A property owner who has been unable to find a tenant may result in offices being allowed in residential and neighborhood districts in the Huntingtown Town Center.

Following a discussion on Jan. 14, the Calvert County commissioners directed the planning commission to hold a public hearing on the matter.

Mary Beth Cook, the Planning and Zoning Department’s new director, said such a change would take at least a year to implement.

According to a staff report, James W. Graner Jr. has been unable to rent his building at 4190 Hunting Creek Road. The building is between a daycare center and an office, Cook said during the planning commission’s Wednesday meeting.

“Though many smaller home daycare businesses have tried, they were not able to maximize the capacity that this building allows,” Graner said in his request for a zoning ordinance amendment. “The restrictions have not allowed us to approve many requests we have had to rent the building.”

Permitting the building to be used for office space would give the owner additional options for using the space.

Judy Mackall, acting deputy director of zoning, said that offices and clinics are only currently allowed in the mixed-use district in Huntingtown Town Center.

Commissioners’ President Kelly D. McConkey (R) noted the building has been vacant for years.

In response to a question from Commissioner Earl F. “Buddy” Hance (R), Cook said that a lot of town center districts in the county permit office uses.

She noted that having the planning commission hold a public hearing would start the process of approving the change.

In responding to another question from Hance, Cook noted that the county can’t change the allowable use for only one property.

“There needs to be an exigent circumstance,” Commissioner Thomas E. “Tim” Hutchins (R) said. “Hopefully, we don’t see a floodgate of this type of thing.”

Hutchins made a motion for the planning commission to hold a public hearing on the matter, which was seconded by Commissioner Mike Hart (R).

It passed 4-0 with McConkey abstaining. He did not state a reason for the abstention.

During the Jan. 15 Planning Commission meeting, the board voted to seek county agency comments on the proposal.

Commissioner Trent Wolfersberger mentioned the possibility of approving a special exception for the building instead of allowing office uses in residential and neighborhood districts.

“There are some potential office uses that wouldn’t fit well in a town center,” he said.

Twitter: @CalRecCALEB