Fewer homes proposed for remaining St. Charles villages
Public hearing on Docket 90 to address school allocations
The final two villages to be developed in St. Charles will have over 2,000 fewer homes than originally planned should proposed revisions to Docket 90 be approved, the Charles County Planning Commission learned Monday.
In addition, the county has agreed to provide 300 school allocations to St. Charles as part of a settlement between Charles County and St. Charles over the matter. In turn, the community will pay the county a “school mitigation fee” of approximately $4,200 per dwelling.
“The commissioners felt that this was a real push forward for this project ... to actually contribute greater in terms of financial welfare to new school construction and improvements,” assistant chief of planning John Mudd told the planning commission. “Everybody views it as a win-win in that sense.”
The revisions to the master plan for Docket 90 — which governs the process for submitting and approving designs for villages and neighborhoods to be constructed in St. Charles — will be shared in more detail at a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 15.
Last August, the Lennar Corporation purchased 2,400 acres of commercial, industrial and residential properties in St. Charles, which represented most of the remaining undeveloped land in the community.
The sale brought to an end litigation over whether the county commissioners held sole discretion over the amount of school allocations to be awarded to St. Charles.
The St. Charles Companies, the previous owners of the community’s planned use development, or PUD, had appealed a January 2015 ruling in Prince George’s County Circuit Court that granted the board of county commissioners authority over the number of school allocations.
The St. Charles Companies had argued that the community was entitled to a minimum of 300 school allocations annually.
The Lennar purchase was one of the largest land acquisitions in the state in recent years and represented nearly 40 percent of the total acreage in St. Charles.
In negotiating the sale, the county had asked for and received assurances from Lennar that it would construct 2,500 fewer homes on the newly acquired properties.
Mudd said that the master plan for the revised Docket 90 also includes several additional “details that got lost over time” such as a requirement for greater natural tree buffering along St. Charles Parkway in the as-yet-undeveloped villages.
“The master plan is chock full of good things,” Mudd told the planning commission.
Monday evening’s planning commission meeting also included a review of a conceptual subdivision plan for a major residential subdivision on a 16-acre parcel south of Vivian Adams Drive in Waldorf.
Elm Street Development is proposing to construct between 80 and 96 single-family townhouse lots on the site.
The proposed development is only the second such conceptual plan reviewed by the planning commission.
Following the passage of a law last year by the county commissioners, before developers can submit preliminary plans of proposed subdivisions for review and approval, they must now first submit a general “conceptual” plan and invite residents living adjacent to the proposed development to offer comments, questions and concerns.
No residents signed up to speak or to ask questions about the development.
Near the end of Monday’s brief meeting, planning commission chair Angela Sherard noted that the board of county commissioners would seeking proposals for issues to be included on the county’s legislative agenda for next year’s General Assembly session and inquired whether the planning commission could propose legislation related to affordable housing.
County planning director Jason Groth said that due to time constraints, there may not be enough time for the planning commission to meet and discuss legislative proposals prior to the commissioners’ deadline in early November.
“Certainly through this coming year, if there are items that the commission would like to explore and possibly propose, that’s certainly something we could consider, but in the short time frame I’m not sure we’re prepared to do that,” Groth said.