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The Great Recession’s toll on business development gave approved projects in Maryland a longer shelf life, as mandated by the state legislature, but that grace period ends this month. That has brought a handful of concept plans back before Leonardtown’s planners for a renewed blessing.

The Southern Maryland region’s electric utility and the developer of a former tavern’s property along Route 5 were the latest to reappear last week before the members of the town’s planning and zoning commission, the panel that OK’d the concepts back in 2008. The Maryland General Assembly’s action in 2009 effectively doubled the original approvals’ two-year life span.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s plans along Hollywood Road include giving its building a facade that is “more along the lines of neo-colonial,” SMECO manager Thomas Russell said at last week’s meeting, and the utility also has plans for additional improvements along the property, including extending sidewalks to a new adjacent housing area.

John Candela, a member of the commission, noted that back in 2008 he had sought “a design compromise to make the building look less sparse,” and he joined other board members voting to reapprove the concept plan.

Russell said construction should commence next year, and that the building will be fully equipped with fire-deterring water sprinklers.

The commission members also gave new approval to Wayne Davis’ plans to build the McIntosh Run Shopping Center, with shops and other improvements at the former Pennie’s Bar location. The board’s vote renewed a concept plan that originally dated back to 2005, and received its first extension in 2008.

In a separate matter, the commission members gave final site plan approval for the Cedar Point Federal Credit Union project at Merchants Lane, in the area of Leonardtown Centre and the Shops at Breton Bay. The final site plan includes a pedestrian connection to the two shopping areas.

In addition, the board approved changes by AT&T and Crown Castle to a county-owned communications tower on Baldridge Street, including new antennas on the tower and new equipment in a shelter structure.

jwharton@somdnews.com