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Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the purpose of this project?
Answer: The purpose of the Rural Villages Study and the Prince George’s Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan is to develop design recommendations and economic and business development strategies for the historic rural communities of Aquasco, Baden, and Croom. The Corridor Management Plan (CMP) will contain recommendations for roadway improvement standards appropriate for the scenic corridors and the rural roads included in the study area. Completion of the CMP will make the County eligible for new funding opportunities for preservation and enhancement of the scenic byway.
Question: What area will be included in the project?
Answer: The SSBSB follows Croom Road (MD 382) from U.S. 301 to MD 381 where it continues along MD 381 as a connecting road segment to the SSBSB in Charles County. The SSBSB currently includes four designated sidetracks: Mount Calvert, Croom Airport, St Thomas Church, and Candy Hill Roads, however, some route changes are expected based on the historical events of the war of 1812. (The current sidetracks were designated when the scenic byway was first designated as the Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway which is why some changes are being contemplated now.) A map of the study area, which also includes portions of Aquasco, Baden and Croom, is available here.
Question: Will the study change zoning in or near Aquasco, Baden or Croom, or along the Prince George's Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway or its sidetracks?
Answer: No, the study will not change current zoning in any of these areas. The intent of the study is to understand the impact of existing regulations for site development and road improvements on rural character, as well as future, small-scale commercial or service needs in these communities. Based on the study’s findings, recommendations could be made to change design standards to guide the future development of these communities in a manner which enhances rural character.
Question: What is the viewshed?
Answer: The viewshed is a critical part of any scenic corridor. The website “Historic Roads” provides this useful definition:
“Viewshed refers to the ‘view’ from a particular point in space. The viewshed encompasses everything that can be seen by the naked human eye from this point. A viewshed may be very large, such as the view across a valley from a ridge road, or the view stretching across the great plains to the horizon. It may also be very narrow such as the view from a city street, no wider than the sidewalk and terminated by the façade of an adjacent building, or the limited view along a road in a densely wooded area. The viewshed of a road is generally considered the view to the left or right from the centerline of the road.”
Question: What does viewshed protection include?
Answer: Preserving and protecting the viewshed generally applies only to how new development relates to, in this case, the designated scenic and historic roadways which are being studied as part of this project. How our communities and landscapes are seen from the road is critical to the experience of residents, visitors, and passers-by and their perceptions about these places. The viewshed is a key component in preserving and enhancing the scenic and historic qualities of our communities. Based on the study’s findings, design standards may be recommended to protect the viewshed. These standards may address issues which include how major new structures such as single family homes are sited, the protection of particular landscapes, etc.
Question: How will the study affect my property? Will efforts to protect the scenic and historic qualities of these roadways result in restrictions on what I can currently do on my property?
Answer: The viewshed protection measures (VPS) are intended to complement the existing building and zoning regulations which currently exist for every property owner. The VPS would be applicable to the defined viewshed protection area only. These protection areas may affect properties differently, but they are intended for new development rather than regulating day-to-day activities that property owners lawfully undertake on their properties.
Question: Will the study make recommendations for the design of rural subdivisions?
Answer: Pending the outcome of community workshops, the study may recommend changes to existing subdivision regulations related to design standards, rather than underlying density. Similarly, the study could recommend the creation of a new type of zone to facilitate the development of a more traditional, low intensity rural village design which would include improving the connection of businesses, churches, residences, and other uses through the construction of sidewalks and bike lanes.
Question: Is this project related to the planning that the National Park Service (NPS) is doing for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail?
Answer: Yes, it is related to, but different than, the NPS project. NPS is working on a comprehensive plan for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail which will include the identification of several bikeways, byways, and water routes in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia which are historically important to the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. Information on this effort is available at: http://www.nps.gov/stsp/index.htm
The Prince George’s Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan will focus on the development of specific design and engineering standards to enhance the safety of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, and the preservation of the scenic and historic qualities of the corridor when future improvements and upgrades occur along this roadway.
The Prince George's Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway is expected to be included as one of the land routes in the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Close collaboration between the County, State of Maryland, and NPS will provide coordinated information on opportunities to become involved in these planning efforts, and to take advantage of educational and recreational opportunities associated with commemoration of the War of 1812.
Question: How can I participate?
Answer: There are a variety of ways to participate in this project, including:
Where can I get more information about this project?
Answer: You can call Community Planning South Division, Prince George’s County Planning Department at 301.952.3972.You can also request to receive periodic project updates by providing your most current email address.