Commission Discusses Prince Frederick Application

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Commission Discusses Prince Frederick Application

Prince Frederick, MD - 1/27/2012

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By Marty Madden

An application for changes to the Prince Frederick Town Center Zoning Ordinance was the subject of a work session Wednesday, Jan. 25 conducted by the Calvert County Planning Commission. The application submitted by attorney Mark J. Davis on behalf of Bargo LLC is requesting land use chart changes to the town center master plan. The aim of the developers is to bring a home improvement retailer to Prince Frederick.

So far, the developer’s plan and request has received a tepid response from entities reviewing the application and from the general public. The latter group has mostly been discussing the plan on social media. The Department of Planning and Zoning is recommending a public hearing on the proposal.

The developer is asking for the Prince Frederick Zoning Ordinance to be amended so that large-scale, commercial retail activity is allowed in the New Town District. The district includes the site of the old Calvert Middle School (CMS). That building is scheduled for demolition in the next few weeks. There are two existing schools in the New Town District—the new CMS and Calvert High School.

According to a Department of Planning and Zoning staff report, under the current zoning ordinance home improvement centers and retail commercial buildings up to 75,000 square feet “are permitted in the Entry and Village districts of Prince Frederick, but not in the New Town District.

The applicant’s request is to allow commercial retail uses in the New Town District and that, with conditions, a home improvement center with a maximum size limit of 125,000 square feet. An added condition requested is that the center be located at least 1,000 feet from the Route 2/4 right-of-way.

“Within the New Town District there are two main roads that are planned but not fully constructed—Fox Run Boulevard and Chesapeake Boulevard,” the staff report stated. “The roads are part of the Prince Frederick Loop Road and bisect the New Town District.”

A memo from the county’s Department of Public Works stated that once those road projects are completed the roads would be able to support the traffic generated by large scale retail. The staff report also indicates that Department of Public Works staff and the Calvert Board of Education school construction staff agree that the developer would be required to conduct a traffic study and impact analysis of the area.

Some members of the Planning Commission appeared to favor that idea. “Traffic for me is one of the major components,” said Planning Commission Chairman Maurice Lusby. “Nothing will ruin the quality of life more than sitting in traffic for an hour.” Lusby indicated a large retail store located in the New Town District would have a “major effect” on the already busy Route 2/4 –Dares Beach Road intersection.

“The developer has to decide what needs to be done and then do it,” said Planning Commission Attorney John Yacovelle.

“I think a traffic study is premature,” said Davis, after the Planning Commission voted unanimously to conduct another work session on Bargo’s request during the February 15 meeting. Davis and his client all concurred until a site plan is presented there is no need for such a study.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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