A Public Hearing was held on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland on Code Home Rule Bill No. #1-2007 which is a zoning text amendment based upon an application submitted by the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Chestertown Lodge No. 2474 proposing an Act to amend the Kent County Land Use Ordinance by repealing and re-enacting Article VI, Section 2.4.2 (Special Provisions– Signs--Exemptions) to provide certain volunteer and charitable organizations a larger sign for the purpose of promoting fundraising events; and providing that the title of this legislative bill shall be deemed a fair summary.
County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, and Thomas Yeager, County Attorney. Others in attendance were Basil Wadkovsky, Esquire and Willy Gale representing the Chestertown Lodge #2474, Carla Martin, Community Planner and several members of the media.
Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record. Correspondence dated November 23, 2006 was received from Elizabeth H. Morris, Chairman, Planning Commission, advising that by majority vote, recommended to repeal the existing text and replace with the following : “Institutional signs setting forth the name or simple announcement for any public, charitable, educational, or religious institution, located entirely on the premises of that institution, up to an area of 25 square feet. Institutional signs setting forth the name or simple announcement for any public, charitable, educational, or religious institution, located entirely on the premises of that institution are eligible for bonus sign area as described in Article VI, Section 2.7 of this Ordinance. Volunteer fire companies are permitted to have signs up to an area of 32 square feet.”
Although, the Planning Commission recognized that signs are intended for identification and not for advertisement, the commission felt that the service provided by these volunteer organizations deserved a larger sign for the purpose of promoting fundraising events and that the regulations applicable to commercial businesses in the Commercial District should apply to public, charitable, educational, or religious institutions. The Commission also found that the proposal meets a public need to support these volunteer organizations in the County.
Mr. Wadkovsky commented that he would like to see the legislation adopted in order to increase the 15 square foot allowance for signs to 32 square feet. He stated that the 15 square foot sign is only large enough to hold the name for the public to see. The organization is in need of a larger sign in order to properly advertise for upcoming events. He stated that the organization will be unable to properly advertise events without increased square footage on signs. Mr. Wadkosvsky stated that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks approves of the proposed legislation as it is written.
Mr. Gale noted by allowing larger signs for advertisement would not cause any personal gain for establishments. He stated that greater advertisement will benefit the community because they will have knowledge about upcoming events.
Commissioner Pickrum suggested amending the legislation to include all organizations. The County Administrator stated that amending the legislation may involve repeating the entire legislative process.
This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 10:20 a.m.
The third reading of this proposed legislation will be held on February 6, 2007.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
Roy W. Crow