Board of Appeals to hold hearing regarding Four Seasons project
CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Board of Appeals will hold an evidentiary hearing regarding the approval of Phase One site plans for the Four Seasons project at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, in the office of the Board of Appeals, 160 Coursevall Drive, Centreville. The Four Seasons project by K. Hovnanian is proposed to be located along Castle Marina and Benton roads on Kent Island.
The county’s Board of Appeals held a joint public hearing May 11 regarding appeals of three prior decisions made by the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning and the Planning Commission regarding the proposed Four Seasons development.
Two of the appeals — filed by Robert W. Foley, Jr., Carolyn A. Foley, James M. Wimsatt Jr. and Karen Wimsatt — regarding the issuance of sediment control and grading permits to K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons were dropped as both Joe Stevens, a lawyer representing K. Hovnanian, and Rosemary Greene, a lawyer representing the appellants, agreed both permit issuances were “moot” at this point.
“We’re only talking about a grading permit that has been withdrawn, so it’s not even pending any more, and we’re talking about a grading permit ... that was to allow some archaeological field studies to be done and that work has been completed, and it’s been completed for 10 years,” Board of Appeals Attorney Sager Williams Jr. said.
In association with the public hearing regarding those permits, no members of the public chose to speak.
A Board of Appeals meeting was held on June 23 in which K. Hovnanian requested a continuance of the case until July 13, which the appellants agreed to.
Prior to the meeting, Stevens agreed to allow Jay Falstad, executive director of the Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Inc., to read a statement to “sharpen” the view for a third appeal heard by the board about the planning commission granting final subdivision approval for Phase One of Four Seasons. The Queen Anne’s Conservation Association Inc. joined the Foleys and Wimsatts in that appeal.
Falstad said in December 2005 when the planning commission approved the final site plan and subdivision for phase one of the project, certain findings were required to make such an approval. Such findings included, “create no unacceptable traffic congestion or safety hazards ... protect environmentally sensitive areas and no(t) substantially increase stormwater, drainage or pollution ... be compatible in design with the existing development in the surrounding neighborhood ... and have no adverse affect on public welfare,” Falstad said.
“These are the primary issues that we want the board to resolve as K. Hovnanian attempts to defend the 2005 findings of the planning commission,” Falstad said, mentioning the case should be sent back to the planning commission to amend the phase one plan. The Board of Appeals unanimously voted that it had the authority to hear the appeal and denied the request for it to go back to the planning commission. The board also voted to limit the July 13 hearing to the four topics Falstad read in his statement.
Stevens said the argument for sending the plan back to the planning commission is because it’s been a decade and “all these things have changed.” But, Stevens said, K. Hovnanian believes very little has changed — “it’s the same project that got approved by the planning commission.”
“There’s allegations of error of the planning commission or allegations of error as a result of new laws because of the changes. New laws came into effect, now it doesn’t comply with the new laws, and so on and so forth,” Stevens said. “We disagree. The review’s with this board. This board has jurisdiction. It’s plain and simple.”
Stevens went on to say the firm believes sending it back to the planning commission was “a tactic to take quite a bit longer.”
A motion by Stevens to dismiss the appeal was denied by the board.
All hearing sites are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Sign language interpreters and assisted listening systems are available for individuals with hearing impairments. For more information, contact Tina Miles at 410-758-0322.