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March 15, 2001

Queen Anne County Commissioners
Mr. George O’Donnell
Ms. Marlene Davis
Mr. John McQueeney
107 North Liberty Street
Centreville, MD  21617

Dear Commissioners,

I know you’ve already heard everything that can possibly be said about the development pressures facing Kent Island.  I hope, however, that you are not merely making a weekly count but are actually reading and considering the many letters you have received from your constituents.  Please remember that we are the folks who voted for you, entrusting you with the legal authority and responsibility of representing our interests.  Even if you are now thinking to yourself - oh, she’s one of them - I hope you will consider the following.

As individuals who live near and love the Chesapeake Bay, we search and struggle to find ways we can make a difference - such as supporting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, participating in programs to grow bay grasses or oyster gardening.  But you - the three of you - have before you the unprecedented opportunity to make such a huge difference!  You can play the pivotal role of leading the way of future development in our Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  You have the power to draw a line in the sand and say, “I will preserve the Chesapeake Bay - in every decision I make, I will protect this fragile and sensitive estuary.”

Every day we read in the paper about millions and millions of dollars being spent to study the bay, protect the bay, or clean up the bay.  Just yesterday I read that Maryland has failed to meet their 2000 clean-up goal.  Bill Matuszeski, Director of EPA’s Bay Program is quoted that we may get there by 2002 or 2003 but he believes sprawl will cancel out any progress.  This is just money down the drain, unless there is the political will behind it.  Especially in a county like ours, where the bay and our neighborhood rivers and creeks are such an integral part of what we hold so dear, the political will of the public will resoundingly and overwhelmingly support the candidates who step forward on this issue.

1000 Friends Maryland is a statewide nonprofit group that works to promote healthy neighborhoods, preserve the agricultural way of life, and encourage environmental stewardship.  The developer of Four Seasons approached them, made their presentation, and asked for their support.  1000 Friends of Maryland found that this is just the same old plan that the developer has been building everywhere and they are now forcing onto this very special site; specifically, it reproduces an upscale New Jersey development, on a Critical Area, in the heart of the Eastern Shore.  Please call and meet with, or at least speak to, Dru Schmidt-Perkins from 1000 Friends.  Her number in Baltimore is (410) 385-2910.

Please review again the testimony presented by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  A copy is attached for your convenience.  This large development should afford a great deal of flexibility in developing the site in a manner fully consistent with critical area requirements.  It represents the largest single acreage of growth allocation ever considered.  If they are not able to meet the 300 foot setback and the clustering requirement called for in the site layout criteria of the QAC Critical Area Program, then it should be sent back to the drawing board.  If these requirements are not upheld in a parcel of this size, then when could we ever expect this to be enforced?

We must be able to count on you, as our elected officials, to be among those to whom Kent Island is more than just a “marketing tool” - that it is to be cherished and preserved.


Terry Babb
Stevensville, MD

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