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Council to Hear Oral Argument in Branchville Crossing’s Fence Application

At tomorrow night’s Council meeting, the Council will hear oral argument on a request by Cruz Development, for a departure from the City fence ordinance to erect a 6′ high front yard fence. The property (called “Branchville Crossing”) is located at 4800-4900 block of Branchville Road.

The Property has two very long frontages: 630.16-feet along University Boulevard (MD 193) and 527.88-feet along Branchville Road. The frontage along University Boulevard has a guardrail and no curb-cuts. There is unrestricted access to the property from Branchville Road.

Cruz asserts that the property has been used for illegal dumping, trespassing and other activities that appear to access through the front yard without proper authorization and a fence is needed for security and to prevent liability. Cruz referenced use of his property for the burning of a vehicle and for parking without his permission. The property is more difficult to monitor and police than a developed property and the owner is out of town.

The Branchville Volunteer Fire Department testified that installation of a fence would block their use of the applicant’s property when turning and maintaining their vehicles. Vehicles belonging to Fire Department members are routinely parked on the gravel area on the applicant’s property. On October 1, 2015, the APC conducted a hearing on the merits of the variance, at which the APC heard testimony , and it recommended the approval of variance by a 3-1-0 vote.

Staff recommends that the front yard fence variance from the City Fence Ordinance be approved with the following conditions:
(a) Correct the fence location plan to accurately reflect the height of the existing fences on the western property line. They are 4-feet tall not 8-feet tall.
(b) Reduce the fence height to 4-feet to lessen the impact on the neighborhood.
(c) Upgrade the material of the fence from welded wire to black metal or something similar that would be more compatible with the neighborhood.

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