- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A large commercial development project in California is lumbering its way toward final site plan approval, as the St. Mary’s County Planning Commission heard Monday an update on the Oak Crest planned unit development.
The project sits across Route 235 from the Wildewood neighborhood, shopping center and technology park. Oak Crest has concept site plan approval for 902,820 square feet of retail and office space on 140 acres, including a “building materials-type store,” said Chris Longmore, attorney for Cecil’s Mill, a Baltimore company that owns the land behind Chaney Enterprises.
Oak Crest is about halfway through its final site plan approvals, Longmore said, which may be complete as soon as this September.
Timber has already been removed from the property, and neighbors said they had concerns with the removal of vegetation along their property lines. The Stevens family along By the Mill Road said they’d like to see some type of buffer installed along their property lines.
“The clear-cutting seemed so drastic,” said Kevin Stevens. “I’m a little concerned with the actual grading activity.”
Mike Hewitt, a former candidate for county commissioner, has property around Mill Pond to the rear of Oak Crest. He said the load of sediment into the pond has increased since Oak Crest was timbered. “The mud is getting deeper and deeper,” he said. It used to be 6 to 8 inches deep, but is now up to the knees, he said.
The timbering was legal and a grading permit has been issued, Longmore said.
Oak Crest will be responsible for upgrades to Route 235 as the project proceeds. A third lane for turning into the project from northbound Route 235 will be built, Longmore said. Another left-turn lane will be added at the intersection of Route 235 and Wildewood Boulevard from the southbound direction.
Oak Crest will pay $960,000 in traffic mitigation fees as building permits are issued along the way, Longmore said.
The developing agent, St. John Properties, will build a new road into the development called Oak Crest Drive. It will have five lanes at its entrance to Route 235, but will share access with the dump truck traffic from Chaney Enterprises.
“That’s a lot of upkeep for industrial traffic and a lot of mingling with passenger cars,” said Shelby Guazzo, planning commission member.
Oak Crest got its approval as a planned-unit development in 1990 and operates under its own agreed-upon rules with the county. However, it is complying with the latest stormwater management regulations.
Guazzo noted the planning commission asked the county commissioner to take another look at Oak Crest to make any suggestions.
“We had the opportunity” to bolster the rules in the planned unit development, “but we lost it,” Guazzo said.
Oak Crest will come back to planning commission for another update in January 2013.