What is the Waterfront Community District (WCD)? Why has the WCD been proposed as part of the Zoning Ordinance update?

The Waterfront Community District (WCD) is a new zoning district created to make the County’s zoning consistent with the Comprehensive Plan .

The Comprehensive Plan describes Waterfront Communities as, “unincorporated, clustered, small population centers located along Calvert County’s waterfront. These small-lot communities are located in rural locations and were developed before many of the health, safety, and environmental regulations that govern the layout and design of newer communities. Their waterfront location leads to increased risks of flooding or cliff erosion and their small lot sizes served by wells and septic systems may contribute to public health and environmental threats. Waterfront communities are recognized as unique places within the county; future development within these areas is limited. Areas proposed as Waterfront Communities include Plum Point, Dares Beach, Cove Point, Randle Cliff Beach, Summer City, Scientists Cliffs, Calvert Beach, Long Beach, and Broomes Island.” Figure 3-4 on Page 3-15 of the Comprehensive Plan shows where Waterfront Communities are located in the Future Land Use Plan.

In the draft Zoning Ordinance, a summary of the purpose and intent of the WCD is located in Article 5 and permitted, conditional, and special exception uses allowed in this district can be viewed in Table 18-1 with definitions and conditions for specific uses included in Article 18. The WCD is a rural residential district, and no expansion of commercial retail, business and/or personal service uses have been proposed for these areas in the draft Zoning Ordinance.

The areas that are proposed to become part of the WCD are predominately zoned Residential District (RD) under current zoning. The RD allows for the highest permitted residential densities outside of town centers with the purchase of Transferable Development Rights (TDRs). The Comprehensive Plan states that Waterfront Communities, “are not planned for expansion or additional growth” and that “TDRs may not be used to permit additional dwelling units in these areas”. To ensure the county’s zoning is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, there is no permitted residential density proposed for the WCD. This means that the subdivision of parcels which create additional lots are not permitted. However, if a pre-existing parcel is buildable, a building permit for a residential dwelling may still be obtained and two or more pre-existing parcels can still be combined into one parcel. 

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1. Why is the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance being updated?
2. Why is the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance Update process happening before the St. Leonard Master Plan Update and the updates to the other Town Center Master Plans?
3. What changes are being proposed for St. Leonard Town Center?
4. What is the Waterfront Community District (WCD)? Why has the WCD been proposed as part of the Zoning Ordinance update?
5. Why has the Waterfront Community District (WCD) been delineated the way it has been in the draft Zoning Map? Why is the WCD not limited strictly to waterfront properties?
6. Will the Waterfront Community District (WCD) cause property taxes to increase? Will it affect homeowner’s insurance? Will it make me change the deed to my property?
7. Will the Waterfront Community District (WCD) lead to more restrictions when making modifications to properties or dwellings?
8. Will the proposed Zoning Ordinance Update result in houses being built on tiny lots?
9. What are the differences in allowable residential density between districts?
10. What happened to the policy which allows for an increase in permitted residential densities within the one-mile radius/perimeter of town centers?
11. What are Growth Tiers and how are the relevant to zoning and residential density?
12. What type of development can be built in each zoning district?
13. How can we properly comment on draft Articles 4 through 8 without knowing the allowable uses?
14. How are the use tables changing between the current vs. draft Zoning Ordinance?
15. What do the acronyms represent on the Draft Zoning Map?
16. What are the differences between the Farm and Forest District (FFD) and Rural Community District (RCD)?
17. Why is there no longer a Wetlands District in the proposed draft zoning?
18. How will the proposed draft zoning districts effect a property that is also an Agricultural Preservation District?
19. What are the reasons and possible consequences of the proposed Industrial Districts in the area around Lusby?
20. Are there any new Residential District zones in the area around Lusby and Solomons? If so, what are the reasons and possible consequences?
21. Is it possible to publish a version of the proposed zoning ordinance update in black line so that the public can easily identify the suggested revisions on the County’s website?
22. How will the text amendment process be impacted by the Zoning Ordinance Update?
23. Is there a glossary of terms for those unfamiliar with the terminology used in the draft Zoning Ordinance?
24. Is there a mailing list to sign up for in order to keep informed about the Zoning Update process?
25. Are there regulations in the Floodplain Article that protect the environment?
26. Are there regulations in the Zoning Ordinance that protect streams outside of the Critical Area?
27. Is the new Zoning Ordinance going to change the residential density permitted in the Critical Area?
28. What studies were performed before the Floodplain and Critical Area articles were developed? Do they consider the impact of rising water levels?