First of all, I would like to thank you for your continuing hard work for the citizens of this County. As I watch the meetings each week, even if I do not agree with some of the resulting actions, it is very obvious that you all work very hard and very long hours in your governance of the County, and it is very much appreciated.
I would like to thank Commissioners Ransom, Koval and Cassell for honoring their verbal and written campaign promises and voting no to sewage for Gibson's Grant.
I, like many other citizens, regret the fact that due to the enormous development approved for Four Season (an out of State developer) Gibsons Grant developers find themselves in a very difficult position.
I find it interesting that at the same meeting there was a long discussion of the very serious traffic problems on Kent Island, with no conclusion or solutions in sight. May I suggest that you cannot consider new developments on Kent Island without the awareness that we presently have very serious traffic problems.
Sewer capacity is obviously an important, but certainly not a sufficient criterion to use for granting or denying development. With the growth already in place for Four Seasons and Ellendale, it seems to me that at this point this traffic situation means that we have already reached the saturation point in development on Kent Island.
Again, thank you for your efforts to keep our County an outstanding place to live.
Macy C. Kerr
I join Mary in giving you all a big Thank you! for your hard work. And to Gene, Mike and Ben for supporting reasoned growth on the Island. My hope is that our CAC (Chester/Stevensville Citizens Advisory Committee) will also provide you moral and political support for this type of effort.
Dear Commissioners: (Public Comment Made Tuesday 3/2/04)
I just wanted to make a personal appearance to personally thank Commissioners Koval, Ransom and Cassell for their vote to deny the Gibson’s Grant sewer allocation.
REMEMBER – Kent Islanders didn’t get to choose between the “BIG 3” – Four Seasons (1,350 units); Ellendale (289 units) and Gibson’s Grant (450+ commercial). I think it was Commissioner Cupani who referred to Four Seasons as a “poison pill”. Unfortunately for the developers of Gibson’s Grant, they have to share some of that poison with the rest of us.
Kent Island is being forced to accept Four Seasons, a high-density development the size of Centreville. This will have an impact that NO ONE can foresee.
A few weeks ago you announced that Kent Island had only 50 building permits issued for the year 2003. Now – with more than 1600 HOMES already approved in Four Seasons and Ellendale, that will jump to a minimum of 250 BUILDING PERMITS PER YEAR ON KENT ISLAND ALONE! I can’t dependably figure what % increase this is – but it is 5 times as many as issued in 2003. Is that a 500% increase?!
This is an incredible and very serious burden for an island already suffering from dangerous traffic gridlock on many occasions. In my opinion, Kent Island is done for now – I hope it is not “done in”.
Terry Babb, Stevensville
To Commissioners Cupani and Niedomanski,
I was privileged to watch the Friday night telecast of the Tuesday's Commissioners meeting. Your vote on the subject issue (not to mention the overzealous Four Seasons issue) is not in consonance with your campaign promises and your platform stance toward the excessive growth issue on Kent Island. The majority of the electors have not changed their positions and your disregard of this factor could relegate you to the same fate as your three predecessors at the next election. I remind you of the simple, but profound, statement of the renowned Edmund Burke, a great Irish patriot and statesman, which I read in the public forum of an open commissioners meeting to Commissioners O'Donnel, Davis and McQueeny in May of 2002 and repeated subsequently to them in another public forum in October 2002 after their defeat. The quotation reads, "Governments that ignore the natural wisdom of the people do so at their own peril." I urge you to climb on the majority bandwagon and get on the proper voting side against growth on the already overstressed infrastructure of Kent Island. Should you not do so and do it soon, not only will Kent Island continue to decay as far as quality of life issues go, but you WILL be removed from office at the next election by the majority electorate.....I will work for that end and I will guarantee it happens. You are wise enough to know that, as you have witnessed the electorates previous public rage. Please do not be a continuing cause of that rage in our communities. To Commissioners Cassell, Ransom, and Koval: Thank you for your appropriate and proper stand on the Gibson's Grant issue. Your votes reflect what we, the electorate, want accomplished!
By JULIA HOCKENBERRY For The Capital
Queen Anne's County officials have effectively killed a plan to build a 485-unit community on Kent Island, saying it had the bad luck of coming on the heels of the massive Four Seasons development.
The Board of County Commissioners' unscheduled 3-2 vote last week to deny water and sewer service to Gibson's Grant stunned the would-be developer, who over the past 3 years had overhauled the project to earn approval.
"We're very disappointed and surprised," said a visibly shaken John Wilson of Whites Heritage Partnership, LLC, who was attending the commissioners' Feb. 24 meeting on an unrelated matter.
Once complete, the project would have included a 65-room inn, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and 10,000 square feet of retail space, in addition to the single-family homes.
Commissioner Gene Ransom, D-Grasonville, based his vote on feedback from constituents worried about the rate of development on Kent Island.
"The only responsible thing to do is to turn this down," he said. "We have a chance to tell the people of Kent Island that we're serious about controlling growth."
Commissioner Michael Koval, R-Chester, also voted against granting sewer allocation.
"If this is smart growth," he said of the project's traditional neighborhood design, "then I'm not a fan of it. I don't like the density."
The project, introduced in late 2000, initially called for 750 homes on over 140 acres of farmland bounded by the Chester River, Macum Creek and Route 50.
Commissioners, who had been presented that year with plans for the 285-home Ellendale project and the now-1,350-home Four Seasons project a few miles away, balked.
"We told them we want to develop a world-class project, and we listened to them. We voluntarily cut the size by 45 percent," Mr. Wilson said.
Commissioners dealt the project another setback in December, prohibiting the extension of sewer service to any new project until the county adopts a new Master Water and Sewer Plan.
"This is the last of the big three that have been haunting us for a long time," said Commissioner Joseph Cupani R-Church Hill, who supports the project. We need to vote to offer the owner the opportunity to pursue other courses as they see fit. The owners need to evaluate their choices."
Commissioner Nemo Niedomanski, R-Grasonville, cast the other favorable vote.
Commissioner Ben Cassell, R-Stevensville, said he was wary of approving development that depends on the construction of a new water and sewer treatment plant, since the plant has yet to be formally approved.
Mr. Cassell used a saying from his youth to back up his vote: "Don't let your mouth sign a check that your butt can't cash."
Mr. Wilson's partner, Chuck Covell said they may appeal the board's decision through the courts.
"Based on today, I don't see that we have any choice," he said last week.
"This was not a vote of support for quality development," he said, adding that a portion of Gibson's Grant would have supplied the county with badly needed affordable housing. "For them to turn their backs on what could have been is astonishing."
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