Master Plan Update for St. Leonard Draws a Crowd

August 4, 2012

The Calvert Board of County Commissioners, along with the Planning Commission, held a public hearing Tuesday at the St. Leonard Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. The meeting was well attended by those who live in St. Leonard as well as the neighboring communities.

Jerry Clark, President of the BOCC, opened the meeting and then turned it over to Maurice Lusby, Chairman of the Planning Commission. Chairman Lusby introduced the members of the Planning Commission and introduced Jenny Plummer-Welker, AICP Principal Planner. She did a slide presentation, along with maps to show what was recommended by staff. One of the proposals in the 3rd draft was to expand the Town Center boundary (originally established in 1984) to include the St. Leonard Elementary School property that was purchased in 1994. This draft also modified the northern boundary that was originally based upon a tree line that has since changed. It also proposed splitting the current Village District into two districts: Mixed Used District and Core District and creating boundaries for both.

The 3rd draft also deleted discussions from the survey on densities and build-outs, reduces the number of potential additional dwellings from 860 (which assumes sewer service) to 340 (4 dwellings per acre on septic). Four dwellings per acre is the density allowed by the County Zoning Ordinance for Residential Districts within one mile of the Town Center. It deleted the exploration of a feasibility study of providing public sewerage. But it did retain an action to explore sewerage alternatives that will provide sewerage services while maintaining the small town size. It added a policy to not designate Agricultural Preservation Districts within the Town Center and requires sidewalks and street trees for new development and redevelopment. It also deleted a previous proposal from May 2010 to increase height to three stories plus a habitable roof.

Under the Transportation portion of the draft, it deleted the connection of the north and south segments of Calvert Drive, and updated the transit section based on the current county bus routes. The draft also included proposed sidewalks and bikeways. It also revises the estimated number of dwellings in the Town Center from 2008 to the actual number from the 2010 census.

A number of residents spoke on the 3rd draft. Some of the concerns were the public comments were not taken into consideration from the previous drafts, concerns from the last two drafts were ignored, and a proposal to connect Calvert Beach Road with a road running parallel to Maryland 765 east of the power lines and connect to either Woods Road or Toms Lane. As one speaker pointed out, Toms Lane and Woods Road are very narrow with homes and children and was not a good idea to have through traffic there.

One speaker reminded the Planning Commission that it needed to be careful especially when it comes to commercial businesses as he didn’t want to see it become another Prince Georges County. He said that is why he moved to Calvert. Another speaker expressed concern over a second access road out of Calvert Beach in case of emergencies. After hearing all the speakers, Chairman Lusby said that the record will be kept open for 30 days to receive additional comments. County Commissioner Steve Weems stated that as a resident and business owner in St. Leonard, he will recuse himself from the vote. If anyone wishes to provide comments on the plan send to the Planning Commission Chairman Maurice Lusby, e-mail or mail or hand deliver to Calvert County Planning Commission, 150 Main St, Suite 304, Prince Frederick, Md. 20678 or fax to: 410-414-3092.
Margit Miller/Staff Writer/Editor

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