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Commissioners approve three zoning changes

In less than one hour the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and Planning Commission delivered changes to three items in the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance. The changes were approved during a joint public hearing held Tuesday evening, June 25. The text amendments affect mobile food sales, seasonal sales and age-restricted housing.

In a memo to the county commissioners, Department of Community Planning and Building Acting Director Mary Beth Cook stated the change in the mobile food sales regulations would “provide enforceable conditions for ‘mobile food vending units’ to regulate the hours of use, location of the units on site and the size of the area of the unit including all related accessories can occupy. The amendment will also clarify that this use does not apply to vending units at events such as fairs, carnivals and festivals.”

During a work session earlier in the day, Cook indicated to the commissioners that the modifications were intended to prevent mobile food unit owners from establishing satellite locations and circumventing zoning regulations.

“The object of a mobile unit is to move from location to location,” said Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], who noted without the revisions to the current zoning ordinance “you could have a quasi-second location.”

Clark conceded that the law would be difficult to enforce on weekends since staff only works weekdays.

The amendment’s revised definition of a mobile food vending unit drew the only public comment offered during the joint public hearing. Calvert County Agriculture Commission Chair Susan Cox said her organization did not want the stipulation that “only prepared, ready to eat” food be sold from the unit deleted from the text. Cox indicated that the re-write could have an adverse impact on farm stands.

County government staff noted in its summary, however, that farm stand goods are covered under a different section of the zoning ordinance.

Both the planning commission and county commissioners opted to leave the amendment the way it was presented by staff. The planning commission voted unanimously to recommend the amendment and the county commissioners voted 5-to-0 to approve it.

The text amendment on seasonal sales, according to Cook’s memo, removes an exemption from regulation for non-profit organizations, creates a new use for seasonal sales with conditions and establishes a time limit for the seasonal sales. The planning commission, wit

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