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County Prepares to Tweak Prince Frederick
Prince Frederick, MD - 6/13/2012
By Marty Madden
The hub of Calvert County will be the next challenge for government planners and citizens to consider. The ongoing process of revising Calvert’s seven town center master plans is about to include Prince Frederick. The Calvert County Commissioners gave Department of Planning and Zoning officials the nod to proceed with the process. The discussion was held during the commissioners’ Tuesday, June 12 meeting. The Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan was initially adopted in 1989. Three years later the Prince Frederick Zoning Ordinance was adopted.
Prince Frederick, the county seat, is also Calvert’s center for retail, commerce and education. The town center consists of eight “development districts—Old Town, Old Town Residential, Old Town Transition, Fairgrounds, Entry, Village, New town and Forest.
The county government started the process of updating the seven town center master plans and to date, only Solomons has been completed. The processes to update the St. Leonard, Huntingtown and Lusby plans are already underway, with the St. Leonard being the farthest along in the pipeline.
“Staff recommends that the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan be the next update to be initiated, and in conjunction with the [Calvert County] Planning Commission, consider the New Town District as a potential subject for a special area study” said Principal Planner Jenny Plummer-Welker. “There has been some commercial development within the New Town District along Route 2/4 and Armory Road. The new Calvert Middle School was constructed as was a portion of Chesapeake Boulevard. Much of the district is undeveloped. The county and state governments own several of the large parcels.”
That group of government-owned parcels includes the land where, until recently, the old Calvert Middle School stood.
“There are probably some pressing issues here in Prince Frederick,” said Department of Planning and Zoning Director Charles Johnston, in defending the department’s request to leapfrog the processes that are ongoing in Lusby and Huntingtown. Johnston sited the ongoing buzz created by the old school’s demolition and what sort of development will go in its stead as a reason to expedite the Prince Frederick Town Center modifications. “Pressing issues in Prince Frederick weigh on my mind more than any other,” he said.
Johnston told the commissioners his staff has a goal of completing the rewrite process in two years, with the possibility of hiring consultants to aid county government staff.
The suggestion to contract consultants was received tepidly by the board.
“I’m apprehensive about hiring consultants for this process,” said Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], who recalled a sour experience with consultants who were contracted for the Huntingtown Town Center Master Plan update. Clark likened that experience to “being hit over the head with a sledgehammer.”
“I’m not opposed to the use of consultants,” said Commissioner Susan Shaw [R], who added she did not want “to turn the process over to consultants.”
Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R] stated the original “vision” of what the Prince Frederick Town Center should be revisited before moving forward. “Where is it now? What resources are needed?” Slaughenhoupt stated.
Clark predicted a spirited discussion on the Prince Frederick Town Center revision. “It’s not going to be a push in one direction, but a pull from all directions” he said.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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