Prince Frederick, MD – As the effort to revise the Calvert County Master Plan continues the panel charged with crafting the update conducted their latest work session on the topic. The Calvert County Planning Commission met Wednesday evening, Jan. 10 at Courthouse Square in Prince Frederick. Consultant Jackie Seneschal of WSP USA led the 90 minute work session on the document, which has received considerable public input.
“We are excited to have so many comments,” said Department of Planning and Zoning Director Mark Willis. “We don’t stop taking comments.”
Some of the recent comments are pleas from transplanted residents who fell in love with a rural locale and would hate to lose it. “Your actions will be judged by those who live and work and play among you,” stated Jenna Licurgo of Huntingtown, who explained she was someone who fled a community with sprawling development. “Outside developers couldn’t care less about our quality of life, our safety, our well-being, or our desire to retain the character of our rural landscape. They simply have no skin in the game – they don’t live here. They don’t raise their kids here or send them to school here. Their one and only goal is to turn a profit, not to benefit the locals or protect our interests. I urge you each to carefully, prayerfully consider what is before you. Do we really want to be just another suburb of Washington, D.C.? My family and I moved here to escape the encroaching city. Will we be forced to flee again as the city pursues us once more?”
In response to the clamor from concerned citizens that the mandated 60-day comment period was not long enough, the six planning commission members in attendance gave approval to have the period expanded to 90 days. Long range planner Jenny Plummer-Welker pointed out that would mean a public hearing on the next draft would not occur until July. Originally, the second draft of the revised Comprehensive Plan was expected to be ready for review in April.
The planning commission tackled the controversial issue of expanding the town center boundaries of Huntingtown. On a split vote they decided Huntingtown High School would be the only area of annexation. The purpose of including the high school within the town center would be to make the school eligible for state funding since it would then be located in a Priority Funding Area.
Senseschal stated that in order for the county to create a “synergy for economic growth,” commercial growth needed to be directed to the town centers. Prince Frederick’s town center would have its boundaries expanded, per a recommendation from a consultant contracted over five years ago when study of a revised town center master plan began. It was Senseschal’s opinion that expanding the Prince Frederick Town Center to include the local campus of the College of Southern Maryland and the county detention center would not facilitate additional residential growth. The consultant did state that with predictions of heavier traffic and more vehicles on the road—projections show each Calvert County household could have an average of three vehicles by 2032—county officials should consider a “transportation study” for the Prince Frederick Town Center. “Transportation planning is more than what SHA [State Highway Administration] is going to do for you,” said Senseschal.
Planning Commission Chair Carolyn McHugh noted that the panel was not in charge of money for studying or planning a transportation network. Planning Commission members did indicate that a possible transportation study will be a topic of discussion at an upcoming meeting in early February with the Calvert County Commissioners. Willis estimated that a transportation study would cost at least $100,000.
The upcoming work session between the Calvert County Commissioners and Calvert County Planning Commission will take place Tuesday, Feb. 6 beginning at 12:15 p.m. at the Harriet Brown Community Center on Dares Beach Road in Prince Frederick.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org