Anderson agreed to take the recommendation to the Council. Mr. Ward requested that “Complimentary Medicine” be added to the approved list of businesses in the Chincoteague zoning scheme and discussed at the next meeting. Mr. Behr seconded the proposal and all members approved the proposal.
Mr. Anderson reminded the members that in 2006 the Commission made parking recommendations to the Town Council. The recommendations specified that parking regulations should be kept in the Zoning Ordinance.
Ms. Wolffe questioned why some of the Commission’s prior (2006) recommendations had been changed. Her first question was why the auto space requirement changed from 10’x20’ to 9’x18’. Mr. Anderson noted that the change was based on his sampling of 75 jurisdictions. The majority of the jurisdictions required a 9’ parking space width. Additionally, he measured a large car and determined that it would fit within the new dimensions. Ms. Wolffe’s second issue addressed the subdivision ingress and egress requirements. Mr. Anderson stated that these requirements should meet the minimum VDOT standards, but once on a property there are no VDOT standards. Ms. Wolffe’s third concern was that property owners in a subdivision need to know they become responsible for road maintenance once the developer is gone. Mr. Anderson said the new ordinance does not address parking lots, and that multi-family developments need covenants to insure they take care of their parking lots. He added that this would be covered by the “best management practices” in his report.
Ms. Wolfe’s fourth question revolved around the previous Commission recommendation that parking surfaces be paved. Her concern was that whether or not the paved surface would be included in the “best management practices”. Mr. Anderson replied that the concept with the practices is that green spaces be considered when engineering a parking area. Chairman Rosenberg iterated that a sea of asphalt is definitely a concern. Mr. Ward continued with several concerns: 1) drainage is a major concern on the island and must be addressed; 2) owners need to know they are responsible for maintaining the lots; 3) there must be room for fire/ambulance vehicles to access and egress the site; 4) quality of the construction must be good enough to last; and finally, 5) parking must not spill over into the street.
Chairman Rosenberger asked if there was further discussion, and hearing none, Mr. Ward made a motion to schedule a public hearing for parking ordinance review. The public meeting would be held at the March meeting. Ms. Wolffe seconded the motion, and all approved.
Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA)
Members briefly noted the two set-back issues addressed by the most recent BZA meeting. Mr. Anderson agreed that he would continue to include BZA decisions in the Planning Commission paperwork for their review.
Planning Director’s Update
Directional signs. The members expressed the desire for a common, branded, sign design. The signs would cost about $75 each. Various Commissioners were concerned about the time it is taking for the Council to review the Ordinance. Mr. Rosenberger stated that the town does not need to change the Ordinance, but can institute directional signs using their policy-making authority.
Ms. Wolffe reiterated that the people want a directional sign program. Snow Hill adds directional signs in their town as money becomes available, and they do not put specific business names on their signs. The rationale is that business names will change, therefore causing frequent changes to the signs. She also relayed that Mr. Kenny Lewis indicated the island has about 600 businesses, but only 32 services--a manageable number.
Chairman Rosenberger expressed a desire to make a formal recommendation to the Council. Mr. Ward requested that the Chairman and Mr. Anderson prepare a request to the town to have the Historical Review Board develop a sign policy.
Planning Commission Vacancy
Mr. Anderson relayed that the Council postponed the vacancy discussion until all members are present at the Council meeting.
Chincoteague 100th Year Anniversary Celebration.
The celebration will take place on March 13, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Community Center. The committee is planning a kickoff event followed by events throughout the calendar year. Chairman Rosenberger asked if there would be a tie-in with the library. Mr. Anderson said there would be a 3 p.m. event, and, there would also be a noon-time ringing of all island church bells. Mr. Ward asked who he could contact to make recommendations for the event. Mr. Anderson responded that he could contact Mr. Jester.
Concession Stand on Maddox (Retail Sales)
Mr. Lewis has asked the Commission for a recommendation reference subject. Chairman Rosenberger was concerned that mobile homes be used as stores. He stated that businesses should be permanent structures, and not on wheels. Mr. Ward expressed concern over fire safety and handicap accessibility. Mr. Behr stated that mobile homes are not appropriate for commercial use. Chairman Rosenberger asked Mr. Anderson to convey this opinion to Mr. Lewis. Mr. Anderson noted that mobile homes are not permitted in zone C-1, but the question is, are mobile businesses? There was no further discussion.
Chairman Rosenberger indicated that the mayor has asked the Planning Commission to look at the moving sign issue, i.e., signs on trucks. The Chairman asked Mr. Anderson to review the request and determine if the moving sign issue is a zoning question and bring the results of his research back to the Commission.
Mr. Ward noted that Megan McCook has a permit to have an Earth Day Celebration on April 19 in Memorial Park. There will be lots of exhibits on subjects such as wind power, solar energy, etc. Mr. Ward also noted that the Commission should streamline the process and associated town codes to eliminate obstacles to establishing alternative energy sources.
Ms. Wolffe asked that landscaping be placed on the April Commission agenda. Mr. Behr relayed that the Earth Day Celebration was under the umbrella of the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance, and that the Alliance is looking for other ways to promote conservation.
Chairman Rosenberger noted that the Town Council gave Mr. Derrickson a Certificate of Appreciation for his public service.
Ms. Wolffe made a motion to adjourn. The motion passed and the meeting ended at 8:23.
Notes prepared by Nancy Lane
N.B. These notes do not constitute the public record of this meeting. The information contained herein is offered in good faith, is presented as accurately as possible, is thought to be a complete account of the proceedings. These notes are intended to be a public service devoid of political commentary for those who are interested in following the civic affairs of Chincoteague Island. Notes of the meeting are recorded, transcribed and distributed by volunteers who receive no financial compensation for their efforts.