Town center to get new public road
Firehouse site plan also OK’d
The Calvert County Planning Commission approved a request to create a public road in the Village District of Prince Frederick Town Center during a special meeting Nov. 27.
The proposed Calvert Hills Road and proposed roundabout connection to Prince Frederick Boulevard is associated with the Calvert Hills apartment development. The public right of way will extend west from the privately owned Radio Drive.
“The ultimate goal is to have a public right of way that extends east-west from Prince Frederick to tie in
to a reserved future right of way that was platted with College Station [but not yet fully approved], which ultimately leads out to Route 231 at the intersection with J.W. Williams Road,” county planner Olivia Vidotto said. J.W. Williams Road, home to the county’s College of Southern Maryland campus, is not currently part of the town center but could be included in the new town center boundaries if the new draft comprehensive plan is approved.
Radio Drive LLC, aka Osprey Development Group, owner of Calvert Hills, submitted a subdivision application for lots and the public right of way along with a site plan for phase 1 of an apartment project.
According to staff documents, the proposed public road will be platted in its entirety and built to the point of access for the proposed apartment complex and slightly beyond to maintain the use of an existing access easement and road that runs through the property.
Once the alignment of the right of way is approved by the planning board, the associated subdivision and site plan will be presented at a future planning meeting.
Vidotto said the Prince Frederick Town Center Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance promotes new local roads to provide more space for businesses, alter- nate routes for emergency vehicles and the ability for traffic to be diverted from Route 2/4.
“We know how important that is, right?” Vidotto rhetorically asked.
Prior to approving a road right of way in a town center, the planning commission is required to hold a public hearing and notify adjacent property owners.
Vidotto said the commission approved the hearing process and timeline on March 21 and that Radio Drive LLC has followed the timeline and requirements for notification to adjacent property owners and advertising of the public hearing.
One adjacent property owner is Johnny Gott, president of The Gott Company, which owns Q-Dog Fuels, heating oil, propane and petroleum products; eight FaStop convenience stores; and the Magic Tunnel Car Wash, which is located at Route 2/4 and Radio Drive. This portion of Radio Drive will remain private.
Concept plans in the staff documents show the pro- posed right of way continuing through the adjacent property that is also owned by Radio Drive LLC with a small portion crossing the Gott property.
“So this extension was required by the Department of Public Works as well as Planning and Zoning to ensure that the road could continue and meet road ordinance requirements to avoid problems at a later date,” Vidotto said. “You don’t want to plot a public road that stops at a certain point and when the developer comes in adjacent to that to continue the road, it [can’t] be done. It can’t meet the road ordinances.”
A wider portion of the public right of way abutting the Gott property will provide adequate frontage to build a future commercial entrance on that parcel. Vidotto verbally amended her staff documents to include that the land owned by Gott as part of the approval by the planning commission for the portion of the public right of way contained in the project shown as Calvert Hills, and that the portion beyond that is owned by Radio Drive LLC.
“The applicant and Mr. Gott are currently working together and both parties are willing to deed the right of way area and construction easements to the county,” Vidotto said, sharing a recent phone conversation with Gott and Randy Barrett, president R.A. Barrett & Associates, a Prince Frederick based engineering, land planning and surveying company. Barrett and Gott have a partnership, Bargo LLC, which owns 60 acres slated for development at Armory Square.
“Our goal is to have the right of way and easements in place that will allow either Osprey or Gott to proceed unilaterally or cooperatively,” Barrett said in a follow-up email to Vidotto on Nov. 27.
Barrett informed The Calvert Recorder that he was consulting for Gott on this project.
Vidotto said the project has been under review for over a year, public works has reviewed and approved preliminary road plans, and while there is more work to be done with the plans, they are comfortable with the location of the alignment of a public right of way, but acknowledged they “may shift a little.”
Planning Commission Attorney John Mattingly said minor revisions to the plans do not have to come back before the planning board, but if there are any major deviations they will have to come back for another public hearing, according to Vidotto.
“At this time, both engineers — Nelson Arocho, Bay Engineering and Randy Barrett — feel that what you see before you is pretty much the alignment that will work to meet the road ordinance,” Vidotto said.
Vidotto recalled a joint application for a development called Villages of Calvert several years ago, where Gott and Osprey were working together. The planning commission approved of the preliminary plans and the extension of West Dares Beach Road in December 2008. Road construction plans for the extension of West Dares Beach Road were also submitted and approved pending stream mitigation, but all have since expired.
Now the two entities are working independently. Osprey has to acquire the easements and land that would cross through properties it did not own. While there are environmental constraints associated with the extension of West Dares Beach Road, Vidotto said both keep that option open.
“As a matter of fact, Johny Gott is asking them to preserve the area that clips their parcel and they in turn are going to work with them for the [forest retention area transferable development rights] they need to offset their forest retention,” Vidotto said, noting they may both be plotted and built.
Staff recommended the approval of the proposed right of way with the condition that completed road plans must be submitted and approved by public works prior to submittal of the final plats for the related subdivision or final site plan approval. Any substantial changes to the location would require another public hearing for approval.
Mattingly said “this is just the alignment. There will be something more formal going forward probably.”
Planning commission member Carolyn McHugh motioned for the approval of the proposed right of way with the recommended conditions and found it was in compliance with all applicable zoning ordinances. It passed without opposition.
The commission also approved an application to raze the existing 18,000-square-foot Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department building and replace it with a larger 29,929-square-foot building. The Calvert County Board of Appeals approved a variance in June for the height limitation from 36 to 40 feet to construct a replacement fire station subject to the condition that the applicant successfully complete the permit process.
The Calvert County Planning Commission approved the proposed Calvert Hills Road, which extends to Prince Frederick Boulevard and is associated with the Calvert Hills apartment development located in Prince Frederick. The public right of way will extend west from privately owned Radio Drive.