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Five years, 10 meetings and countless hours of discussion later, the St. Leonard Town Center Master Plan update that began in January 2008 is nearing an end.

On Wednesday night, the Calvert County Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan and will be sending its resolution of approval to the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners for final adoption.

“I must commend you for sticking with this project and being patient with us, and I pray that the rest of them coming up will not be as laborious as this one,” said Planning Commissioner Malcom Funn, whose point was reiterated by the other planning commissioners.

The St. Leonard Town Center, which encompasses about 335 acres, was originally adopted in 1995. In 2007, the BOCC and planning commission approved a process for updating all seven of the county’s town centers to reflect the same formatting as the Calvert County Comprehensive Plan and the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance.

The land use within the town center is set to change, if the January 2013 approved draft is adopted. Currently, the town center has two land use districts: the village district and the residential district. The village district is divided into sub-area A and sub-area B, which is to be replaced in the new plan with the core district and the mixed use district.

The core district encompasses an area of about 0.25 miles from the St. Leonard roundabout at the intersection of Route 765 and Calvert Beach Road, as well as most of the land that is in village district sub-area B. This new land use, according to the plan, “is to allow for a wide variety of uses within a traditional and attractive village setting.” This area includes commercial, institutional and residential uses. The core district is to serve as “a strong centralized core” for business purposes and “a strong central focal point” for the community.

The mixed use district includes the northern end of the town center and encompasses the residences north of Mattapany Road. According to the plan, this land use “is an area of mostly residences that transitions into the denser Core District.” The area includes some existing and approved commercial uses, according to the plan. “The purpose of this district is to allow a variety of uses that are compatible with residential use within an attractive setting,” the plan states.

The residential district would retain its name and current land, but would be expanded north to include residences served by Carlyle Court. This district includes a combination of family farms and single family homes, according to the plan.

The final draft includes a second access road to and from Calvert Beach and Long Beach. The master plan includes two options: one road will connect Long Beach Road to Route 765 about a mile south of the town center; and the second will connect Calvert Beach Road to Route 765 by a parallel road to Route 765 east of the power lines. The master plan notes that during the creation of the second access route, bikeways and sidewalks should be considered in the design, but states that the implementation “should not hinge on the inclusion” of bikeways, sidewalks or shared use paths.

The plan also calls for sidewalks within the town center, including sidewalks along both sides of Route 765 and Calvert Beach Road. The sidewalk is proposed to extend to St. Leonard Elementary School on Route 765.

In addition, exploring the feasibility of providing an upgraded water system is still in the plan, as is the call to provide public sewerage service and water service to St. Leonard.

Other markups to the St. Leonard draft plan include editorial changes, such as deleting PJM’s Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway Project since it was canceled. MAPP, a Pepco and Delmarva Power project, was deemed necessary by PJM Interconnection to relieve higher prices associated with transmission line congestion and for improving reliability. There were two proposed converter stations for Port Republic.

The St. Leonard Town Center Master Plan zoning ordinances are halfway completed, said Jenny Plummer-Welker, county principal planner with the Department of Community Planning and Building, adding that much of the reorganizing of the ordinances has been completed. She said, “Assuming the commissioners adopt it, once the commissioners adopt the St. Leonard plan, we will then proceed with the zoning ordinance.

“… It’s a matter of going and looking at what was proposed in the zoning ordinance and now looking at what I’m going to assume is going to be adopted, and modify.” Plummer-Welker said she and other staff will be working on the zoning ordinances “right away.”

aharrison@somdnews.com