- Roll Call
- Approval of Minutes- July 25, 2019 Meeting
- Special Exception Application No. 894; Resolution No. 19-03-BOA- 116 Washington Boulevard, filed by Francesa DeMauco-Palminteri, seeking special exception approval to operate a Medical Cannabis Dispensary
- Public Hearing on Application
- Executive Session, if necessary
- Final Action
THREE HUNDRED FIFTY FIFTH MEETING
CITY OF LAUREL BOARD OF APPEALS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 – REGULAR
Convened: 7:00 P.M.
Board Members Present (During Roll):
Margaret A. Chenault, Chairwoman
Larry Taub, Esquire, City Solicitor
Christian L. Pulley, Economic & Community Development, Director
Robert Love, Economic & Community Development, Deputy Director
Josh Mitchum, Economic & Community Development, Planner II
Brooke Quillen, Secretary
Citizens Present: Approximately 16
The minutes of the July 25, 2019 meeting were approved as written on motion by Mr. Lee seconded by Mr. Mitchell and carried on a roll call vote of all other members present with Ms. Collins abstaining from the vote.
Next, the Board heard the request for Special Exception Application No. 894 and Resolution No. 19-03-BOA, 116 Washington Boulevard Laurel, Maryland 20707, filed by Francesca DeMauco-Palminteri, 13902 Shippers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20853. The applicant is seeking special exception approval to operate a Medical Cannabis Dispensary to be located at 116 Washington Blvd. Surrounding the property to the North is a bookstore, Professional Hair Design barbershop and Protocall Communications, to the South is the Tastee Diner restaurant, to the West is the Laurel Tavern Donuts restaurant and PriceCo flooring company, and to the East is Animal Crackers Pet Boutique & Salon and a vacant commercial building. The current building was built in 2019.
The applicant’s attorney, Chris Hatcher, Principal, Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. – Attorneys, 7600 Wisconsin Avenue Bethesda, Maryland 20814, thanked staff and the Commission for working with them. He explained the history of the project; that the previous application was withdrawn from the Tastee Diner in respect to the Laurel community, after hearing opposition. Mr. Hatcher stated he and his client are in agreeance with the staff report. He stated that they have addressed all the concerns that were expressed previously, and have a few people to speak on the application.
Ken Dunn, RLA, AICP, LEED AP, Soltesz LLC., 4300 Forbes Boulevard #230 Landham, Maryland 20706, stated he was a certified Land Use Professional with over 30 years’ experience. Mr. Dunn added he has testified before for similar cases especially in Prince George’s County. His resume and drafted analysis for this project was submitted to staff for the record. Lastly, Mr. Dunn stated the findings show all five conditions are met and there are no adverse effects with approving this special exception application.
Mr. Lee asked staff if all the letters of support that have been provided to the Board will be part of the record, and staff confirmed “Yes”.
The applicant, Francesca DeMauco-Palminteri, 13902 Shippers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20853, thanked the Board for their time and consideration. She noted this has been a long journey, four years in the making actually, but she has been encouraged by the community, state and local officials. Out of 200 sites, this is one of the two they found that meets all the requirements by law. Ms. DeMauco-Palminteri added she will be leasing the whole building but currently has no other plans for other tenants. She stated with approval on this application, Pure Hana would provide medical care to certified patients and plans to hire up to 15 employees. Lastly, she stated she looks forward to investing with the City of Laurel and be a member of the community.
Ash Azari, PriceCo Floors, Inc., 107 Washington Boulevard Laurel, Maryland 20707, thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak on behalf of this application that he is in favor of. He stated that this area used to be a very bad place, but it has been recently cleaned up. Mr. Azari added he does not want to see an empty building there because that will attract the wrong kind of people. He stated it will be great for the community to create new jobs and believes it will be good for his business too. Lastly, he said he will feel safe for his family (who visits the store frequently) if this application is approved.
Gene Wilkes, 20910 Peachtree Road Dickerson, Maryland 20842 noted he has concerns for the second and third floor usage of the building. He stated the front of the building looks nice but the back is sketchy, not safe and with the adult bookstore right there, attracts a different kind of crowd. Mr. Wilkes added he has an issue with the parking, as their customers are not going to want to park in the back of the building but will park in the diner parking lot. Mr. Wilkes stated he as been right next store since 1976 and does not believe this is a good fit.
Councilmember Carl DeWalt, 422 Prince George Street Laurel, Maryland 20707, stated he attended the Planning Commission meeting last year for the previous location with the intention of not supporting this project because of the location and the history of the diner. He also had concerns about distance regulations to the other existing dispensary and the House of Worship down the street. However, the new location is a little over a mile and the House of Worship located in the strip mall would have to be owned by the church and not leased. He noted there are only two dispensaries per Legislative District and it is honorable that businesses are drawn to the City of Laurel and he believes it is because of the great local government and police department. The proposed building location used to be the B&E Bar, which had a violent history, where he personally experienced. He added he has toured some local dispensaries and saw that these buildings are very secure. Customers have to have regular doctor visits and a special ID card to enter. Customers get their prescriptions and leave, it does not appear to be a hang out. Lastly, Mr. DeWalt also stated he believes this will be great for our community, and the tax money generated will last a long time.
On motion by Mr. Lee seconded by Ms. Leszcz, and carried on a unanimous vote by all members present, Special Exception Application No. 894 and Resolution No. 19-03-BOA were approved as presented in the Technical Staff Report.
Adjournment: 7:56 P.M.