The county commissioners on Tuesday over a split vote approved an amendment to the St. Mary’s County Comprehensive Water and Sewage Plan for the Hollywood Square project, in anticipation of providing community sewerage service to the proposed commercial development.
The owners of Bruster’s, through Fountain Group LLC, are seeking to build a 3,825-square-foot retail building directly adjacent to their current business on Mervell Dean Road near Clarke’s Landing Road, dubbed Hollywood Square, to include a fast-food restaurant, carryout food and a coffee shop with a drive through.
The development, reviewed by technical evaluation committee agencies in February, received support for the connection to public sewer service from the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission and the health department, according to documents provided at the meeting.
The St. Mary’s County Planning Commission approved a concept site plan for the proposed Hollywood Square in June, opening the door for development of the three food service businesses near Bruster’s, under the condition the developer builds a pedestrian crosswalk from the building leading to the ice cream shop.
In November, Hollywood Square was approved by the county’s board of appeals on the condition that appropriate buffers are installed.
When the county commissioners held a public hearing regarding the proposed amendment in August, no one spoke or submitted written comments.
The planning commission recommended to county commissioners this week that the county water and sewer plan’s service area around the property be amended to change sewer service from S-6D, or service in six to 10 years and developer financed, to S-3D, service in three to five years and developer financed.
Bill Hunt, director of the county’s department of land and use management, told commissioners the concept plan has been revised to reduce square footage of the buildings. Buffer changes were also made.
“How much stuff can we squeeze into a tiny box?” Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) asked, adding that “it seems that we are trying to fit as much as we can” by redesignating the buffers in the area.
Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R) asked if it is unusual to do buffer reductions on commercial properties, with Hunt responding that it is very common, although this situation is unusual because of the small amount of space on the property.
“Do we still have sidewalks?” Hewitt asked.
Hunt told commissioners that there are some in the plan that somewhat connect the property to Bruster’s, but it has more room for parking.
“So there is no sidewalk on Mervell Dean Road?” Hewitt inquired.
Hunt said he is not sure but that he could look into it.
Morgan mentioned the busyness of Bruster’s parking lot on a busy summer night, commenting on the abundance of people who park on the side of the street, crowding the road.
“Is there an entrance for vehicles onto Mervell Dean Road?” Commissioner Eric Colvin (R) asked, with Hunt confirming that there is.
Three commissioners voted in favor of the change, with Morgan voting against and Commissioner John O’ Connor (R) not present to vote.