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The Huntingtown Town Center could see more intense development along the southbound side of Route 2/4 between the highway’s intersections with Old Town Road.

On Dec. 11, the Calvert County Planning Commission unanimously approved to send four Huntingtown Town Center Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance text amendment options regarding the town’s wooded buffer along Route 2/4 to a joint public hearing with the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners. Commission member Bill Glascock was not present for the meeting.

State law dictates that the state be notified 60 days prior to a public hearing for changes to a town center plan, dating the joint hearing to at least late February.

The amendment to the Huntingtown Town Center Master Plan, which was proposed by attorney Mark Davis on behalf of Oldtown Automobile and Truck Sales Inc., would modify the extent and location of the wooded buffer along the town center’s eastern boundary along Route 2/4.

The existing ordinance provides for a 100-foot wooded buffer setback along the town center’s frontage on Route 2/4 from the northern intersection with Old Town Road to approximately 540 feet north of the southern intersection of Old Town Road with Route 2/4 — a 7,132-square-foot piece of property the county approved to convey to the Maryland State Highway Administration earlier this year.

The proposed amendment would reduce the linear distance of the buffer along Route 2/4 by about 160 feet.

The first option for officials to consider would be to make no changes to the wooded buffer. In the second option, the wooded buffer would begin 700 feet north of the southern intersection of Old Town Road with Route 2/4. This option, according to staff, would allow for more intense use of the Oldtown Automobile and Truck Sales Inc. property.

During staff’s presentation to the county commissioners in August, commissioners Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R) and Evan Slaughenhoupt (R) suggested changing the entire buffer so as to be proactive about economic development in the town center.

The third option does just that. The wooded buffer would start at the southernmost extent of the 2011 forest cover, which is about 1,180 feet north of the southern intersection of Old Town Road with Route 2/4. This option, staff presented, would base the southern location of the wooded buffer on 2011 mapping of the town center’s forest cover and would provide the shortest buffer length along Route 2/4 of the three options. The third option would also allow for more intense use of properties south of the forest cover area.

During the planning commission’s review of agency comments last week, a fourth option was presented by the Huntingtown Architectural Review Committee: extending the 100-foot buffer setback along Route 2/4 from the northern intersection to its southern intersection with Old Town Road. This option calls for the planting of wooded buffer where none exists.

In the ARC’s letter to the planning commission, the ARC said it’s “concerned that the reduction of the 100 foot buffer setback along Route 2/4 would be a significant negative visual impact to the community and compromise the quality of life in Huntingtown.”

Commission member Malcolm Funn said he would like to see the ARC’s proposed option sent to the public hearing because “this is coming from Huntingtown, and that is some comment, so I think we should include that in there for discussion.”

“It would be fitting and proper,” commission member Robert Reed said.

ascott@somdnews.com