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Berlin planning director begins new job this week

BERLIN—The
new Town Planning Director hit the ground running on Aug. 26.

David H.
Engelhart acclimated to his new office where he and Permit Coordinator Carolyn
Duffy spent the day catching up with permit applications for fence and utility
sheds and talking with other department officials who needed to sign off on the
various applications.

Engelhart
said he was trying to catch up on paperwork by time the town’s new
administrator, Laura Allen, starts when officials return after Labor Day.

Mayor Gee
Williams announced Engelhart’s hiring on a July 23. The planning director was a
real estate appraiser for Accomack County, Va.’s Department of Assessment and
zoning administrator for the Town of Onley, Va.

Engelhart will
also serve as the staff contact for Berlin’s Planning and Zoning Commission,
Historic District Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, reporting
regularly to the Town Administrator on the status of these boards.

He is
preparing for his first meeting with the HDC on Sept. 4., when the commission
is scheduled to discuss an application to extend a breakfast nook and adding a
garage to a residence on South Main Street, and to review signage for the
upcoming nautical-themed boutique Sea-La-Vie, slated to open at 111 Artisans Way
in September. The location is the site of the former Whimsical Cottage of
Berlin.

During a
public hearing in July, the council voted unanimously to approve specifications
for wooden sandwich board signs that directed that their maximum size be two
feet wide by three feet high and that when extended, the hinged a-frame signs
cannot expand beyond two feet at their base.

The
ordinance also clarified that businesses would be allowed one sign, but gave
business owners the flexibility to design the signs as they deem appropriate.
It designated the Berlin Planning Director as the official to review requests
for proposed signs.

The Planning
and Zoning Commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 11 to review a proposal to
construct a demolish the existing warehouse for South Moon Under and construct
a new one on Franklin Avenue, a proposal to subdivide the property on 122 Branch
Street into two parcels , and a proposed boundary line adjustment between a
residence at 523 South Main St. and a commercial building at 525 South Main St.,
where the Boomer’s Restaurant used be located.