Re: Big Box & High-Density Development in Prince Frederick

Below are the FACTS supporting our position that Text Amendments 15-08a & b should not be approved. 

The proposed amendments are inconsistent with the the Prince Frederick Master Plan & Zoning Ordinance, which is 27 years old and needs to be updated. 

  • Section E.2 Actions of the PFMP - “Adopt the following access control policies:

    • No more than one traffic signal and four-way intersection mid-way between Stoakley Road and Dares Beach Road may be permitted subject to SHA approval.

  • Section II, Travelways, Sub-Section C., Baltimore & Drum Point Railroad:

“Portions of the former Baltimore & Drum Point Railroad shall be preserved for use as a future pedestrian/bicycle trail or trails.  As parcels develop, easements shall be deeded to the County as part of a Public Works Agreement.” (Z.O. pg. 4)

  • Section VI Development Districts, Sub-Section G., New Town

#1 - Existing Situation: “Baltimore & Drum Point Railroad right-of-way is located within the New Town District.”

#3 Special Development Standards: “If the New Town District is not comprehensively designed as a single parcel, or if owners of individual parcels do not participate in a comprehensively designed project, the provisions of the Village District apply.” (Z.O. pg.41) Armory Square DOES NOT encompass entire Village District!

  • Density - The Density proposed is not compatible with existing development.  The PFMP calls for higher density development adjacent to existing neighborhoods to be designed to be compatible with existing residential development in terms of height and scale.
  • Setbacks - The proposed setback reductions are not necessary. The PFZO allows the Planning Commission to reduce setbacks in certain instances. The reduction in setbacks should be determined by the Planning Commission on a case-by-case basis rather than be automatically permitted throughout the New Town District.
  • Height - The proposed increase in height of buildings does not comply with the PFZO, which states that new buildings should conform to surrounding buildings, and new construction that greatly varies in height from older building in the vicinity should be avoided.
  • Transportation - The proposed development violates the transportation requirements of the PFMP and the County Comprehensive Plan in that new traffic signals and entrances on Route 2/4 are prohibited.

The proposed amendments are inconsistent with the Calvert County Comprehensive Plan, which addresses impacts on traffic, safety, congestion, infrastructure, the County's budget, how much residential growth should occur and where, and the health and welfare of the citizens of Calvert County.

  • Action IV-22 requires that a fiscal analysis be prepared prior to the County providing financial assistance to any commercial or residential project
  • Action IV-24 requires the County to be pro-active in the development of infrastructure in Town Centers as called for in the Master Plans; however, the PFMP is so out-dated, there is no way of knowing what infrastructure should be a priority for development.

  • One of the Visions of the Comprehensive Plan and Action #I-56 both address the safety of our highways only moderate congestion. Action I-56 spells out that direct access to Route 2/4 is prohibited.  Action I-57 requires that the County Transportation Plan be updated, but it has not been since 1998! 

  • The Land Use section of the Comprehensive Plan goes into great detail about the steps the County has taken in the past to “Manage the Amount, Location and Rate of Residential Growth”.  The buildout number adopted by the County is 37,000 dwelling units.  According to the census, the number of housing units in 2010 was 33,780 and in 2015 it was 34,766 - very close to buildout.

The proposed amendments are inconsistent with Maryland Law, which requires the regular updating of master plans and that zoning regulations be consistent with master plans.

  • Md. LAND USE Code Ann. § 3-301  (2016) requires that master plans be updated every 10 years. The Prince Frederick Master Plan was adopted in 1989 and is extremely outdated. 

(a) Periodic review. -- At least once every 10 years, each planning commission shall review the comprehensive plan and, if necessary, revise or amend the comprehensive plan to include all:

(1) the elements required under Subtitle 1 of this title; and
(2) the visions set forth in § 1-201 of this article.

(b) Geographic section or division. -- The planning commission may prepare comprehensive plans for one or more geographic sections or divisions of the local jurisdiction if the plan for each geographic section or division is reviewed and, if necessary, revised or amended at least once every 10 years.

  • Md. LAND USE Code Ann. § 3-303  (2016)
    (a) Required review. -- At least once every 10 years, which corresponds to the comprehensive plan revision process under § 3-301 of this subtitle, a local jurisdiction shall ensure the implementation of the visions, the development regulations element, and the sensitive areas element of the plan.
  • (b) Implementation. -- A local jurisdiction shall ensure that the implementation of the requirements of subsection (a) of this section are achieved through the adoption of the following applicable implementation mechanisms that are consistent with the comprehensive plan:

(1) zoning laws;

(2) planned development ordinances and regulations;

(3) subdivision ordinances and regulations; and
(4) other land use ordinances and regulations.​

  • Md. LAND USE Code Ann. § 3-201  (2016) states:
    • In accordance with present and future needs, a master plan shall promote:
      (i) good civic design and arrangement;
      (ii) a healthy and convenient distribution of population;
      (iii) the health, safety, and general welfare of the local jurisdiction; and    
  • Md. LAND USE Code Ann. § 1-303  (2016):
    • When a provision in requires an action to be "consistent with" or have "consistency with" a comprehensive plan, the term shall mean an action taken that will further, and not be contrary to, the following items in the plan:(1) policies;
      (2) timing of the implementation of the plan;
      (3) timing of development;
      (4) timing of rezoning;
      (5) development patterns;
      (6) land uses; and
      (7) densities or intensities.

The proposed amendments are inconsistent with the results of the Charrette held in 2013, which was touted as the beginning of the process for updating the Prince Frederick Master Plan. Use this link to view the results and recommendations from the Charrette and to compare them to the proposed development. Those results continue to be listed on a web page entitled, "Charrette - Prince Frederick Town CenterMaster Plan Update

The proposed amendments constitute "Spot Zoning" which is illegal in the State of Maryland and is defined as: “the application of zoning to a specific parcel or parcels of land (Armory Square)  within a larger zoned area (Prince Frederick Town Center)  when the zoning is at odds with the area’s master plan and current zoning restrictions, (see above) and which will benefit the property owners rather than the general welfare of the community as a whole. 

The proposed amendments will be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the Citizens of Calvert County and will benefit the developers and big box store owners only.


Local businesses will be harmed by the proposed big box hardware store and there is no need for it, since Calvert County has SEVEN thriving locally-owned lumber/hardware businesses! The Seven Stores are:

  1. Dunkirk Supply in Dunkirk

  2. Dunkirk Supply in Lusby

  3. Dunkirk Hardware & Home Store in Dunkirk

  4. Lusby Hardware in Prince Frederick

  5. Sneade's Hardware in Owings

  6. Sneade's Hardware in Lusby

  7. True Value Hardware in Solomons

On the County's website, they admint the superiority of local businesses over "big boxes":  "Small business will no doubt have a concern about a potential “big box” locating in Prince Frederick. Without question, the small business owner will be in direct competition with the “big box.” However, small business owners have the upper hand when it comes to their established customers and also have the demonstrated ability to carve out a niche that a “big box” cannot meet. Some examples include quality customer service, product differentiation and convenience.