One might call it much ado about something.

A crowd came to St. Mary’s County commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 16 to support a YMCA in the county, but their interruptions resulted in a delay in approval of a concept site plan.

Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R) made a motion to approve such a plan for the facility, following a presentation by officials from the YMCA of the Chesapeake and its affiliated design company, Gro Development. Robbie Gill, executive director of the YMCA chapter, and Brian Rigby, director of design with Gro Development, recommended a site next to Great Mills High School that would be adjacent to an already-existing outdoor community pool.

Hewitt’s motion died for lack of a second, however.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Commissioner Eric Colvin (R) said, adding that he wanted the YMCA to consider building the 42,000-to-48,000-square-foot facility without an indoor pool due to its proximity to the existing county-owned outdoor pool.

Someone in the crowd shouted, “Come on. Do it,” followed by clapping.

Commissioner President Randy Guy (R) said Hewitt’s motion died and suggested postponing the issue.

“We’ve been waiting six years,” a woman in the crowd said.

“I’d like to see if we can continue the discussion to work out this pool,” Colvin said.

Guy noted the commissioners hadn’t delayed any funding.

During commissioners’ time at the end of the meeting, Commissioner John O’Connor (R) had some choice words for those who spoke out during the meeting. He noted that funding was already set aside in the budget for the YMCA or a community center.

“What I witnessed today is something I was hoping we wouldn’t have in our county government,” he said. “When we’re talking about $16 million of taxpayer money, it’s our responsibility as good stewards ... to ensure every single facet of this process is examined. If it doesn’t happen as fast as some would like, unfortunately that’s the process.”

“Today was mob rule,” said O’Connor, who is a law enforcement officer.

“You interrupted a sitting commissioner [Colvin] who was going to make a motion to support this project with a caveat in order to facilitate more research,” O’Connor said, noting that he planned to second such a motion.

O’Connor added that he would never vote for a YMCA in St. Mary’s County based on the behavior he witnessed. “The people in this audience are the ones that have caused this project not to move forward,” he said at the meeting after many of the people had already left the room.

“It was an emotional response to a logical solution,” he said, referring to the outbursts from the crowd. “There’s going to be a lot of legwork for me to get behind something when community members can act like that and interrupt a meeting.”

“There have been lots of contentious items before the commissioners,” he said. “This by far was the worse one when it comes to behavior and decorum.”

O’Connor thanked Guy for calling a recess to bring the meeting back to order.

“There will be compromise in this,” Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) said. “It’s a process.” He added that he wanted to see schematics that Rigby said he would bring.

During his presentation, Gill said, “This has been a fun process for me.” He noted that more detailed work on design needed to be done.

Nicolet Park, which is located in Lexington Park near Patuxent River Naval Air Station, was the other location considered. However, Gill said that site was a little tight in regard to parking.

The proposed facility would consist of two floors. In addition to an indoor pool, it would include group exercise studios, an indoor walking/jogging track, gym and classroom space.

Gill said the next step would be to go to a local cost estimator to get a price tag, if the commissioners approved.

“It’s a very hard business to be in, but if we’re not doing it, who else is going to?” Rigby said.

During discussion prior to Hewitt’s motion, Colvin suggested making an indoor pool separate from the YMCA as part of phase two.

“There’s risk involved with that,” Gill said, noting that a warm-water pool was the top thing identified in a survey.

Colvin said a pool was never part of the intent of a community youth center, which is how the discussions first started several years ago.

“I’m still a hair nervous,” Gill said. “The YMCA makes sure it’s sustainable, not you guys.”

Twitter: @CalebSoMdNews

Twitter: @CalebSoMdNews