Although we are told that the proposed update of the Queen Anne's County comprehensive plan is simply a continuation that builds on the earlier plans, it represents a significant departure from the previous plans.
The 1993 comprehensive plan specifically reaffirmed an objective of the 1987 plan -- to relieve growth pressures on Kent Island. Therefore, if this 2002 comprehensive plan is, in truth, just a fine-tuned continuation of the previous plans, this should continue to be a specifically stated objective.
More importantly, since this objective was not achieved, this update should contain specific ways in which this objective will be accomplished.
As is often pointed out, our county has maintained a steady growth of approximately 400 units per year. This draft comprehensive plan anticipates 400 to 600 units per year.
The fact is that the planning commission and planning staff reviewed the known development projects coming on line, noting that if the pending anticipated projects are added to the historic average of 400 building permits per year, we could average approximately 845 building permits per year for 20 years.
Their conclusion was that the "staff believes that while the county will most likely grow faster than 400 units per year, we will not average any where near 850 permits annually."
Without a specific mechanism that sets annual limits, the county can only hope -- and the citizens of Queen Anne's County have no guarantee -- that we will not be overwhelmed by rapid growth.
Please, Queen Anne's County commissioners, step up to the plate and address this very difficult issue that will so severely impact our daily lives. We need leaders who make it happen, not those who just hope it happens -- or who just watch it happen.
TERRY L. BABB
Published March 31, 2002,
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
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