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Note from KIDL: We have received several emails from supporters expressing concern/outrage over the lame duck commissioners signing the Four Seasons Developers Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) one week after all three lost in the primary election.  We have decided it is not in the best interest of the community to circulate/forward these letters at this time as we do not want to make a touchy situation any worse.  We appreciate your concerns.

Four Seasons pact reached 

A week after being voted out of office, the Queen Anne's County Board of County Commissioners still holds the key to development. 

The lame-duck commissioners yesterday approved a contract with K. Hovnanian, the developer of the 1,350-home Four Seasons project, that requires the company to pay more than $20 million for improvements to county roads and water, sewer and emergency services. 

"Four years of negotiations has gotten us to this point," said Commissioners President George O'Donnell, D-Queenstown. "We think it's fair to take it into consideration this morning." 

The commissioners unanimously approved the "developer's rights and responsibilities agreement" in front of an audience, including five candidates who won in the Sept. 10 primary. 

Mr. O'Donnell and the other two current commissioners -- Marlene Davis, D-Queenstown, and John McQueeney, R-Stevensville -- lost to candidates who have vowed to do more to slow the rate of growth in the county. 

"I am very disappointed by the action of the commissioners," said audience member Gene Ransom, a Democrat running for the District 3 seat in the Nov. 5 election. 

"On (Sept. 10) the voters spoke, but their words continue to fall on deaf ears." 

Robert Foley, a Republican who is running against Mr. Ransom, said that if elected he will stop at nothing to block the project. 

"The carpetbagger developers and the county lackeys that pushed the Critical Area (approval for the Four Seasons project) by the citizens will be leaving our island very soon," said Mr. Foley, whose home is just across the street from the Four Seasons site. 

K. Hovnanian officials lauded the commissioners' vote. 

"At the same time, we look forward to working with the new Board of Commissioners on our seniors housing community as an example of how planned, responsible, controlled growth can benefit all of Queen Anne's County," said Mark D. Stemen, division president. 

The project must still go before the county Planning Commission for preliminary and final site plan approval. The board must hold a public hearing before granting approval. 

And none of this can happen until the county's building moratorium ends on Nov. 21. The six-month freeze, initiated by the commissioners, put the application process for building permits on hold for all large developers. 

Steve Cohoon, the county planner in charge of the project, said the planning board is not likely to get the project until next year. 

Mr. Cohoon said the county held several meetings and two public hearings in an effort to come up with an agreement that best benefits the county. 

"It's fair to say this is the most negotiated agreement in the history of the county," said Mr. O'Donnell. 

Published September 18, 2002, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. 
Copyright © 2002 The The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Note from KIDL:  "The six-month freeze, initiated by the commissioners, put the application process for building permits on hold for all large developers."  The freeze was on all new residential subdivision approvals, NOT building permits. 
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