to Planning Commissioners – January 25, 2006
Chester/Stevensville Community Plan
I have tried to follow this whole CAC process because I am very concerned about my community. I was able to attend some of the CAC meetings as a spectator. But unfortunately I could not afford to take the time off from work to attend the more recent Planning Commission work sessions.
I was able to read a typed transcript of your October 13 work session. I understand it cost more than $255 to get this – and I can’t afford to do that either. So I’ll take a second here to ask that your meetings be taped for the public. Now I’ve missed out on all the discussion of how my community plan has gotten to its present form.
When the transcript was produced, the speakers are mostly identified as “unidentified male (or female) voice”. As I read through it, in some instances it was possible to recognize who made certain statements – and I would like to publicly thank Commissioner Gene Ransom, Rodger Weese and Frank Frohm for their comments and support of the citizens’ plan during the October 13 work session.
One specific comment from that work session that I believe was made by Rodger Weese, referred to the previous 1997 plan – the comment was that he thought the people were going to get exactly what they didn’t want and that he had testified before the commissioners at that time that the infrastructure had been ignored during the process. He continued that to a large degree it is still being ignored. Then back in August of 2000, there was an article in the Bay Times “planner warns of traffic gridlock”, quoting Rodger Weese that “we could be ruining Kent Island with traffic problems.”
Now it’s 2006 - you have had much discussion that this plan needs to be “forward looking” and not dwell on the past. But a lot has happened in the past. And just like when you are driving on Route 50, it is smart to drive defensively and keep an eye on what’s behind you as well as what’s in front of you. My feeling is that it is important to keep a record of what went wrong in the past – so you can move forward positively and not repeat the same mistakes.
I would like to thank all of you for supporting the Design Guidelines. They are very important and it would have been really great to have them sooner.
I just don’t know how ANYONE can make a statement that it is NO GROWTH when there are over 1800 lots already approved for an island that already has a traffic capacity issue (Four Seasons, Gibson’s Grant, Ellendale). As a resident of Route 8 south, I am very aware of the number of units that could be placed in the existing growth areas. I am also painfully aware of what will happen with a sewer line coming down Route 8 and the resulting in-fill growth that no one can figure how to absorb. Already many times we have to deal with an incident occurring on Route 50 or the Bay Bridge when Route 8 becomes backed up for 5 miles and there is no where to go except back home. It is my firm belief that the Planning Department MUST take the geographic realities of Kent Island seriously.
Specifically, I support reducing the growth area around Route 8 by removing McKee and Kent Manor Inn properties. I have extremely grave concerns however about expanding the planning area to include Camp Wright because (as quoted from the Bay Times) “a number of cabins along the Bay front may eventually need sewer”. During the 1997 plan an 800 pound gorilla got into the tent when the CAC was presented with the plan for a golf course and 400 homes that was then zoned Master Plan Development and turned into the Four Seasons with 1,350 homes. How big might the camel turn out to be that gets its big fat nose into the Camp Wright cabin? Camp Wright is not required to be included since Matapeake qualifies as a stand-alone PFA. Please do not include the Camp Wright property in the Planning area with any possibility of sewer.
I also learned from the transcript of the October work session that the zoning will be a legislative decision that is the implementation of the goals, objectives and VISIONS established by the community plan. Please include the Citizens’ Vision in the main body of the text. It’s really important. Don’t let it be lost in the appendix.
I would also urge that the language used in the final plan be strong enough and clear enough so that it can be enforced, not ignored, overlooked or disregarded. This has happened to the citizens too many times and we just don’t have the resources to do this ourselves.
Every time I catch a glimpse of the boats or a sunset on the bay or cross over the Kent Narrows Bridge I am awestruck, even after all these years, by the breathtaking vistas. We just cannot let that slip away from us. We are truly a special place and this must be recognized now before it is too late. Please include very strong language and emphasis on the green-belt areas. This is every bit as important as the design guidelines.
Terry Babb, Stevensville, MD
firstname.lastname@example.org (mail to this address goes to all 5 Commissioners)
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