On April 6th, BQA sent a letter to the County Planning Commission in support of a text amendment submitted by Mears Point Associates. It read:
Dear Planning Commissioners,
The mission of Business Queen Anne's is to actively advocate sound economic growth by commenting on state and local legislation and regulations; provide objective assessments of proposed development; support growth that is well managed and consistent with adopted state and local planning and regulatory guidelines; create "business friendly" attitudes on the part of Queen Anne's County elected and appointed officials; and support business activity that promotes and encourages a vibrant economy, a skilled labor pool, fiscally responsible and accountable county government, and a continued unique quality of life in Queen Anne's County.
With that in mind we have reviewed the amendments to the WVC zoning regulations proposed by Mears Point Associates. We understand the proposed amendment to Section18:1-26 N.(1)(a) may permit the Planning Commission to increase the height limitation (from 45' up to 55') for a residential and nonresidential building when parking is provided under that building (without applying the bonus provisions of the WVC). Currently, the Planning Commission can increase the nonresidential floor area when parking is provided underneath at least ½ of a building, but may not the increase the height of the building without implementing the bonus provisions. We believe it makes a great deal of sense to allow some height increases when providing parking under a building. The bonus provisions as currently written are open-ended and confusing, thus discourages business development. If an applicant provides parking under a building they should be able to achieve a reasonable increase in height without being subject to the ambiguous bonus provision. We believe this is a design issue, since no increase in floor area is necessarily achieved when providing parking under a building.
Secondly, Mears seeks to include "marina uses" as part of "Mixed Use Options" which will allow the marina uses when part of the underlying property (ie slips, recreation amenities, service areas) to be included in determining the area allowed for a residential component as part of a mixed use project. The amendment furthers the policy to encourage mixed use development, and address parking needs on site where possible. Importantly, the amendments reasonably allow a marina to develop mixed uses with minimal disruption to the existing marina uses while giving consideration to important water dependent uses when calculating density.
Business Queen Anne's believes both these amendments are consistent with the underlying goals of the Comprehensive Plan and the Kent Narrows Community Plan.
In closing, we believe it is important that the regulations are flexible to enable and encourage an existing marina to redevelop part of its property, especially when such redevelopment remains consistent with the underlying "mixed use" intentions of the Kent Narrows Area Plan and zoning regulations.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on these important matters.
 We also support the Staff recommendation of 100% parking under the building in order to utilize the amendment.