A Non-Profit Volunteer Organization
P.O. Box 692
Stevensville, MD 21666
July 2, 2001
Governor Parris N. Glendening
re : Review of Smart Growth
on Kent Island and in Queen Anne's County
Dear Governor Glendening :
Queen Anne's County, known for both its marine and agriculturally oriented lifestyles, is a great place to live as well as visit. Kent Island is often referred to as the "Gateway to the Eastern Shore" - travelers and residents know they have arrived at a special place as they exit the eastern end the Bay Bridge. Although members of the Kent Island Defense League would like to maintain this distinction, it seems that we may become better known for explosive growth that will likely degrade the environment and destroy the quality of life that the citizens have enjoyed in the past. We would like to advise you of our situation and request any assistance you could offer.
In the last ten years, the population of the County has grown 20% to 40,567 people. About 60% of this growth has occurred on Kent Island, although the 1993 Comprehensive Plan suggests that two-thirds of anticipated growth be directed off of Kent Island . While it may be beneficial to contain sprawl, Kent Island is likely not the best area :
1) The infrastructure of roads, schools, sewer, hospital and volunteer emergency services is very limited, and it will be very expensive to upgrade these to accommodate growth.
A large amount of Queen Anne's County is in Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas,
and a majority of that is classified as Resource Conservation Area. Sizable
acreages of these areas have been designated for "intense development"
in "growth sub-areas". As development continues, productive farmland, mature
woodlands and sensitive tidal and nontidal wetlands are being and will
be destroyed. Replacing farmland, woodlands and wetlands with large amounts
of impervious surfaces will further degrade many rivers and streams, as
well as the Chesapeake Bay. This is contrary to the 1992 Economic Growth,
Resource Protection and Planning Act.
3) Kent Island, being the location of the first English settlement in Maryland, contains many areas of historical importance that could be lost to intense development.
4) A large project has been proposed on a site that is not in a Priority Funded Area per the Department of Planning. The County's Planning Director said they are establishing PFAs on as "as needed basis". It does not appear that was the intention of the 1997 Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation initiatives.
The draft 2000 Comprehensive Plan for Queen Anne's County calls for possible expansion of sewer plant capacity from the current 2 million gallons per day without BNR to 5 million gallons per day with BNR. Using $35 million of taxpayer funded financing to reduce nitrogen content 47% and then pumping out 150% additional flow doesn't make sense. The draft Plan gives sewer priority to "new job-producing and public uses" without establishing a definite plan to correct failing septic systems on the southern end of Kent Island - and failing septic systems degrade water quality.
The draft Plan also "promotes contiguous development", and projects the need for 7 new schools/52 relocatables and many substantial road improvements within the next 20 years. It appears there will be an 8 mile long contiguous growth area along the Route 50 corridor from the Bay Bridge past Queenstown (see map attached) with a maximum potential buildout of 11,346 residential units and 9 million sq. ft. non-residential (see tables attached). The Plan also calls for the sewer to eventually be connected to Centreville, which is also a growth area with a possible buildout of 8,510 residential units and 4.1 million sq. ft. non-residential. This will likely result in eventual "contiguous development" between Queenstown and Centreville along the sewer route.
The Critical Area Commission will hold a hearing on July 11th for a 293 acre "growth allocation" on Kent Island - this will likely be an historical event with significant future implications. On November 7th of last year 2,198 Kent Island voters signed a petition requesting our Commissioners deny this growth allocation; however, the approval process continues.
It is possible that in the near future, when you cross Kent Island, you will observe a 150,000 sq. ft. super Wal-mart as soon as you exit the Bay Bridge, hotels and conference complexes, elevated water storage towers and possibly 4,000 new single-family houses, townhouses, and 4 story condominiums. The members of the Kent Island Defense League do not want to see this happen.
We would like the growth plans for the County to be reviewed as a "complete picture", and be assured they will generate the results desired of "Smart Growth".
Thank you for taking the time to consider these matters.
Richard Moser, President
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