Take-Aways from the 10/26 Planning Commission Meeting

*Please note that we strive to make accurate records, but this is a human taking notes during a fast-paced meeting.

The meeting was very well attended with standing room only (probably 75+ people) and went until 11:15.

There was some discussion about a commercial property near CVS but this update focuses on Willshire.

Planning Commissioner Cal Sneed gave a background/how we got here on the Willshire project.

Town Manager Wade Yost gave his comments on things that he felt needed to be addressed with the current Willshire plan. Some of those were:

  • The current 15ft setback from Fisher is not sufficient (should be 65ft back from the center line of Fisher).
  • Power lines should be underground.
  • There should be at least 20ft between the single-family homes that are on the perimeter of the parcel.
  • All homes along Fisher should face the road.
  • Homes on the exterior of the lot should be single family homes (not town homes).
  • Willshire would need a Homeowners Association with fees in to maintain grounds and bio-retention units.
  • Fire department has concerns about the size of alley-ways and access.

 

Town Engineer, John Strong, gave his comments. Some of these were:

  • The Planning Commission has the power to deny fee-in-lieu of forest conservation.
  • No Homeowners Association documents have been filed at this point.
  • Current Willshire alley ways appear to be 14’ but need to be 20’ unless the county gives an exemption or the Fire Marshall gives special approval.

 

Planning Commissioner Calvin Sneed then gave comments, including:

  • Willshire appears to be a good plan for somewhere but maybe not for here.
  • Need a buffer for Whalen Commons (Wade agreed).
  • Prices are higher than he would like to see.
  • Try to include some senior living options.

 

Planning Commissioner Michael Tims commented:

  • Would also like to see senior living included.
  • Would like to see the path from Beall Street to the Poole House be pedestrian only.

 

Planning Commissioner Kevin Schramm commented:

  • Make the Beall Street to the Poole House path a “greenway.”
  • Since Willshire is likely the last big development in Poolesville (due to population cap) senior housing should be included.

 

Planning Commissioner Bryan Bupp likes the idea of a path connecting Beall St to the Poole House.

 

The Planning Commission seemed to come to consensus about the following:

  • No fee-in-lieu of for greenspace (this means the developer could not pay a fee in order to not integrate the required green space per acre).
  • Do not want to see 35ft tall town homes (too tall).
  • A path from Beall Street to the John Poole House is desired.
  • All or most agree that connecting Fyffe Rd. (the small road that goes from Town Hall to Fisher) to Glass Way is a bad idea (this is the walking path that connects Tama to the parking area for Town Hall).
  • All want a playground and green space included in Willshire.

 

Then the floor was opened for citizen questions and comments. Resident after resident expressed concerns about density, the downsides of opening a road into Tama, traffic, aesthetics, and general effects on our small town.