CDC Seeks to Ban Strip Clubs from Lexington Park Strip Redevelopment

By Sarah Miller, The County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Sept. 16, 2010)—On Aug. 29, the Community Development Corporation of St. Mary’s County wrote a letter to the St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners requesting they reconsider their recent decision to “single out the Downtown Mixed Use Zone for adult entertainment.”

The letter further states that allowing adult entertainment in this zone “undermines efforts to attract family serving business to the area and fails to recognize the importance of transforming the community’s entrance to the Main Gate of the NAS Patuxent River from the appearance and uses of by-gone days into a progressive and modern business environment for our emerging, technology community.”

According to the letter, the zoning ordinances should be “designed to work in concert with the adopted revitalization goals for this community.”

County public information officer Karen Everett said the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) is a companion document to the Comprehensive Zoning Plan. The Downtown Mixed Use Zone (DMZ) is a part of the CZO.

According to Everett, several counties make the Comprehensive Zoning Plan and the CZO one document, but St. Mary’s County decided to make them separate entities.

“Each zone authorizes different uses on their piece of land,” Everett said.

St. Mary’s County permits coordinator, Harry Knight, said the decision to allow adult entertainment in the DMZ is not a change in policy. “That’s a misconception,” he said.

Under the previous zoning ordinance, which was adopted in 2002, adult entertainment establishments were allowed in the Town Center Mixed Use districts, the Village Mixed Use district and the Corridor Mixed Use center, and the new ordinance will restrict them to the DMZ only. According to Knight, the allowance for adult entertainment must be left somewhere.

“[Adult Entertainment] should not be in the boundaries of the revitalization district,” said Robin Finnacom. president of the Community Development Corporation. According to her, having adult entertainment allowed in the DMZ, “defies the effort put into getting rid of the strip club (Roses II).”

“From a legal standpoint, if you don’t allow it anywhere, then someone will say, ‘I have the right to have it somewhere,’ and try to put it somewhere undesirable,” Knight said.

The new CZO took effect Tuesday, after it was approved by the county commissioners on Aug. 31.

The CDC is an independent, non-profit entity composed of representatives of the community at large, business, finance, commercial and residential development, the defense contracting community, the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the St. Mary's County Housing Authority, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Economic and Community Development.

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