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Project Overview and Background
The purpose of the Rural Villages Study and the Prince George's County Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway (SSBSB) Corridor Management Plan is to develop design and (potentially) limited, land use recommendations for the historic rural communities of Aquasco, Baden, and Croom, as well as the State of Maryland’s Prince George's County Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway Corridor.
The existing SSBSB follows Croom Road (MD 382) from U.S. 301 south to Aquasco (MD 381) where it continues along MD 381 as a connector to Charles County. The SSBSB also includes designated sidetracks or branches. These are currently Mount Calvert, Croom Airport, St Thomas Church, and Candy Hill Roads.
The National Park Service (NPS), State of Maryland, and local governments are considering proposals to modify the route of the scenic byway and its sidetracks so that these routes more precisely track some of the historic events associated with the War of 1812. Please click here for a map of the approximate study areas, and the current alignment of the scenic byway south of MD 4. Please use this link to see a map of the proposed changes to the scenic byway. Briefly, proposed changes include rerouting the byway from Upper Marlboro to Croom Road via Croom Station Road (instead of Old Crain Highway), and removing Candy Hill Road and adding portions of Tanyard and Nottingham Roads as branches.
Completion of the Corridor Management Plan for these roads is intended to bring roadway improvement standards in line with master plan goals for the protection of the scenic and historic qualities of these roads and their viewsheds. The study will identify implementing partnerships, funding strategies, and regulatory changes necessary for meeting policy goals developed through issue analysis and community involvement.
The Rural Villages Study is the result of a policy recommendation within the Approved 2009 Subregion 6 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment. The recently approved master plan was charged with updating land-use policy and zoning for nearly one-third (147 square miles) of the land area within Prince George’s County which includes a diversity of suburban and rural communities. Because of the broad and varied scope of the plan, it recommended a more detailed study and analysis of Aquasco, Baden, and Croom as the subject of subsequent planning efforts. The plan contains a number of policies intended to protect the character and unique resources of the Rural Tier, enhance economic opportunity, and integrate the area’s historic, cultural, and recreational resources into an effective development and conservation strategy for this portion of the county. It includes a general policy to “protect and maintain rural villages by promoting compatible development and preservation of scenic and historic roads” (Page 177-178). Specific issues to be examined during the study include: limiting changes to scenic and historic roads to help retain the rural character of the Rural Tier; ensuring that design and development standards in and near Rural Centers promote development compatible with traditional and historic buildings, sites, and vistas; and recommending commercial development to meet the retail needs of rural communities at appropriate density and scale.
A great deal of work has already been done for the Prince George's County Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan (CMP) which was originally designated as the Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway. Completion of the remaining tasks and approval of the CMP will allow the county to apply for state funds to implement recommend roadway and other improvements in the SSBSB (MD 382/Croom Road) Corridor, and to take advantage of funding associated with the promotion of the Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812. The Bicentennial celebration will occur from June of 2012 to June of 2015.
An analysis of past planning efforts, best practices in design, and community involvement will inform the development of recommendations in the Rural Villages Study and the CMP. Land-use, roadway and site design, small-scale economic development opportunities, and implementation strategies will be among the topics addressed. This joint effort will offer an opportunity for community members, property and business owners, agency staff, and other stakeholders, to understand the impact that existing policies and regulations for site development and roadway improvements would have on the build-out of these communities. Work performed for this effort will include developing and evaluating design alternatives and standards that promote the preservation goals of these historic rural communities including: scenic viewsheds and site characteristics unique to the rural tier, improving connectivity and safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, and economic development strategies. Community and business surveys on retail and survey needs will be used to inform any potential recommendations for additional small-scale, commercial enterprises or services in these communities.