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Smithsburg board to review apartment complex plans

October 02, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The Smithsburg Planning Commission will review plans for a senior citizen apartment complex on nearly 10 acres along Maple Avenue.

The Smithsburg Board of Zoning Appeals in mid-September approved Smithsburg General Store owner Richard Grove's special exception request for rental apartments and a community center on land zoned town residential and used for agriculture.

Smithsburg's zoning ordinance allows for multi-family dwellings in town residential zoning districts with a special exception.

The Planning Commission probably will review Grove's site plan at the commission's November meeting, Planning Commission Development Coordinator Randy Dick said Tuesday.

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The site plan had not yet been submitted to the Planning Commission, he said.

More than 40 Smithsburg residents in August signed a petition opposing Grove's zoning change request, which engineering firm Antietam Design submitted to the town's Zoning Appeals Board in late July.

Project opponents said the high-density development would create traffic problems, overburden the town's sewer system and devalue surrounding property, among other concerns.

The Zoning Appeals Board on Sept. 12 unanimously but conditionally approved the special exception request because the proposed land use fits with the town's comprehensive plan and intent of the town's zoning ordinance, will be "harmonious and appropriate in appearance" with the existing and intended character of the area, and is "suitable in terms of the effects on street traffic and safety with adequate access arrangements," according to a written decision signed by Appeals Board Chairman David Williams.

The Zoning Appeals Board stipulated 16 conditions to ensure the development complies with the objectives of the town's zoning ordinance, according to the written decision.

Some of the conditions are:

n Rental of units in the project shall be restricted to tenants 55 and older, or as may otherwise be defined by legislative act of the Town Council or by Board of Zoning Appeals approval.

n The number of rental units shall not exceed 69.

n The developer must construct a left turn lane from northbound Maple Avenue into the property and/or a deceleration lane on the southbound side of Maple Avenue if the town's Planning Commission deems these road improvements necessary.

n The complex's proposed entrance road must be relocated to ensure residents' safety should a train derail on the nearby tracks, and to shift streetlight reflections away from residential properties along the development's southern border.

n Parking shall be prohibited along the development's entrance road to allow easy access for emergency vehicles.

n The developer must pay 100 percent of cost for feasibility studies, design and construction of sewage pumping station and sewage facility upgrades or expansion if the town determines such a need.

n The developer must fund all water line costs.

n The apartments cannot exceed one story and exteriors must be at least 80 percent brick.

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