At one of the shortest meetings ever held by the Colonial Beach Planning Commission (PC) the basis for the 2013 year was set. Commission member David Coombes stated that the PC had functioned well under its previous leadership. He asked that Maureen Holt be named Chair for 2013 and Desiree Urquhart be named Vice-Chair for the same period. Holt and Urquhart agreed to the nominations. The four members in attendance, Ed Grant, Coombes, Holt, and Urquhart unanimously agreed to the nominations.
Immediately following the selection of chair, the by-laws, which were unchanged from 2012, were voted upon. Again, a unanimous vote held the by-laws over for the 2013 year. Kent Rodeheaver, and the newest member of the PC, Robin Schick, were not present at the meeting.
During the public comment period, local citizen, Martin Brant asked for help on keeping the boardwalk above Colonial Avenue in better condition. According to Brant, several times a year the town will come out and remove the gravel from the walk, but it is cracked and almost unusable as it is. Josh Frederick, Zoning Technician and Office Manager, stated that during his time searching the deeds for the area, he learned that the homeowners own the concrete pad and sand to the water line in front of their homes.
This does not include the concrete pad in front of Maryland Avenue which is owned by the town. The PC asked Frederick to look into this issue. Holt stated that it was a town manager and council issue, but that the PC would make sure it was followed up by town staff. She assured Brant he would receive answers regarding who owns the land, and who is responsible for the repairs.
Discussion about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) centered on what changes in regulations are needed to allow them to legally exist in town. An ADU is defined as “A complete and separate housekeeping unit within, attached to or accessory to a single family home. Such units have a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping facilities and entrances independent of the principal structure to which it is an accessory use,” according to the proposed additions to Articles four and six of the town’s code.
According to Zoning Director, Gary Mitchell, there are at least 15-20 of these units in existence within town limits. At the last zoning meeting, Robin Schick stated that she actually lives in an ADU. The proposed regulations would grandfather in all existing ADU. Regulations proposed for units added after the articles go into effect include a maximum size of 750 square feet or 25 percent of the habitable space of the principal structure, whichever is less. Also there would be no separate address or utility connections, billing for utilities would go to the name of the owners of the principal structure.
The ADU would also be required to adhere to the existing required setbacks of the principal structure. This includes the front setback minimum at 20 feet from the road right-of-way with a seven foot setback on each side. The maximum height is 34 feet from finished grade or one foot below the principal structure whichever is less.
There will be a public hearing on the issue of ADU at the February Planning Commission meeting. All citizens are welcome to attend and speak on the issue.