County sets meeting on urban design plans

Waldorf future studied

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Share your vision

The Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management is holding a meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 25 to gain input from property owners in the Old Washington Road area regarding the Waldorf Urban Design Study project. The meeting will be held in the auditorium of the county government building, 200 Baltimore St., La Plata.

The study area comprises mostly commercial property along Old Washington Road between Pembrooke Square and the Acton Lane⁄Leonardtown Road corridor.

Call Amy Blessinger, county planner, at 301-645-0650 or e-mail

Local business owners are invited to share their vision of how they believe Waldorf should be developed in the future at an urban design meeting set for next week in La Plata.

More than 300 property owners, mainly of commercial parcels, were notified by letter about the Waldorf Urban Design Study project meeting set for March 25 in the auditorium of the county government building, said Amy Blessinger, county planner. The session will start off with a formal presentation of the project by county planners and consultants, and then the meeting will open up for questions.

Information on the study will be available for review during the meeting, Blessinger said.

The study, the first step in implementing the recommendations of the Waldorf subarea plan that was adopted by the Charles County commissioners a couple of years ago, kicked off in January, Blessinger said, adding that the Waldorf Citizens Advisory Committee was introduced to the project last month.

The Waldorf subarea plan calls for cluster development in the town’s urban core that features pedestrian-friendly development and several options for mass transit, including rapid bus and light rail, Blessinger said, adding that it is essential that the county gain input from the property owners located within this urban core.

‘‘We recognize that there are a lot of complex issues involved with this,” she said. ‘‘That’s why the county commissioners wanted a very detailed study done.”

The subarea plan calls for four activity centers to be built in Waldorf. This meeting will focus on the Waldorf Center slated for development from Old Washington Road to Leonardtown Road and another center to be developed along Old Washington Road to Acton Lane, Blessinger said.

Future centers will be developed at the gateway to Charles County near the Prince George’s County line and near the St. Charles Towne Center parcel, she said.

The study should be completed by early next year, Blessinger said, adding expected recommendations coming out of the study include drafting new zoning laws and design elements to implement the Waldorf subarea plan. The Charles County Planning Commission and county commissioners will hold public hearings on the specific recommendations.

Two public forums will be scheduled in the upcoming months to introduce the project to the general public, Blessinger said.

‘‘We don’t want to do anything in a vacuum,” she said. ‘‘We want to see what people are interested in doing before we get too far into the design of the project.”