Hayden Farm Plan Triggers Traffic Worries - Southern Maryland Headline News

Hayden Farm Plan Triggers Traffic Worries

By Guy Leonard, County Times

LEONARDTOWN, Md.—Residents who live on and around Route 245 and the Hayden Farm property on the outskirts of Leonardtown are worried that proposed plans to develop the 172-acre parcel with school buildings, a new library and recreation fields could increase traffic in the two-lane roads to intolerable levels.

“With the hospital expansion, the wellness center and the jail expansion, it’s all going to be within one mile of Route 245,” said Norman Norris. “It’s time for you guys to come up with a transportation plan.”

Norris said that such a large build-out on the property, which right now only has one access point off of Route 245, could jam the two-lane road.

“We’re going to have complete gridlock,” Norris said. “You can’t continue to build and not build infrastructure.”

The county agreed to purchase the Hayden Farm property in December over some objections that there was not enough public comment on the decision and that the county paid too much.

The property was appraised for about $3 million but the county paid $5.3 million instead.

A proposed master plan for the site was up for public review Tuesday night before the St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners. Several people spoke in support of building a new library to replace the aging facility across the street at the old Leonardtown armory.

The county has not yet decided whether to build a new, 40,000-squarefoot library to accommodate an increasing number of customers or, alternatively, to renovate and expand the armory site.

Brad Clements, chief operating officer for county public schools, told residents and commissioners at the meeting that enrollment projections justified placing an elementary school on the property in the near future.

A middle school could be needed on the property in eight to 10 years, Clements said.

Mary G. Bailey, who lives across from the Hayden property on Route 245, told commissioners that the problems she has getting out of her driveway would only get worse if the farm were developed without concurrent road improvements.

“I have to spend five minutes in my driveway before pulling out because of traffic coming both ways,” Bailey told commissioners. “It’s going to be worse than now.”

County Administrator John Savich reiterated that the county, in some form, still had significant plans for the Hayden property.

“We will someday have a county campus on the Hayden property,” he said.

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