- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Twenty people commented on the draft update of the Lexington Park Development District Plan on Monday evening. Some asked that their property not be downzoned, while several members of the Sanner’s Lake Sportsman’s Club asked that a road not be built through the property.
Members of the St. Mary’s County Planning Commission, who hosted the public hearing before the plan goes to the county commissioners, noted that property owners were not individually notified of possible zoning changes.
The St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management did mail out more 3,000 notices of the Lexington Park Development District Plan public hearing to addresses within its boundaries. The plan is to guide development within some 17,000 acres in Lexington Park, California and Great Mills. About 3,000 acres are proposed to come out of the development district, an area of intended growth.
The draft development plan contains several proposed neighborhood road connections, including an extension of Sanner’s Lane to connect Great Mills Road to Willows Road.
Dave Taylor of Mechanicsville said the sportsman’s club has about 1,000 members. The club, established in 1951, has shooting ranges for shotguns, rifles, pistols and an archery range.
The proposed road connection would go right through a gun range, he said.
James Spencer of Lexington Park, a member of the board of directors for Sanner’s Lake, said “riff raff have an escape route” with some of the neighborhood connections.
Phil Shire, director of the department of land use and growth management, said Wednesday, “Nobody intends to shut down Sanner’s Lake club. We are not bent on extending that road by any means.” The planning commission can easily remove that proposed connection, he said.
Former county commissioner Daniel H. Raley spoke out in opposition of his family property in southern Great Mills being removed from the Lexington Park Development District.
He said the land has been in the district “since at least 1988.” With all of the development pressure on St. Mary’s County, he said land is needed for growth. Removing the 560 acres along northern Route 5 between Great Mills Road and Willows Road, he said is “ill-conceived, not needed and without justification.” His property is not remote from Lexington Park, he said, as it takes five minutes to get to the library there.
“Nothing I’ve heard justifies taking away my development rights,” he said.
His wife, Ann, said, “We have seven neighbors who had no clue what was going on.”
Michael Hewitt of Hollywood asked that his family property, 76 acres in California, not be removed from the development district because it has a central sewer line running through it and the land lies between The Woods at Myrtle Point neighborhood and the Lexington Exchange/Oak Crest commercial development across from the Wildewood shopping center.
The developer of The Woods at Myrtle Point also asked to stay in the development district.
Merl Evans, member of the planning commission, asked Hewitt how he found out the property was proposed to be downzoned. Hewitt said he realized his property was in an area to be removed in a prior article in The Enterprise, but did not receive a personal notification.
The planning commission asked how many in the audience were in attendance because their property could be downzoned, and most raised their hands.
Asked how many were individually notified, only a couple raised their hands.
Shire said Wednesday the department mailed out 3,100 notices based on postal delivery routes about the Lexington Park Development District process and the list of properties that were proposed to be removed is about 1,500.