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Planners okay Great Mills Road medical office

The St. Mary’s County Planning Commission has approved a concept site plan for the first bricks and mortar evidence of a major redevelopment on Great Mills Road. The approval is for a 45,879 square-foot medical office building across from Great Mills High School in a project to be known as East Run. It will eventually supplant the Lord Calvert Trailer Park with offices, two five-story apartment buildings and 129 single-family residences.

The medical office buildings will be constructed and owned by a subsidiary of Cherry Cove Development, which owns the trailer park. MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will lease about half of the space, with other medical offices and the developer occupying the rest, Cherry Cove Chief Executive Officer Brian Norris told the planners that the medical office is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in 2015.

But Norris said the remainder of the East Run project is dependent on the federal government. “With all that is happening in DC we can’t make that commitment,” adding “The only thing we are sure of is the medical building,” he said.

Norris said several mobile home tenants will be affected by the building of the medical office and they will be temporarily relocated to another section of the mobile home park. But he said the ultimate fate 260 families in Lord Calvert Trailer Park is a great concern to the company’s founder, Tommie Waring and his company. Norris said a community meeting was held on May 29 attended by 250 people in which the project was explained.

The project, even though it received unanimous concept plan approval from the planners, will also require several variances from the St. Mary’s County Board of Zoning Appeals. One of those variances is for the front setbacks. The proposal is to have the medical office building close to Great Mills Road and to have parking in the rear.

Planning Commission member Patricia Robrecht wanted to know why the building was designed so close to the road. Department of Land Use and Growth Management Planner David Berry said that is in conformance with the proposed Lexington Park Master Plan, about to be presented to the planners and the county commissioners, will encourage that to make for a more livable community. But it requires a variance under the current zoning ordinance.

The building will sit directly across the street from the high school and the road entrance to it will be directly across from the entrance to the school at an existing traffic light.

Several planning commission members praised the project as serving a community need. Chairman Howard Thompson said, “It is going to be very good for Lexington Park and Great Mills Road.”

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