The Charles County commissioners have scheduled a public hearing for 11 a.m. Aug. 30 at the Government Building in La Plata on a proposal to exempt age-restricted developments from the school excise tax and from being counted in the formula officials used to determine whether there are vacant seats in public schools.

Such age-restricted projects, usually targeted at residents 55 and older, would be treated similarly to retirement housing under the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance.

Before most residential developments can be built, there must be a determination that there will be space in the public schools for the number of students projected to live in the new houses. Purchasers of the units also must pay a special tax that is dedicated to offsetting school construction costs.

Residents who wish to speak must sign in before the hearing begins. Each speaker will be allotted three minutes. The hearing will last no longer than two hours, unless extended by the commissioners.

Written comments also may be submitted.

For more information, call Steve Andritz of the Department of Planning and Growth Management at 301-645-0540 or 301-870-3896, via the Maryland Relay Service TDD/TTY at 711, or at 800-735-2258, or send an e-mail to andritzs@charlescounty.org.

More Wilson Bridge Work

The second half of the Wilson Bridge project's "Beltway shift" is scheduled to occur this weekend.

Travelers on Interstate 95 south should prepare for very heavy traffic and potentially long delays beginning tomorrow evening as lane closures begin.

From 8 p.m. tomorrow until as late as 5 a.m. Monday, the Beltway's inner loop will be reduced from four lanes to one starting just before the I-295 interchange in Maryland, continuing across the Wilson Bridge and ending past the Route 1 interchange in Virginia.

As with the first half of the Beltway shift operation, which took place July 15-17, the diversion of traffic will be required to keeping traffic manageable. An analysis of the upcoming inner loop shift projects backups of 10 to 15 miles and delays of 60 to 90 minutes, even if 75 percent of travelers stay away.

Vietnam Vets Honor Writer

Wayne Karlin, a professor of language and literature at the College of Southern Maryland, will receive the Excellence in the Arts Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America at its 12th annual national conference Saturday in Reno, Nev.

The war has been at the heart of Karlin's writing since 1973, when he co-edited and contributed four autobiographical war-zone stories to the first collection of its kind, "Free Fire Zone: Short Stories by Vietnam Veterans," as well as the anthology "The Other Side of Heaven." His other war-related literary works include the novels "Lost Armies," "Rumors and Stones," "Prisoners" and "War Movies." He also contributed to the screenplay for an award-winning international film, "Song of the Stork," and co-edited an anthology of contemporary Vietnamese literature, "Love After War," which the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review selected in 2003 as among the best books of the year.

Karlin, who served in the Marine Corps, has received numerous awards and literary honors, including two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, four Individual Arts Awards from the State of Maryland, a Critics' Choice Award and the Paterson Prize in fiction.

Previous recipients of the Vietnam veterans group's prize include Robert Olen Butler, Philip Caputo, Tim O'Brien, Larry Heinemann, Oliver Stone, Lee Ermey and Dennis Franz.

Waldorf Zoning Help Sought

The Charles County commissioners are seeking 12 residents to volunteer for a new citizens work group to implement the 2004 Waldorf Sub-Area Plan. The work group will assist county staff members and the public in developing new zoning as part of the implementation of the Waldorf plan.

Volunteers are being sought from various segments of the community, including:

* Neighborhood and homeowners associations and citizens groups.

* Board of Education members and teachers.

* Businesspeople.

* Affordable-housing representatives.

* Churches.

* Environmental advocates.

Members of the work group will be expected to serve for about one year beginning this fall and to attend about five meetings.

Anyone interested should contact Linda Rollins, clerk to the county commissioners, at 301-645-0554 or 301-870-3000, Ext. 2554, or by e-mail at rollinsl@charlescounty.org to obtain an application form .

Applications are due by Sept. 2.

St. Mary's Schools Appointments

St. Mary's County School Superintendent Michael J. Martirano announced administrative appointments made by the Board of Education.

* The board named Mary Anne Williams as the system's K-12 cable television programmer. Williams will oversee the implementation of an around-the-clock schedule for the school system's local cable television channel. Williams most recently served as the programmer of the Prince George's County schools' award-winning Education Cable Channel 96.

* Holly Tennyson was named programmer analyst in the Department of Information Technology. She will be responsible for providing support to all users of the student and finance management systems' software applications, as well as analyzing and developing software applications. She was a systems analyst for the Calvert County government.

Homeowners Board Being Formed

Charles County is seeking seven residents to serve on the new Homeowners Association Dispute Review Board, which will hear and resolve disputes between the associations and individual homeowners regarding the covenants or restrictions governing properties.

The volunteer board membership is to include:

* Two residents of self-managed or professionally managed homeowners associations within the county.

* One resident involved in housing development and real estate sales.

* Two residents who are members of professions associated with common ownership communities (such as lawyers who represent associations, developers, housing management or tenants), or investor-owners of units in common ownership communities, including at least one person who is a professional community association manager.

* Two residents from the county at large.

Board members will serve three-year terms. Of the first members appointed, two will serve one-year terms, two will serve two-year terms and three will serve three-year terms.

Anyone interested should contact Linda Rollins, clerk to the county commissioners, at 301-645-0554 or 301-870-3000, Ext. 2554, or by e-mail at RollinsL@charlescounty.org to obtain an application form. Applications also can be downloaded at www.charlescounty.org/boards/application.pdf. Applications are due by Aug. 19.

Wayne Karlin of the College of Southern Maryland is receiving an award for writings on Vietnam.