Tractor Supply Co. Clears Planning Hurdle

The nation’s largest retail farm and ranch store chain on Monday cleared an administrative hurdle to locate its first store in St. Mary’s County. The St. Mary’s County Planning Commission recommended approval for a category change in the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan (CWSP) to allow Tractor Supply to locate on Mervell Dean Road in Hollywood near Bruster’s and the Early Bird.  The closest Tractor Supply to St. Mary’s County is now on U.S. 301 in White Plains, Charles County.

The process is largely administrative and changes the plan so that water and sewer service can be provided to the property within three to five years instead of six to ten. The company would pay to have the utility lines that run along Route 235 extended to the property. The county commissioners have to endorse the planners’ recommendation and state agencies have to also sign off on it. The planning commission still has to review and approve the concept plan for the store.

During the public comment phase of the hearing on Monday night, a neighbor questioned whether the approval would mean that he would have to hook up to water and sewer service. Developer’s representative John Norris of NG&O Engineering gave assurances that no neighbors would have to hook up water and sewer service because of the CWSP change for Tractor Supply. A St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) representative also offered assurances because the line extension did not abut any neighboring property. The commission is the county’s water and sewer authority.

Planning Commission member Meryl Evans wondered why such approval in town centers such as Hollywood were not handled administratively instead of requiring a two-part hearing process. But member Susan McNeill noted that all town centers are not alike and that there might be mitigating circumstances to deny such a request.

In unanimously recommending approval to the county commission, the planners suggested that MetCom put in writing for the county commissioner hearing assurances that neighbors would not have to hook up to the utilities and could keep their existing wells and septic systems in service.


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