Charles County’s identity has shifted through the decades from a rural enclave to a bustling county of housing developments where new residents and families — and others with life-long ties to this region — are pursuing their dreams and helping shape Southern Maryland.
However, this alone will not ensure the county’s economic stability for the long term. Citizens and officials alike recognize the need for broader economic-development opportunities to serve the county’s needs. High taxes and residents who have to drive long distances to work have become a reality, but robust planning policies and establishing a stronger job base and commercial sector are key to addressing these concerns.
The HUB at La Plata is an innovative proposed mixed-use development for the northwest quadrant of Greater La Plata (near the College of Southern Maryland campus and the Hawthorne Country Club) that will combine housing and employment facilities. It can help this region grow jobs that are locally based, foster high-quality development, and integrate environmental stewardship close to where people can live, work, play and interact with others.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), of Charles County’s “resident workers” who commute, 52,952 or 77 percent travel to jobs outside the county. Furthermore, of states with the highest commute times, Maryland and New York have previously tied for the No. 1 slot, with a mean time of 32.3 minutes and Charles County currently has the second-highest commute time — 43.3 minutes — in the state.
“Quality of life is an important factor in America today because it helps determine where people decide to live and fulfill their life goals,” says Bill Murray, Project Manager of The HUB at La Plata. “People choose to move to, or stay in, Charles County for its beauty, housing and land costs, good schools and proximity to other areas, but many have to spend hours driving or getting to their jobs every day. Southern Maryland already has an established base of those who are employed by the federal government who could work in La Plata much more conveniently. Additionally, businesses and major Washington, D.C., metropolitan employers may find lower costs here for leasing properties.”