Prince Frederick, MD – In almost a week, the Calvert County Commissioners will receive public comment on their proposed Calvert County Comprehensive Plan. The Calvert Pines Senior Center will host the first hearing on the revisions to the document at 5 p.m. on July 23.
Initially adopted in 2005, the 2019 revisions will be the document’s third, but the July 2019 Draft has been met by starch criticism from the community, writing various Letters to the Editor that have been featured in publications as broadly circulated as the Washington Post.
A group aptly named “Keep Calvert Country” (KCC) started a petition to be sent to each commissioner, touching on the same concerns as the rest of the public on the expansion of towns, their centers, removal of major and minor town center designations, and a lack of environmental protections, proposed by the current board.
During their last meeting/work session in June, the commissioners split their vote on plans to expand Huntingtown, after Commissioner Vice President Kelly McConkey [R-District 3] abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest. The resulting vote has led to two options for Huntingtown that will be presented at the hearing. The commissioners also voted 3-2 to remove the major and minor town designations.
With strong beliefs in Calvert’s “rural character,” KCC’s website outlines their chief beliefs in “open government by the people and for the people.” They believe in “responsible growth” and do not believe that the current commissioners share the same values, priorities, or vision.
In line with the Letter to the Editor published in The Post recently, the group sees a conflict of interest between Huntingtown’s expansion and Commissioner McConkey’s business. In a recent blog post to the website, the group stated that “Huntingtown is to be expanded across Rt. 4 so that Commissioner McConkey’s property can be upzoned to town center commercial.”
In a comment to TheBayNet, the Commissioner Vice President stated that there is “no evidence” that he would gain from the expansion. He maintained that his understanding, after communicating with the county attorney is that “the property value will not increase from the incorporation.” The commissioner also pointed out that the expansion in question was originally proposed in 2017 and tabled in 2018, all before he was on the board.
According to their website, the saying “Keep Calvert Country” was originated by former Maryland House member and local attorney Thomas L. Rymer. Their mission statement reads that the group strives to use their “collective knowledge to help educate county citizens on current issues and threats” to residents’ “quality of life.” The self-described “non-partisan” group seeks to promote “responsible growth,” in order to avoid the county from expanding past its infrastructure.
Residents will be able to voice their opinions 5 p.m., July 23 at the Calvert Pines Senior Center. The public comment period for the meeting is through Monday, July 22, at 4:30 p.m.
Links to other comprehensive plan documents and the public comment link can be found here.
Keep Calvert Country’s petition can be found here.
Contact Jerold at firstname.lastname@example.org.