LEONARDTOWN, Md. The St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners hosted a public forum on Jan. 11, where they addressed the public complaints on the parking restrictions in the Southwood Estates and the pending YMCA.

The forum started with one citizen sending in an email that gave high praises to the commissioners. They praised the fact that St. Mary’s County has stayed the same throughout the years, and this sets them apart from northern counties.

“I want to express my gratitude for all the hard work you [the commissioners] have done for our county this year. I know up here in the northern end it is relatively quiet compared to other parts of the county, and we prefer it that way,” Dale Antosh said in the email. “We have less development because of the decisions being made by all of you. It is much appreciated by the northern communities.”

Then, the forum took a turn where many of the citizens communicated they were against the no parking signs near the Southwood Estates. They also believe that most of the homeowners in the area liked the parking situation.

It was one disingenuous Homeowner’s Association (HOA) member that supposedly created a fake survey for the commissioners.

After getting the commissioners to enforce this, the homeowner eventually left the community for everyone to live with the changes they provoked. The reason citizens are against the “no” parking signs is that it restricts the residents from having any visitors or family members come to the area due to a lack of space.

On the topic, Brian Kilgore arguably said it best.

“I and my fellow neighbors do not want these signs as they prevent residents from having guests, clients, or service vehicles visit their homes to name a few restrictions,” Kilgore said. “We have no community center, no parking garages or other means to parking. So, residents have resorted to parking in their yard or using driveways in a manner that blocks the sidewalks for pedestrians.”

Additionally, citizens said that these signs are messing with the camaraderie of the community. They mentioned the pandemic has split people up enough, and there’s no reason to make matters worse.

One citizen went out of their way to mention how the YMCA is a great idea. However, they noted that the pool may have to be evaluated.

This citizen lived in St. Mary’s County 20 years ago, and she argued that with time and perspective, having only one pool fulfills everyone’s swimming needs. The citizen mentioned they need two pools: one with warm water and one with cold water. This allows for swim teams to use a pool and people that need a pool for therapy can use another pool.

Some of the other complaints include an increase in the budget toward public safety and multiple suggestions for YMCAs.

Overall, residents complaining about the no parking signs dominated the forum. There were few to oppose the idea, and those that did said the community needs a different solution other than street parking. But, they never said finding parking in the community is easy for guests.

Residents hope more data on the general opinions of the matter comes in quickly so that the commissioners can make an educated decision moving forward.

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