Prince Frederick, MD – At the end of the month, the Calvert County Commissioners are set to hold another public hearing on their proposed updates to the Calvert County Comprehensive Plan. The hearing will take place Tuesday, July 23 at the Calvert Pines Senior Center, addressing additions made by the board.
A recent Washington Post Letter to the Editor from two Prince Frederick residents echoed a common sentiment shared by the county’s citizens that Calvert is “set to be overrun by development.” Michael and Wanda King, the letter’s writers, took issue with changes the board made during their most recent work session, proposing the removal of major and minor town center distinctions and the expansion of Huntingtown.
During the meeting at the end of June, the commissioners voted 3-2 to remove the town designation. Commissioners Steve Weems [R- At Large] and Earl “Buddy” Hance [R- At Large] both voted in opposition of the measure, citing the planning commission’s recommendation to keep the distinction and concerns over town growth.
The meeting also moved forward two proposed expansion options for Huntingtown, Option A that expands the Town Center designation across Maryland Route 4 and incorporates the Huntingtown High School property, and Option B that adds in several areas south of the high school, around the Cox Road intersection.
The Kings’ letter to the editor additionally took issue with Commissioner Vice President Kelly McConkey [R- District 3]’s ownership of two properties that lie within one of the proposed zone expansions. McConkey abstained from the vote during this conflict of interest but did not specify why. The four commissioners who did vote split, forcing both options to be presented at the public hearing.
Many in the community have speculated that the commissioner would benefit from the expansion, a claim he states there is “no evidence” for. In a comment to TheBayNet, the Commissioner Vice President stated that his understanding from communicating with the county attorney is that “the property value will not increase from the incorporation.”
The expansion in question was originally proposed in 2017, before McConkey was commissioner but was tabled when members of the Planning Commission were unavailable, prompting an emergency meeting and eventually the 2018 proposed plan, according to McConkey.
The county’s comprehensive plan is designed to guide the commissioners, planning commission, and county departments over the next two decades. The document specifies that Calvert County has “long held the values of preserving the rural landscape and creating vibrant Town Centers” The vision of Calvert preserving its “rural character” as it transitions from a farming dominated county to one that is more commuter-based. Part of doing so is by “direct[ing] development to the Town Centers.”
The full comprehensive plan that will be discussed July 23 can be found here.
Links to other comprehensive plan documents and the public comment link can be found here. The public comment period for the meeting must be submitted before 4:30 p.m. July 22.
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