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Council to Revisit Cruz Fence Request

cruz-bvfdAt tomorrow’s City Council meeting, the City Council will consider revisiting a request by the Cruz development in Branchville to erect a fence around their property with the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department.

The Council denied the request based on the community’s feedback about a year ago.

Here is a bit of history.

Back in August 13, 2015, Cruz Development Corporation submitted an appeal from City Code, §87-23, which prohibits construction of fences in the front yard. The specific request was for a variance to erect a 6-foot high, welded wire fence in the front yard.

On October 1, 2015, the APC conducted a hearing on the merits of the variance, at which the APC heard testimony and accepted evidence including the staff report, staff presentation and exhibits with respect to whether the subject application meets the standards for granting variances set forth in the Fence Ordinance. The APC voted 3-1-0 to recommend that the variance be granted. Exceptions were filed by the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department. The Mayor and Council held a public hearing on December 1,

The Mayor and Council held a public hearing on December 1, 2015 to consider the APC recommendation and heard oral argument from parties of record, including the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and the Berwyn District Civic Association, who opposed the variance requests. The Mayor and Council determined in Resolution 15-R-29 to deny the requested fence variance.

The Cruz then filed an appeal to the Council’s decision to the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. On October 17, 2016, an Order was issued by the Circuit Court reversing the denial of the variance and requiring the Mayor and Council to enter a final decision granting the fence variance.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider a resolution to vacate the Resolution 15-R-29 in its entirety and that the application for the requested fence variance be granted for a period of three and one-half years from construction, or upon redevelopment of the Property, whichever is earlier, under the following conditions: (1) Correct the fence location plan to accurately record the height of the existing fences on the western property line. They are 4-feet tall not 8-feet tall. (2) Reduce the fence height to 4-feet to lessen the impact on the neighborhood. (3) Upgrade the material of the fence from welded wire to vertical, aluminum or metal posts or something similar that would be more compatible with the neighborhood, subject to the approval of the City staff.

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2 Comments to “Council to Revisit Cruz Fence Request”

  1. By Ben, November 15, 2016 @ 10:55 pm

    It’s not clear to me why the fence is needed? What purpose will it serve that is important enough to warrant a variance of city code?

  2. By Robert Catlin, December 16, 2016 @ 1:10 pm

    The fence is intended to prevent trespassing and is specifically aimed at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company located across the street on Branchville Road.