The Calvert County Planning Commission is scheduled on Wednesday to consider two separate proposals by developers to build shopping centers in Lusby -- both to be anchored by a supermarket.
The Planning Commission agenda includes the site plan for one of the centers, an 83,765-square-foot commercial development -- called Lusby Center -- to be located in the Lusby town center on slightly more than 19 acres off H.G. Trueman Road. The project reportedly would be anchored by a Safeway.
Also on Wednesday the Planning Commission will look at another -- and perhaps competing -- proposed Lusby shopping development that would be anchored by a Giant grocery store. However, unlike the Lusby town center plan -- which the Planning Commission will review and possibly vote on this week -- the other development, called Solomons Crossing, first needs a waiver to fill wetlands on the property, according to Frank Jaklitsch, director of the county's Department of Planning and Zoning.
If the Planning Commission grants the wetlands waiver Wednesday, it could very well consider the site plan for the project later this month. 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.
"The applicants are anxious to move forward with it and they would like to see it on this month's regular agenda," Jaklitsch said.
The Lusby Center development is part of 48 acres that are being developed in accordance with the master plan approved last year. 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. The second proposal, Solomons Crossing -- also falls within the Lusby town center and is a permitted use under the master plan.
Some have questioned whether Lusby can handle the traffic from two shopping centers, suggesting the Planning Commission might be forced to chose between them as to which is best suited for the community. 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 also could speak to the long-range development of Lusby. A year ago, the proposal to build a supermarket on the Gott property was challenged by a competing proposal to build a similar project nearby off Route 2/4 at Route 765 and Coster Road. 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.
When the Coster Road project a site plan was filed not long before the final public hearing on the master plan, the Gott family told the county that its 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 then 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 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 Lusby 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. Last month, the county commissioners formally approved the extension of water and sewer service to the town.