County Commissioners - Public Hearings

PUBLIC HEARING - October 27, 2009



CHR 6-2009- Assisted Living Facilties

PUBLIC HEARING
CODE HOME RULE 6-2009
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES

October 27, 2009

A public hearing was held today at 9:30 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland, on Code Home Rule 6-2009, which is an Act to amend Article V, Sections 1.3 (Agricultural Zoning District - Special Exceptions), 3.3 (Rural Character – Special Exceptions), 4.3 (Rural Residential – Special Exceptions), 5.3 (Critical Area Residential – Special Exceptions), 6.3 (Community Residential); Article VII Section 6 (Special Exceptions) and Article VII, Section 7 (Special Exceptions) of the Kent County Land Use Ordinance to add new special exception provisions for assisted living facilities with five to eight beds.

County Commissioners Roy Crow, Ronald Fithian, and William Pickrum, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Gail Owings, Director of Planning, approximately seven interested persons and three members of the media.

Commissioner Crow read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record.

Ms. Owings referenced correspondence dated May 21 from the Planning Commission, advising that a public hearing had been held and it was voted unanimously to recommend text amendment concerning assisted living facilities as follows:

Add to Article V, Sections 1.3.4 (Agricultural Zoning), 3.3.4 (Rural Character), 4.3.5 (Rural Residential), 5.3.5 ˝ (Critical Area Residential), and 6.3.4 (Community Residential) – “Assisted Living Facilities with five to eight beds.”

Add to Article VII, Section 6 (Special Exceptions) under those special exceptions that may be approved by the Planning Director- #5 “Assisted Living Facilities with five to eight beds.”

Add to Article VII, Section 7 (Special Exceptions) - #6 ˝ “Assisted Living Facilities with five to eight beds in AZD, RC, RR, CR and CAR provided:

a. The property owner resides on the premises.
b. The assisted living facility is subordinate and accessory to the principal dwelling in size and appearance and is the same structure as the principal dwelling unit. Expansions shall be designed in keeping with or enhance a character of the other buildings.
c. The rooms for the use are not designed or constructed to be separate dwelling units and may not be sold as separate dwelling units.
d. The appearance of the structure and property remain that of a single family dwelling so that the average neighbor is unaware of the assisted living facility’s entrance.

e. The structure meets all applicable Kent County Codes, including the building code, and Health Department requirements.
f. The applicant has received approval from the appropriate State of Maryland Agencies.
g. The facility does not create an unacceptable environmental impact by way of noise, odor, noxious materials or other nuisances.
h. The facility does not generate traffic of a type or amount inappropriate for all access roads and the surrounding area. It does not require road improvements detrimental to the character of the area.

Ms. Owings noted that the Planning Commission feels that the amendment is consistent with the Kent County Comprehensive Plan and Critical Area Law. The Planning Commission noted that the proposed amendment meets the public need for additional levels and types of assisted living facilities necessary to meet the requirement of an aging population. The amendment will also reinforce the medical and health based industries as recommended in the Comprehensive Plan. The Commission also noted that the text amendment is designed to respond to a trend of increased usage of assisted living care. The legislation is not intended for the resource conservation area. Ms. Owings stated that eight beds was chosen because it seems to be a good cut off point before the surrounding neighborhood would be impacted. In response to question raised by Commissioner Fithian, Ms. Owings informed that the state regulates the healthcare and cleanliness portions of the facilities, rather than the zoning portion. Commissioner Fithian commented that if the state, who regulates the daily operations of the facility, is agreeable to the increase from 5 to 8 beds for the assisted living facilities, he would agree with that number as well.

There was not anyone in attendance who wished to speak for or against this proposed legislation.

The third reading of this bill will be held on November 3, the next legislative day.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 9:40 a.m.

THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant
Approved:
Roy W. Crow, President

Please contact the County Commissioner's Office at (410) 778-4600 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.