Lee’s Landing receives OK to build floating pier
— Lee’s Landing Dock Bar can now move forward with its plans to build a new pier, the town’s Board of Appeals ruled this week.
Lee’s Landing owner David Carey received permission from the town planning commission to construct a 265-by-8-foot floating pier on July 28, one day after the Maryland Department of Environment also approved the plan. Neighbors of the restaurant filed an appeal of the planning commission’s ruling soon after though, saying they hadn’t been properly notified.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Bill Harrington,
chairman of the board, announced that the appeal would be dismissed because of a lack of standing.
“The appeal is dismissed. There is no standing for the appeal,” Harrington said. “They can now go forward with the plans on the application as they’ve been approved.”
Prior to its ruling, Harrington and fellow board members Ava Blackburn and David Leatherwood heard arguments on both sides of the plan by the popular eatery to expand its docking.
Todd Lochner, the attorney representing Sterling Shuman and his neighbors in the Newport Landing community of townhouses next door to the restau- rant, said the conflict was not over the dock itself, but rather the process. The planning commission meeting to approve the plan was held just one day after the MDE approval and the neighbors said they wanted time to digest the MDE ruling before the vote was taken.
“The only issue is, Did the town properly notify residents?” Lochner said. “You’re not allowing the public to be heard.”
However, Vicky Rinkerman, town administrator, noted that the MDE public hearing was held in May and was well attended.
But Kevin Pascale, the attorney representing Carey, noted Shuman, the resident leading the appeal, was a voting member of the planning commission when the project gained the town’s approval. As an alternate member, Shuman was called into action at the meeting due to a lack of quorum.
“Mr. Shuman is disqualified to be an appellant because he’s a member of the commission,” Pascale said. Harrington agreed. “You can’t appeal a decision you voted on,” he said.
The approved project is different from Carey’s original plans for 300 feet of mooring, which were changed by MDE, Rinkerman, the town administrator, said.
“There were concerns about ingress and egress at Tome’s Landing Marina,” Rinkerman said Wednesday.
Carey had to obtain a state wetland permit too, she noted.
“The pier is a permitted use. He’s allowed to have it and he went through the permitting process to get it,” Rinkerman said.
The pier would be open to the public, complete with a pump out station for boats. The floating pier will be in the water from May to December once completed.