Calvert County Times May 18, 2017 - Page 3

Thursday, May 18, 2017 The Calvert County Times Local News 3 School Capacity Impacts Coun ty man Honored North County Growth for ‘Heroism’ Easing Growth Controls Could Be on the Horizon By Dick Myers Staff Writer Recording of new residential subdivi- sion development is currently prohibited in Calvert County in areas served by four schools that are at capacity. The northern part of Calvert County is currently closed to new residential subdivision develop- ment (except for the Twin Beaches). That’s because the high school that serves that area, Northern High School, is currently at 116 percent of its capacity of 1,223 stu- dents. A new school is being built and the old one will be demolished, but the new school will bring the capacity up to 1,440, which is anticipated to be right at 100 per- cent, according to Director of School Con- struction Shuchita Warner. The other three schools over capacity are Northern Middle School, and Beach and Mt. Harmony elementary schools all of which feed into Northern High School. Those schools could be redistricted, but Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Curry said the school system in the past has been reluctant to do that just to correct growth issues. What is preventing the new residential subdivision development is the Calvert County Adequate Public Facilities Ordi- nance (APF) which puts a halt on devel- opment when an area’s school’s capacity reaches 100 percent. So, in the area with the most growth pressure because of its closeness to DC and Annapolis, the clamps are on new development. Warner told the school board at its May 11 meeting that the commissioners will be looking at the APF at a work session in late June. A possibility might be, she said, to raise the defi nition for the purpose of the APF to some higher capacity number such as 105 percent or allow the county more time to increase a school’s capacity. The discussion about APF is embedded in a 100-page document called “Education Facilities Master Plan FY 2019” presented by Warner to re school board. The docu- ment could be reading not only for people interested in education issues, but also for those involved in growth concerns as the county goes through the process of updat- ing its Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The plan presented by Warner, for in- stance, talks about growth issues in gener- al. It states: “Calvert County’s population growth has slowed. Slow growth initia- tives enacted by past Boards of County Commissioners, work force migration closer to the employment hubs and the current economic conditions have slowed new housing starts and commercial inter- est. Recent information provided by the Calvert County Department of Commu- nity Planning and Building projects the population of the county to grow to 95,600 residents by the year 2020. The present es- timated county population is 91,000. Due to the growth patterns of the past decade, the county has had to invest in new school construction, public facilities, roads and other related infrastructure, all having a considerable fi nancial impact. In 2016, 226 residential building permits were is- sued throughout the county. The number of permits issued in 2016 was lower than the number issued in 2015. Permits being issued are generally from lots of record, rather than newly recorded subdivisions. Over the last year, however, housing in- ventory does appear to be moving and the percentage of foreclosures are down as a percentage of total sales.” The Education Facilities Master Plan also goes on to state: “County growth pro- jections indicate a fl at to modest 0.1% an- nual increase through 2022. If we were to further refi ne the projections, w e may fi nd over the next year or two that our county population will remain level. This assumption is solely based on current economic factors obviously impacting housing starts and real estate trends. The latest information on new housing starts shows a small percentage of homes below $400,000. These are primarily located in Prince Frederick and areas south. A ma- jority of new housing starts continue to be in the $400,000 or more price range which are not conducive to young couples. Per household school age student yield factors need to be revisited for enrollment projec- tions. The pattern of the growth within the county appears to be consistent with areas that are forecasted to grow. Those areas are the central part of the county surrounding the Prince Frederick Town Center and the northern part of the county which includes the Dunkirk Town Center and the Town of Chesapeake Beach. It is important to note that the Town of Chesa- peake Beach, an incorporated area, is not subject to Calvert County’s adequate pub- lic facility regulations. Our student enroll- ment projections refl ect a decline through 2021 and a fl attening out thereafter.” The plan also dips its feet into the wa- ters of economic development by saying: “Economic development that will support skilled craftsmen, technical trades, and professional employment opportunities continue to be elusive.” The entire plan can be downloaded from the Calvert County Public Schools’ website under the section set aside for Board of Education meetings. You can access the agenda for the May 11 meeting and the document is attached under Item 6.0 – Review of Educational Facilities Master Plan. Much of the document is fi lled with information about each school, but the beginning of the plan is replete with in- formation about growth and development trends in the county. Could be some good bedtime reading. dickmyers@countytimes.net By Dick Myers Staff Writer The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners May 16 presented a proc- lamation for heroism to a county man. Commissioner Mike Hart read the procla- mation which explained the circumstanc- es for the award. The proclamation read: “On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 61-year-old Vale Thom- as entered a burning home to rescue his 67-year-old blind brother, Olandous Brooks and their family dog. After the rescue Mr. Thomas attempted to go back into the burning home to retrieve a cell phone to call for help; when those efforts failed, he ran more than a half mile to a neighbor’s home to call for emergency re- sponders. Mr. Brooks and the family dog suffered no injuries; however, Mr. Thom- as, in his heroic efforts, was burned badly and hospitalized due to his injuries; and Mr. Thomas showed implausible bravery, quick thinking, fearlessness, and selfl ess- ness in a dangerous life-threatening situa- tion; Mr. Thomas is no doubt a true hero for his selfl ess act in saving the lives of his brother and family dog.” Hart said when he read about the act of heroism he “was blown away.” He par- ticularly noted the saving of the family dog. Hart, a dog lover, noted that pets are indeed members of the family. Hart said, “This was remarkable. It is unbelievable the courage to do something like this. It is love that drives it.” Thomas told those assembled in the commissioners’ meeting room for the proclamation that he appreciated their be- ing there. “I thank God for being here to- day,” he added. The proclamation concluded by saying: “It is proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Calvert County that we honor Mr. Vale Thomas with appre- ciation and gratitude for his exemplary il- lustration of bravery and selfl essness. BE IT FURTHER PROCLAIMED that we present this proclamation as a tribute to Mr. Thomas’ fearless and heroic actions; may health and happiness always be your reward.” dickmyers@countytimes.net Bowen's Grocery Family Owned & Operated Since 1929 The Charm and Quality of the Past with the Convenience and Variety of Today USDA Choice Beef - Cut to Order “Our Own” Freshly Ground Chuck "Our Own" Frozen Hamburger Patties Steaks • Roasting Pigs • Baby Back Ribs Full Service Deli Homemade Chicken Salad · Macaroni Salad Cole Slaw · Baked Beans Broccoli Salad · Mac & Cheese Much More... IT'S GRILLIN' TIME WINE COLD BEER We Have Everything You Need For a Great Holiday Picnic! 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