Letters...
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June 6, 2004

Dear neighbor 

We are Jack and Bonne Thuman and are your neighbors who have lived at 405 Winchester Creek Road since 1976. Our home and business are housed within the same building, the boat canvas shop, officially “Boat Cover Inc.” We are seriously interested in the long term quality of the Winchester Creek area, having raised our three children here and invested our time and future in five developed and vacant lots within a few hundred feet of the creek shore as well as cultivating a good reputation in the area for ourselves and our small business.

Presently, we are concerned that development proposed and likely to occur on the five-acre lot fronting on Winchester Creek Road, immediately east of our canvas shop, at exit 44B will damage or destroy our ability to continue to enjoy living here. Additionally, this development may adversely impact the entire creek by runoff into the creek along its 600 feet of shoreline with development taking place to within 50 feet of the shore.

The developer, RPM investments, aka Robert Miller, proposes to build a 60 room “Motel-6” 50 feet from the shore very nearly directly in front of the existing pier and boat ramp that currently exist on this 5 acre lot. We have reason to believe that further development is planned but not yet made public. Last year, the same developer attempted to build the same hotel, coupled with a 7-eleven store with gas pumps on this same lot 50 feet from the creek. Indeed the driveway that is proposed to lead into the hotel, in this year’s plan, is designed, as far to the east as possible, entering the 50’ to 100’ buffer zone, and allowing room for more development just like last year’s plan.

At the September 2003 Planning Commission meeting, when the 7-eleven plan was disapproved, Jack Thuman stated to the commissioners that he was vehemently opposed to the 7-eleven but would not oppose the hotel. In fairness to the developer, and true to his word, he does not oppose or support the hotel although he believes that it does not conform to Queen Anne ’s county title 14 law specifically 14-156(c) in that the boundaries of this lot have been changed since 1985 and it is not “a lot of record as of December 1, 1985.” We believe that there are better and worse proposals that could come along if this proposal is disapproved. We do have 3 points that we would like to ask the planning commissioners to consider. They follow;

1.)  There is no provision in the plans for truck parking. Compelling evidence that there will be trucks needing to park here can be seen at the nearby Sleep Inn where truck parking on the public road obscures the mutual sighting of drivers southbound on VFW road and drivers exiting the Sleep Inn parking lot. There are tens of numbers of problems caused by unregulated truck parking and all other new businesses in the county are required to provide adequate parking for their customers vehicles. One truck parked overnight on Winchester Creek Road will likely start a trend for that road to become a rest stop for truckers who do not patronize the hotel. Requiring truck-parking areas on the motel parking lot, although fair, is not a good idea either, for numerous reasons including impervious surface area, the attraction of more trucks, and noise. For this reason, we ask the commissioners to post “No Truck Parking” signs on both sides of Winchester Creek Road and Winchester Avenue from Nesbit Road to VFW Road.

 2.)    The area in question has been designated by the county as IDA (Intensely Developed Area). Reference to 14-111(53), definition of IDA, and some knowledge of the present and past history of this predominately residential 15 acre peninsula will reveal that it fails to meet any of the concrete criteria for IDA designation and does meet all of the concrete criteria for an LDA (Limited Development Area) designation. One of the  criteria for IDA, is to have a community sewer and water supply. This site lacks a community water supply. It has a community sewer allocation of over 6000 gallons per day. It stands to reason that it will draw a lot of water from the new well that will need to be dug to the detriment of the wells of surrounding homes. We ask the planning commissioners to somehow cause a community water supply to be brought into the area before the hotel opens.

3.)    The entrance drive to the hotel has been planned to be constructed as far to the east as possible, within 50 feet of the shoreline for a portion of its length before reaching the motel parking lot. The only reason for this positioning is to allow for more development at this site. We oppose additional development on this site at this time, especially if it requires entry into the 100-foot buffer. We assert that it is illegal in that it is not permitted by 14-156-(d)(1) “New development or redevelopment activities, including structures, roads, parking areas and other impervious surfaces or septic systems, will not be permitted in the buffer exemption area unless the applicant can demonstrate and the Planning Director finds that there is no feasible alternative. Such findings shall document that the intrusion is the least necessary…” We further assert that it is illegal in that it is not permitted by 14-156(d)(2)”New development or redevelopment shall minimize the shoreward extent of intrusion into the buffer exemption area….”It is also denied by 14-156(c)”This section applies only to new development or redevelopment within 100 feet of tidal waters, tidal wetlands and tributary streams on lots of record as of December 1, 1985”….  The boundaries of this property were changed by the former owner after 1985 making this lot not “a lot of record as of December 1,1985”.We ask the Planning Commissioners to require the developer to place the driveway outside of the buffer area.

Thank you for reading about our feelings about this matter. Although we suspect that the majority of you will see this in the same light that we do, we respect your opinion regardless of how it relates to ours. The factors that will make the most difference in whether we have a good or bad outcome from this development, will be (1) How many people show up or e-mail or in some way contact the planning commissioners (not the county commissioners) and (2) How you can relate your feelings to the law. 

You can read every law or nearly every law that may be used to decide this issue on the Queen Annes County Website, http://qac.org/depts/planzone/planage.htm

The zoning ordinance is Title 18.

The critical area law is Title 14.

The meeting will be held at 9:15 a.m, Thursday, June 10, at the Planning and Zoning office at 102 Coursevall Drive, Centerville, MD  410-758-1255

The outcome of this meeting will affect some of us more than others. It will, however, affect every resident or property owner in southern Queen Anne’s county in some way. Please lend us your input to make the decision a democratic one that will benefit us all.

 Thanks for your interest,

Jack and Bonne Thuman. myprince@toad.net

410-827-9574 voice or 410-827-4474fax


KIDL Web Guy Says:  Write our Commissioners!

 bcassell@qac.orggransom@qac.org  | mkoval@qac.org
jcupani@qac.org  |  rsmith@qac.org


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