Board ap­proves boatel ex­pan­sion

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE - By HANNAH COMBS [email protected]­times.com ARTIST’S REN­DER­ING

In a pub­lic hear­ing be­fore the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ap­peals, Kent Nar­rows Ma­rine LLC was granted ap­proval to in­crease the size of the boatel build­ing.

CENTREVILLE — In a pub­lic hear­ing be­fore the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ap­peals, Kent Nar­rows Ma­rine LLC was granted ap­proval to in­crease the size of the boatel build­ing at 100 Piney Nar­rows Road in Ch­ester.

The ex­ist­ing 72,000square-foot struc­ture was given ap­proval to ex­pand to 84,000 square feet. The en­hanced de­sign al­lows for ad­di­tional boat stor­age, pos­si­ble shops and a pro­posed res­tau­rant pad site.

Kent Nar­rows Ma­rine LLC, formed by Jody Schulz and Rob Marsh, con­structed the mixed-use boatel facility for high-dr y stor­age facility/ rack­o­minium for boats last year. The amend­ment they were seek­ing was to al­low an in­crease in the size of the boatel build­ing and the ad­di­tion of cer­tain uses to the facility.

The Dec. 19 meet­ing was open to the pub­lic for com­ment, and only sup­port­ing com­ments in fa­vor of the boatel were made — in­clud­ing cur­rent ten­ants who use the boatel for dry dock stor­age of their wa­ter­craft. Tom Lepisto, Carey Piekarski, Jef­frey P. (Beau) Scott and Ge­orgeanna Wind­ley, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Kent Nar­rows De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, went on the record sup­port­ing Kent Nar­rows Ma­rine’s re­quest for ap­proval.

The board found the pro­posed use “will not re­sult in a sub­stan­tial or un­due ad­verse ef­fect on ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties, the char­ac­ter of the neigh­bor­hood, traf­fic

con­di­tions, park­ing, pub­lic im­prove­ments, pub­lic sites, rights of way, or other mat­ters af­fect­ing the pub­lic health, safety and gen­eral wel­fare” and is con­sis­tent with use pro­vided for in the Com­pre­hen­sive Plan.

Seem­ing sat­is­fied the spec­i­fi­ca­tions set forth by the plan­ning de­part­ment had been met by the ap­pli­cants, the board re­vis­ited only one con­di­tion — the op­er­a­tion of a po­ten­tial rental or char­ter boat from the boatel site.

At­tor­ney for the ap­pli­cants Joseph Stevens told the board as he was aware, the only con­di­tion that Schulz was talk­ing about re­con­sid­er­ing is whether or not he could op­er­ate a char­ter boat if he had the op­por­tu­nity to put a char­ter boat in there.

Lan­guage in the pro­posal given to the board of ap­peals ref­er­enced the pos­si­ble re­stric­tion of char­ter boat use.

“We were try­ing to fig­ure out how that got in there or who brought it up or why it was in there, and I’m not sure. I don’t re­mem­ber why,” Schulz said.

Dis­cus­sion was heard on the length of a po­ten­tial char­ter boat.

“It’s kind of vague, a char­ter boat could be a 20-foot boat or what­ever,” Schulz said.

“Park­ing for an of f-site char­ter boat com­ing in that has eight guys on it, po­ten­tially eight ve­hi­cles. Typ­i­cally not but po­ten­tially eight ve­hi­cles that are tak­ing up park­ing spa­ces that are not ac­counted for,” said Rob Gunter, se­nior plan­ner for the county.

Shops, stores and a res­tau­rant are con­ducive to hav­ing a char­ter op­er­a­tion come and pick up peo­ple at the Nar­rows, Schulz said.

“A char­ter boat doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean I’m go­ing to bring a boat, and there’s gong to be 20 cars in the park­ing lot get­ting on that boat. It may be a boat bring­ing cus­tomers to the Kent Nar­rows, which is what we want,” Schulz said.

One item of note is the boatel will have no overnight or tran­sient boat slips; only those au­tho­rized to dock in the boatel are able to re­turn after hours.

Board mem­ber Craig McGinnes raised a con­cern that un-in­spected char­ters would run out of the boatel. Schulz said they are not look­ing to cre­ate that type of cus­tomer and have char­ters run out of there. Rather, said Schulz, they are look­ing at po­ten­tial char­ter boats bring­ing cus­tomers to the area.

“I’d love to have a char­ter boat bring in 40, 50 or 60 peo­ple to Kent Nar­rows, un­load them, let them deal in Kent Nar­rows and get on a boat and go back. That’s a per­fect sce­nario,” he said.

“Most char­ter boats, you meet them at the dock where the boats dock. Why would they come over and pick them up and drop them off back at your place and then take their boat back to their slip? Why use your place as a pickup and drop off point?” asked Ken­neth R. Scott, chair­man of the ap­peals board.

Schulz said there were many vari­ables, cit­ing St. Michaels has an­other town with char­ter boats. Those boats have come to Kent Nar­rows, to the vis­i­tor cen­ter and pick up vis­i­tors to drive to St. Michaels for the day, Schulz said. “We don’t think ev­ery­body comes to Kent Nar­rows, we don’t ex­pect you to stay in Kent Nar­rows all day ev­ery day. We’d like to come, stay in a room and go places and come back. That’s part of the char­ter boat thing. They may have a char ter boat that runs up to Rock Hall for the day and comes back. When you talk about a char­ter op­er­a­tion there’s a lot to it. I’d hate to see it be re­stricted when it could po­ten­tially bring peo­ple to Kent Nar­rows.”

Schulz’ big­gest con­tention, he said, is that there are not a lot of places in Kent Nar­rows for a larger boat to dock with the wa­ter depth and ac­cess.

Orig­i­nally the county’s plan­ning com­mis­sion had dis­cussed char­ter boats in ref­er­ence to park­ing and traf­fic con­sid­er­a­tions, Marsh said.

“That was the dis­cus­sion about large char­ter boats. We have no in­ten­tion right now of bring­ing a large char­ter boat in,” he said. “But we feel to have that re­stric­tion ... is tech­ni­cally (a re­stric­tion against) a rental boat there which the Nar­rows needs a boat rental op­er­a­tion to sup­port the ho­tels, restau­rants, sup­port ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on.”

Hear­ing tes­ti­mony from the ap­pli­cants and their at­tor­ney, McGinnes mo­tioned that they strike the re­stric­tion against char­ter boat ac­tiv­ity from their ap­proval. His mo­tion was sup­ported unan­i­mously by the ap­peals board.

Draft site plan show­ing planned ex­pan­sion of the cur­rent boatel struc­ture.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The boatel as it cur­rently stands at the Kent Nar­rows.

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