The Calvert County Planning Commission is scheduled on Wednesday to consider a developer's proposal to build a shopping center -- reportedly to be anchored by a Safeway supermarket -- in Lusby.
The first phase of the proposed development, an 83,765-square-foot shopping center to be located on just over 19 acres off H.G. Trueman Road, is permitted under the Lusby Town Center Master Plan approved last year.
The property is part of 48 acres that are being developed in accordance with the master plan. In addition to the commercial development on the land, the John M. Gott Jr. family has tentatively agreed to donate some of the property to the county for future use as a village green and the location of a proposed parkway, according to Frank Jaklitsch, director of the county's Department of Planning and Zoning.
"The master plan calls for this to be the town center core," Jaklitsch said, "and to have amenities -- public amenities and private amenities -- that are found in a town, such as the village green."
Wednesday's Planning Commission agenda also includes another -- and perhaps competing -- proposal to build a shopping center in Lusby that would be anchored by a Giant grocery store. However, unlike the Lusby Center plan -- which the Planning Commission will review and possibly vote on this week -- no action is scheduled to be taken on the other development.
The second proposal -- called Solomons Crossing -- would involve a 116,930-square-foot shopping center constructed on slightly more than 17 acres on Rousby Hall Road between Routes 4 and 765. That property also falls within the Lusby town center and is a permitted use under the master plan. However, as with the Lusby Center shopping development, the planners can reject a site plan if they feel the surrounding area does not have "adequate public facilities," such as roads capable of handling the anticipated increase in traffic.
The two shopping center proposals mean that for the second time in a year the race to build a supermarket in Lusby could play a role in the long-range development of the town center. A year ago, the proposal to build a supermarket on the Gott property was challenged by a competing proposal to build a grocery store nearby off Route 2/4 at Route 765 and Coster Road.
However, while the Coster Road proposal was permitted under then-existing zoning regulations, that changed when the county commissioners adopted the Lusby master plan and also voted not to allow proposed developments in the Lusby area to be governed by the old rules -- unless they were already under construction.
The Coster Road project became an issue after a site plan for the development was filed not long before the final public hearing on the master plan. In response, the Gott family told the county that the offer to donate the land for the village green would be withdrawn if Baltimore-based HRW Development LLC was allowed to construct a 52,140-square-foot store on a 14.63-acre site off Route 2/4.
John M. Gott Jr. wrote the county that his family's contributions depended on the commissioners approving the master plan, "excluding any grandfathering or special exemptions for proposed competing commercial projects in the Town Center."
Gott also asserted in a position paper sent to area residents that Lusby does not have enough retail demand to support both projects, maintaining that that the proposed Coster Road development would compete for the same potential tenants -- and customers -- as the town center in the master plan. The contributions from his family, Gott wrote, "cannot be justified without the economic benefit" they would realize from the development.
Among the contributions proposed in the letter by the Gott family, whose holdings include a fuel oil and heating and air-conditioning business, was land for the village green and a pledge to maintain the landscaping for 15 years.
The master plan calls for a 10-year infrastructure development program that includes installation of public water and sewer facilities to serve all property within the Lusby town center, plus a large piece of adjoining land that is the site of a proposed office park nearby.
Other infrastructure improvements would include the 2.9-acre village green intended to become the focus of community and civic events, and maybe a site for a new library or other institutional buildings. Sidewalks and trees would be placed along Route 765, while other improvements could include designated bicycle lanes and signs for local businesses.