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CB schools request 2 right-of-way vacations

At a public hearing during the Planning Commission’s Oct. 7 meeting, School Superintendent Donna Power formally requested the commission to review and make a recommendation to Town Council to vacate two town-owned rights-of-way currently situated on school property.
According to Power, there is a 40-foot by 100-foot parcel of land at the elementary school and a 20-foot by 850-foot parcel of land at the high school.  Power explained that “we are hoping to construct a modular middle school on the high school property at a future date.  The right-of-way has to be relinquished so it’s one parcel.”  

Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Zoning, addressed the commission and recommended the commission approve the vacation of the two parcels.  By doing so, the School Board would be able to maintain a 36 percent open space ratio requirement of the Chesapeake Bay Act after installation of the modular middle school.
“It is my understanding that the high school land was donated and the right-of-way was probably already in place at that time,” Mitchell said.  
Power further noted that the rights-of-way currently “have structures on them.”  The right-of-way parcel at the elementary school currently has a mobile classroom on it and the right-of-way parcel at the high school bisects the athletic field.
After discussion to ensure no homeowners would be land-locked and that public safety issues had been considered, commission members voted to make a recommendation to council at its November meeting that the two rights-of-way be vacated.  The commission voted unanimously to recommend the elementary school right-of-way vacation; and commission member Maureen Holt cast the only nay vote to recommend the high school right-of-way vacation.
During its regular October meeting, Mitchell requested the commission add a new category, “Personal Services Establishment,” to the Maritime Resort Commercial zoning recently passed by town council.  Mitchell noted that by adding the new category to the “approved uses” language in the text amendment, Department of Planning and Zoning staff would be able to approve businesses such as hair salons and yoga studios without bringing each request to the planning commission and holding a public hearing.  
In other matters, the commission approved a change in the monthly meeting time for the Planning Commission from 5:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. effective in November.   Commission member Margaret McMullen proposed that commission members be required to file disclosure statements per the “conflict of interest” language in the Code of Ethics.  

Kathy Flanagan

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