Ris­ing Sun looks to up­date zon­ing codes

Cecil Whig - - & - By JANE BELLMYER



— As the town pre­pares to lift its building mora­to­rium, there is a move afoot to make sure loop­holes and ty­pos are fixed in the zon­ing code.

Calvin Bo­nen­berger, Ris­ing Sun town ad­min­is­tra­tor, told the mayor and com­mis­sion­ers last week that they should con­sider get­ting the doc­u­ment straight­ened out now.

“Our zon­ing code is way out of whack,” he ex­plained.

Part of the prob­lem came from past ef­forts in which a con­trac­tor hired to per­form the up­date bor­rowed codes from other towns.

“They did not bother to change the name of the com­mu­nity,” he said, not­ing there are also sev­eral ref­er­ences to “mayor and coun­cil” even though the town has com­mis­sion­ers.

There are also 10 zon­ing des­ig­na­tions listed in the code but only seven ap­pear on the town map.

Since the town hopes to at­tract new busi­ness, Bo­nen­berger said there must be a dis­cus­sion about sig­nage.

“Nearly all the signs in the Ris­ing Sun Towne Cen­ter don’t con­form with our rules,” Bo­nen­berger said. “We have sign reg­u­la­tions bor­rowed from other dis­tricts that are just not rea­son­able.”

For in­stance, Bo­nen­berger said a busi­ness the size of Martin’s Food Store can only have a 3-by-3-foot sign.

“In the past they gave a vari­ance. That’s not the way to do busi­ness,” he said.

This mod­ern­iza­tion should also re­flect the new land de­vel­op­ment mind­set, Bo­nen­berger said.

“We’re still op­er­at­ing un­der prin­ci­ples dat­ing back to the 1990s,” he said. “Land de­vel­op­ment is not the same as it was in 2000. This town has gone more than 15 years with­out up­dat­ing its busi­ness prin­ci­ples.”

Bo­nen­berger also pointed out that the town has been burned by bad de­vel­op­ment in the past. For ex­am­ple, cor­rect­ing the shoddy con­nec­tors and paving work in Sun­rise Es­tates along Ryan Drive has cost nearly $300,000.

Com­mis­sioner Allen Authen­reath, who is in charge of streets and side­walks, also pointed to unan­tic­i­pated prob­lems in Sum­mer Hill.

“We had a lot of storm drains fail pre­ma­turely up there,” Authen­reath said.

For­tu­nately the town pub­lic works depart­ment was able to re­place some of those drains at a savings.

The board has been in con­ver­sa­tion with of­fi­cials from the Mary­land Depart­ment of Plan­ning for guid­ance on the revision process, which could in­clude some­one from MDP do­ing the work.

“We’re not sure if they are go­ing to charge us for the ser­vice,” Bo­nen­berger said.

The cost was $24,000 for the 2007 revision of the 201-page code. Authen­reath added that KCI En­gi­neer­ing is also at the ta­ble.

“We’re hop­ing they can help. We’re look­ing at all the pos­si­ble so­lu­tions,” he said.

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