Planning commission considers expansion
By Annette C. Silva
On May 11, vice mayor of Delmar, Md., Paul Scovell and town of Delmar
planning commissioners met to consider two principal issues before the town:
the development of an upscale housing community surrounding the golf course
on Bi-State Boulevard (on the Maryland side of town) and the designation and
permission to operate Harvest Ministries, a charitable thrift store, food
bank and social service organization in a new location on the southwest corner
of Lincoln Street and Bi-State Boulevard.
Golf course community
Gerald Friedel of David, Bowen & Friedel introduced a preliminary plan
representing developers Michael Thomasson of TCS Homes, an Annapolis company
that proposed building a golf course community of 75 to 80 townhomes in the price
range $130,000 to $165,000 along Bi-State Boulevard.
The preliminary plan calls for single-family dwellings, a homeowner
association maintenance arrangement, list of governing covenants, public
water, sewer and streetlighting, developer-built sidewalks and 30-foot-wide
streets with 10-foot easements. Lots would be approximately 2,000 square
feet with 20 feet between buildings. The homes will have two-car garages,
22 and 1/2-foot front yards and parking spaces. The cluster community will
include green fencing (i.e. trees) in and around the homes.
Planning commissioner Larry Points and commission member Tony Triglia
expressed concern over two townhomes in the preliminary drawing that are a
considerable distance from the main cluster of homes, possibly necessitating
two infrastructure systems.
Potential problems of proximity to existing homes in the neighborhood of
this outlying area were also voiced. Triglia asked if these two homes could
be eliminated if they became a deal breaker.
As other concerns arose regarding variances and precedents regarding density
of the development, Scovell and deputy mayor Larry Points, Delmar, Del., said it
would be difficult to recommend the plan to the Board of Zoning Appeals without a
comprehensive plan. That should include some revisions, they said, as well as detailed
plans for a clubhouse as well as some type of screen between strategic points on the
golf course and streets and homes where flying golf balls could be a liability.
In an accommodation by both parties, Friedel and the developers agreed to present a
comprehensive plan with revisions to a planning commission meeting on May 30 at 7 p.m.
at town hall. If all goes well, the planning commission will recommend the golf course
community plan to the Board of Zoning Appeals. That board would then hold a public hearing
that same night at 7:30 p.m. This accommodation will allow the developers to keep their
building schedule intact and allow the town to abide by its regulations governing
recommendations to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Mark Frazier, president of Harvest Ministries, a social organization that operates
a thrift store, food bank and serves "clients who are poor and needy," came before the
planning commission to present his case for Harvest Ministries' new location at the corner
of Lincoln Avenue and Bi-State Boulevard. The commission's primary concerns regarding
this location are traffic flow and parking. They are also concerned about the proper
category in which to place Harvest Ministries' 501C Corporation into their town regulations.
Frazier said the thrift store is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
and Saturdays and there are nine parking spaces available in and around the store. He
has arranged to use the parking lot of a local Christian center and a local store has
agreed to share its parking lot.
Scovell said the town needs to categorize Frazier's organization "because an operation
like this doesn't exist here - we need to know what to call it." Although Harvest Ministries
is mostly a charitable organization, it is also a business that sells clothing and appliances.
The commission voted to grant Harvest Ministries a variance for one year "to see how the
traffic flow and parking evolve," said Scovell. "We'll look at it in May 2001 to see if the
parking space is sufficient." Frazier has a two-year lease on a building that previously
housed a retail store. The commission also moved to classify Harvest Ministries as a
Client/Social Services operation.