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Appeals board grants special exception to salon/spa


Prince Frederick, MD - Thursday, Nov. 2 proved to be a ‘good hair day’ for Patricia C. Gibson of St. Leonard. Her request for a special exception allowing her to locate her personal service business—Amore Hair Salon and Spa—in a building on Main Street in Prince Frederick received the unanimous approval of the Calvert County Board of Appeals. Gibson had to apply for the special exception since the two-story building is located less than 150 feet from a residential building. The property is zoned Residential/Commercial Old Town Residential. Gibson describes Amore Hair Salon and Spa as “a small family, locally owned business and our intention is to keep it small. Our existing business is under 2,000 square feet and is in the process of downsizing to a much more smaller space at 570 Main Street. Amore will continue to operate as a salon and spa, producing lifestyle services.”

Gibson told the Appeals Board that the smaller location will make the business “a little bit more intimate.” Styling and other services will be provided by appointment only. “I believe we are going to have a positive impact on the community,” said Gibson, who admitted she wasn’t aware of the 150-foot stipulation when she purchased the property, a red brick house that was built in 1949.

In response to a question from Board Member Susie Hance-Wells, Gibson affirmed she has no plans change the look of the property or expand the business in the future. She intends to install a small sign that is regulation-compliant in the front of the structure.

Testimony at the hearing was rendered by a resident—Richard Branch, who stated he lives in a house located south of the property. “We are generally in opposition to this,” said Branch, who explained when he bought his house that portion of Main Street had been mostly residential, but now seems to be changing to commercial. “It [salon and spa] is going to change the character of the neighborhood,” said Branch, adding, “we are in an historic district.”

As the panel further discussed the proposal it was determined that the sticking point was a single space in front of the structure that Gibson had planned to use for handicap parking. Gibson indicated she was flexible. While putting the handicapped spot in the rear of the structure among the other spaces seemed like the only solution, Board Member John Ward declared that decision is “not much of a service. We’re in a town center where we want our retail.”

In the end, Hance-Wells made the motion to grant the special exception provided Gibson works with the adjoining property owner to create “screening”—some sort of natural buffer between the resident property and the now-commercial property—and provide parking that is “not in front.”

Board Chairman D.O. Baker commended all parties for styling a remedy that will allow the salon and spa to relocate on Main Street. “I think we have a workable solution,” Baker declared.

In other board actions Nov. 2, Ryan and Cristina Serio of Huntingtown were granted a special exception to keep seven hens on their non-farm property. Jeffery Rinkes of Lusby was granted a variance for a setback requirement for his property in the Chesapeake Ranch Estates (CRE) Subdivision. Karla and Daniel Thompson of Lusby were granted a special exception to operate a small daycare located on a private road in CRE.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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