Read Peter Holland's comments regarding
Mr. Bary Griffith's remarks, which follow the news article.
Peter Holland was Chairman of the Stevensville Citizen's Advisory Commitee (C.A.C.)
|Planners defer action
on Waterfront Gateway District
By Tom Martin, Business Writer
The Bay Times, September 4, 2002
CENTREVILLE - The Queen Anne's County Planning Commission deferred any action on a new Waterfront Gateway District adjacent to the Bay Bridge Marina because changes are first needed in the Stevensville Community Plan.
Commission chairman Rodger Weese, noting that there is a consensus supporting the new zoning district and that it fits "Marina Growth Area" goals, asked the planning staff to move ahead as "quickly as possible" to start the process for amending the community plan outside of the six-year update schedule.
The Stevensville Community Plan is not scheduled for an update until 2004-2005, but legal counsel Chris Drummond said the Planning Commission could recommend changes before that time. The County Commission would ultimately approve any changes.
Although no formal plan has appeared on commission meeting agenda, executives of Coastal South and Elm Street, represented by Barry Griffith of Lane Engineering, are seeking the zoning change for a development that would combine ground-level commercial with upper-upper story condominiums.
But this development does not fit the current urban commercial zoning of the region, which includes the Kent Commons (Wal-Mart) site. Under UC zoning commercial apartments are allowed, but not other higher-density residential development -- and not the combination of commercial-residential in a single structure.
While Griffith, who was involved in the creation of the Stevensville Plan during his years with the county planning department, wanted the commission to move ahead with the rezoning, he welcomed action on updating the Stevensville Plan. "My clients have already lost a lot of time and we want to move ahead as quickly as possible."
Although there has been no formal announcement, John Wilson of Coastal South and Karen McJunkin of Elm Street want to develop the multi-use development on 30 acres northeast of the Bay Bridge Marina as well as adjacent and to the west of the proposed Kent Commons site.
They agreed that 20,000 square feet would be the maximum size of any single retail space, which, according to their current plan, would total more than 150,000 square feet. McJunkin, whose firm is actively involved in residential developments in Easton, Queenstown and nearby Chester, said that 240-250 residences are seen as part the WGD zoning. Wilson is the developer and operator of the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, which is between the Bay Bridge Airport and the Marina.
Another reason for moving ahead with changes in the Marina Growth Area at this time are concerns about the future of the Kent Commons site, which continues to be involved in litigation with the county. The consensus of the commission is to include that property as part of the WGD, which the county can do without consent of the owners, according to Drummond.
"Yes, they know about WGD," said Planning Director Stephen Kaii-Zeigler. But Drummond had words of caution, noting that such an overt action by the county may be in the "taking" category and spark further litigation.
It was Drummond who told the commission that it could not take action on the WGD rezoning before the Stevensville Plan had been changed. "It (the rezoning) is not consistent with the plan in its current configuration," Drummond told the planners.
He unfolded a map on which the Marina Growth Area properties are shown as commercial and that other areas in the region are shown as residential. But he also told the commission the Stevensville Plan could be updated outside of the normal six-year sequence.
Some members of the commission were concerned about density of residential development on the site (Patti Miller), increasing traffic flows in region around the U.S. 50/301-State Route 8 interchange (Loring Hawes), and what specific retail and office tenants were planned for the commercial space (Peter Lee). But the planners also realized that any plan brought forward by the Coastal South-Elm Street partnership would go through public review.
Lee also suggested that Stevensville residents need to "take a look" at this proposal. To this Griffith replied, "I think the community has expressed an opinion on the alternative already." The County Commission turned down a water-sewer allocation two years ago for Kent Commons, which included a 100,000 square-foot-plus Wal-Mart, sparking the current legal battle between that developer and county.
Bay Bridge Airport Manager John Kirby, who noted that there are height restrictions for any structures near the runway, said his facility would eventually move some buildings to the northern from the southern side of the field. These actions are deemed necessary by new FAA regulations on the proximity of such large buildings near a runway, he said.
"Yes, some land acquisition on the north side of the field would give us the ability to move our operation center to that side of the field," he said of a possibility on some of the property that is now proposed for Kent Commons.
No representatives of the Kent Commons development or the current property owners of the parcels that are on the north side of Pier One Road and east of the marina properties were present.
September 7, 2002:
I would like it known that over and over again, when I was Chairman of the Stevensville Citizen's Advisory Committee, Barry Griffith continually told us that the owner of the "Marina Growth Area" intended to develop that property into "the premier marina on the east coast" and that it was to include a world class fly-fishing school.
Barry suggested that it would be a good idea to rezone the property so that it could accomodate this world class resort. As we all know, Barry left the county almost before the ink was dry on our plan. BUT: before he left, he testified before Dr. Foor's Committee that what our Advisory Committe wanted was the most intensive development, and that he thought a WalMart was completely consistent with what our Comittee intended. I have the transcript of the Hearing at which he made those statements.
When I learned of Barry's shocking (to me anyway) comments, I then called him at his new job and he assured me that he would not be working on the WalMart project because of his prior involvement with the CAC. These are my recollections. Perhaps somebody could ask Barry if his recollections are the same. Also, somebody could ask the 15 members of the committee about the fly fishing and the marina. When I polled them during the WalMart battle, they all remembered Barry talking about that on several occasions. The only person I did not poll at that time was committee member Barry Waterman.
Peter Holland Was Chairman of the Stevensville Citizen's Advisory Commitee (C.A.C.) and is an Attorney at Law
As Chair of the Stevensville CAC, not in my worst nightmares did I ever envision that someone would try to develop the property on such a massive scale with such a disregard to CAC plan and the desires of our residents.
The concept presented to the CAC by Attorney Joe Stevens and his clients in August 1997 raised several issues of concern, primarily traffic impacts and residential density. On those issues, the final plan is even worse than the concept plan. The existing proposal goes against the letter and the spirit of the Stevensville Community Plan, which serves as 'the official Comprehensive Plan for the Stevensville area.' [See page 1-1 of the plan].
What they are proposing is development run amuck, and it must be stopped in order to preserve Kent Island and the democratic process.
Peter A. Holland, Chair of the Stevensville CAC
NOTE from KIDL Web Guy
- Here we go again, please reread this from Peter Holland:
"When I learned of Barry's shocking (to me anyway) comments, I then called him at his new job and he assured me that he would not be working on the WalMart project because of his prior involvement with the CAC." END QUOTE.
KIDL Web Guy says: Just another example of a former Q.A. county planning department employee "laying the groundwork" before leaving for another job, that is clearly a conflict of interest. Is what Barry Griffith did illegal? I don't think so. Is it unethical? You decide.
Does the reader know that Joe Stevens, who used to be IN CHARGE of the Planning Department, now represents K. Hovnanian (Four Seasons), Elm Street (Gibson's Grant) and other big developers? Is it illegal? I don't think so. Is it unethical? You decide.
It is time to clean this mess up, be sure to VOTE on Sept. 10TH!
UPDATED Sept. 11th. The Voters have spoken!! See ya incumbents!
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