County will shoulder Bryans Road burden

State funding now out of town center project

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Charles County commissioners voted to take the financial reins of the Bryans Road town center project.

On Tuesday, the commissioners approved a fiscal 2009 budget amendment to eliminate $93,000 of state funding for the project and take over the venture with 100 percent county funding.

"I'm glad we're not moving away from this project," said commissioners' Vice President Edith J. Patterson (D), whose District 2 includes Bryans Road.

Approved in 2001, the Bryans Road-Indian Head sub-area plan was designed with the future development of the area in mind, said Amy Blessinger, a planner with the county.

About 175 acres were approved for mixed use zoning, which allows for higher density with an emphasis on both business and residential use.

"The point is to have people live where they work and shop," Blessinger said.

Within this area, the intersection of routes 227 and 210 became the focus for a town commons, and until recently, the area planned for the project included state right of way for the two state highways.

Patterson said the right of way's location meant the county's funding for the project could be — and was — matched by the state.

However, the focus of the project has shifted.

As the years have progressed, impervious surfaces within the area have begun to age, and a parking lot southwest of the 227/210 intersection is in need of a retrofit, said Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management Director Chuck Beall Jr. That area does not include the right of way.

When an area like a parking lot ages, the pavement or blacktop can create a dangerous environment for stormwater runoff.

By retrofitting these spaces, older surfaces are given a second chance to do their jobs, and the environment has added protection against the runoff.

"This retrofitting will eventually help Mattawoman Creek," Patterson said.

Beall said the Bryans Road town commons project will now be done in conjunction with the retrofitting of the parking lot.

"We're still providing the same common area, but we're able to save money …" Beall said.

"We don't need state funds to finish this project."

Beall said the designs for the commons will be finished by late 2009.