St. Mary’s commissioners reject park-and-ride lot in New Market -- Gazette.Net


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All five county commissioners agreed Tuesday to send a letter to the state, saying thanks but no thanks to a commuter parking lot on Route 6 near the roadway’s intersection with Route 5.

Residents of New Market and Charlotte Hall recently came out in opposition to a state park-and-ride facility planned for that location.

“After careful consideration of both the need for public transportation facilities and comments by the citizens of St. Mary’s County, we have determined that the current proposal may not be the best alternative,” the Dec. 11 letter from the commissioners to the Maryland Transit Administration said.

“Therefore, the Board of County Commissioners requests that the planning process for this particular project no longer be pursued while alternative sites and solution are evaluated.”

The MTA was planning a parking lot with 500 spaces for commuters heading to work at points north on land behind the Charlotte Hall trash and recycling convenience center owned by county government. Another 500-space, park-and-ride lot is being built off Golden Beach Road in Charlotte Hall now.

At the New Market location, the St. Mary’s County Planning Commission turned the state project down five years ago.

But it came back for presentation this year without going through that channel.

“It hasn’t exactly been transparent on how it wants to do things particularly with the public,” Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) said of MTA.

“I couldn’t agree more completely with what Commissioner Morgan just said,” Commissioner Dan Morris (R) said.

Commissioner Cindy Jones (R) said it was “a learning experience for me, at least, about the MTA process.”

A community open house was held on the project on Nov. 28, where neighbors raised objections and alternatives. Then citizens spoke out against the project at the commissioners’ public forum last week.

Charlotte Hall developer John K. Parlett suggested an alternative location for the commuter lot at a field off Route 5 farther south in Mechanicsville. He does not own the property, but said it would cost the state less to buy some land there for the lot instead of widening Route 6 in New Market.

Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R) suggested another site in Hughesville, at Foster Lane and Route 231 that could make for a better commuter lot.

Morris said he’s suggested to the state building smaller-sized parking lots. “I’ve never ever been in favor of these mega-park and rides,” he said.

jbabcock@somdnews.com