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1974 Pleasant Peninsula Plan: “Control Our Own Destiny”1983 Comprehensive Plan: “Maintain the Rural Character” and “Promote a Strong Economy” 1997 Comprehensive Plan: “Establish 10 Visions”2004 Comprehensive Plan: “Stay the Course”2010 Plan Amendments: “Address State Laws”
Jenny Plummer-Welker, AICP, Long-Range PlannerCalvert County Department of Community Planning & Building150 Main Street, Suite 300; Prince Frederick, MD 20678410-535-1600, ext. 2333 or 301-855-1243, ext. 2333Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Zoning Ordinance Questions:
Mary Beth Cook, Deputy DirectorCalvert County Department of Community Planning & Building150 Main Street, Suite 300; Prince Frederick, MD 20678410-535-1600, ext. 2334 or 301-855-1243, ext. 2334Email: email@example.com
The current Comprehensive Plan update draft aims to better define town center boundaries by considering existing land use patterns, the size of the core community, the roadway network, utility extension policies, preservation priorities and environmental constraints.
New boundaries would simply include areas that naturally enhance the town centers; that is, the boundary now follows the natural parcel boundary lines. Redefining these boundaries will make future development in these locations more predictable and better identified with the associated town center. Using this method, the town centers of Solomons, Huntingtown, Lusby, Owings, Prince Frederick and St. Leonard would expand. Dunkirk Town Center is not expanding.
While the plan draft recommends expansions of some town centers, it does not automatically expand the boundaries. That can only be done through zoning amendments which involves a full public process.
The Prince Frederick Town Center is proposed to expand in two phases. The first phase, as outlined in the draft Comprehensive plan, would incorporate the areas currently zoned Employment Center, which has no assigned density and shares a border with the current town center and the area to the southeast zoned Residential. This would expand Prince Frederick Town Center by approximately 23 percent.
The proposed second phase would occur only after a future Comprehensive Plan update, Transportation Plan update, Zoning Ordinance update, and the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan update is completed. To include this phase would require formal action by the Board of County Commissioners following completion of the state-mandated Comprehensive Plan update process.
Traffic studies completed by the state of Maryland are used in the comprehensive plan process, including a Prince Frederick area study conducted in 2011 and updated in 2013. The Board of County Commissioners also directed staff to update the county’s existing transportation plan that dates to 1997. An updated transportation plan will be done before the updated zoning regulations, which will dictate future density, are adopted. The transportation plan will cover near and long-term transportation statistics and goals countywide. By contrast, traffic studies are generally limited to smaller scales – a single intersection or a town center. The updated transportation plan will be used to determine if individual traffic studies are necessary during the future updating of all seven town center master plans.
Updating the county transportation plan prior to conducting new traffic studies follows the same logic of updating the comprehensive plan (countywide goals and vision) prior to developing zoning ordinances (specific implementation actions).
On the other hand, minor town centers contain a mix of uses, with concentrations of commercial, retail and civic and/or community uses. Minor town centers have more local-serving commercial uses when compared to major town centers. The county’s minor town centers are Huntingtown, Owings and St. Leonard.
Before lifting the moratorium, a detailed audit of the TDRs already existing had to occur. This type of audit had not been conducted in the 40-year history of the program. An electronic auditing program is nearing completion, which will be used when developing recommendations to reopen the Agricultural Preservation District program for future preservation. Meanwhile, other land preservation practices have been added over the years and remain in place.
Last year, over $1 million dollars in the county Purchase and Retirement (PAR) Fund went unused by property owners for the sale of associated Transferrable Development Rights (TDRs). This year, there is approximately $3.2 million set aside in the PAR fund. These funds directly impact preservation.
The BOCC also removed some restrictions to make it easier for the holders of TDRs to sell their holdings. Property owners holding TDRs are no longer restricted to 10 TDRs per annual transaction.
-- 9 changes between 1990-2000 (2/15/94; 6/13/95; 3/12/96; 3/19/96; 4/2/96; 12/23/97; 1/20/98; 12/8/98; 4/20/99)-- 8 changes between 2000-2010 (7/3/01; 5/29/01; 10/28/03; 12/2/03; 5/18/04; 8/10/04; 5/1/06; 3/25/08)-- 5 changes between 2011-present (5/4/12; 8/5/15; 11/30/15; 4/15/16; 7/29/16)
-- “…scale TDRs to match the type of development and require perhaps one TDR for an apartment, two for a condo, three for a duplex and five for single family residences.”-- The Prince Frederick Town Center charrette report made several key recommendations, one of which was to reform the TDR program
Based on growing concerns about the TDR program, in 2015 the Department of Planning & Zoning held several joint meetings with the agricultural and development community to discuss TDRs. To make certain that all there was even representation from both the development and agricultural community, four representatives were chose from each of the communities that included: Susie Hance-Wells, Wilson Freeland, Hagner Mister and Steve Oberg (agriculture); and Randy Barrett, Rick Bailey, Rodney Gertz and Anthony Williams (development). The group’s recommendations were presented to the Board of County Commissioners in May 2015; the new regulations were adopted and became effective in November of 2015. The group’s recommendations followed the process for zoning ordinance text amendments, including agency review, public hearing, recommendation by the Planning Commission and adoption by the BOCC.
The changes were also made in order to jumpstart the sale of TDRs within the Prince Frederick Town Center, text amendments were enacted. The County’s TDR program is designed to protect and preserve the rural character of the county by directing growth in the county’s Town Centers. Text amendments were necessary for Prince Frederick to reverse the trend of residential development occurring outside of the Town Center and to encourage residential growth in the Town Center, where previously it had been minimal.