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The 23rd traffic signal for Route 235 in St. Mary’s County got approval from the planning commission Monday night. It will be installed within the next 12 to 18 months at the highway’s intersection with St. John’s Road in Hollywood.

The developer of the Broad Creek neighborhood off St. John’s Road sought the change for the intersection to make it safer for its residents, but others in the vicinity supported the signal as well.

Randy Barrett, developing agent for owner Talon LLC, said it will be a four-way signal and not a T-intersection, though the planning commission stipulated that a letter from the Maryland State Highway Administration confirm that.

Barrett said he spoke to some at St. John’s Pharmacy, PNC Bank and the Hollywood Post Office and they provided positive comments.

There are about 85 homes now occupied in Broad Creek, which has approval for 178 homes. The homeowner’s association was already briefed, Barrett said.

Broad Creek Drive, which serves the neighborhood, will eventually connect to a pending, adjacent subdivision — Twin Ponds. When finished, the major collector road will connect St. John’s Road to Hollywood Road, Barrett said.

The Rev. Ray Schmidt of St. John Francis Regis Church said of the 1,200 families in the parish, about 313 have signed on in approval of the traffic signal at intersection. Along Route 235, “it’s like Daytona raceway on Saturday afternoons,” he said. Buses serving St. John’s School have to dangle out in the intersection’s median as well, he said.

“It’s a terrible intersection. It doesn’t matter what time of day,” said Howard Thompson, chairman of the planning commission and resident of Hollywood.

“It’s a much-needed light for the entire community,” said Merl Evans, planning commission member.

Construction should begin in the spring or summer of 2013 Barrett said, after the design and bid process with the state highway administration. Talon will pay for the signal.

Golden Corral approved

In other business, the planning commission gave approval for a Golden Corral restaurant to move in where an old McDonald’s was. The Golden Corral will move in at 22606 Three Notch Road in Lexington Park, next to Millstone Landing Road.

The old building will be torn down for a new one, twice the size, and will have 400 seats, the planners were told.

“Is there a market for another steakhouse in St. Mary’s County?” said Susan McNeill, planning commission member.

Evans said, “That’s an economic development question” and not a planning question.

jbabcock@somdnews.com