Planners: No more development without adequate facilities
Move falls in line with commissioners
In January, the Charles County Board of Commissioners voted to discontinue granting development rights and responsibilities agreements without having adequate public facilities — such as water systems, roads and school space — for subsequent development.
On Monday evening, the Charles County Planning Commission decided to follow suit after a short public hearing on the matter. Planning Commission Chairman Buddy Bowling said since the county’s board of commissioners already voted in favor of the policy, closing the public record and moving it back to the commissioner’s offices would cement the zoning into law.
Planning commission members Nancy Schertler and Robin Barnes both agreed with Bowling that the county needed to show consistency on the matter and closing the public record after the public hearing would be necessary.
The commission voted 6-1 with Planning Commissioner Wayne Magoon being the lone vote of descent. text amendment
“If this is something we need to do to be consistent with what the county commissioners have already done, I’m not sure we do need to keep the record open,” Schertler said.
Barnes said it is a matter that they keep things consistent with the rest of the county government.
Deputy County Attorney Elizabeth Theobalds said the amendment prevents the county from approving any developer rights and responsibilities agreements without having adequate public facilities for any development being planned.
Essentially, Theobalds said, if there is an agreement it must be done with the consideration of roads, schools and the water supply system in the area. If those facilities are not adequate enough, she said, the county will not grant the permit.
“This policy will do away with [developer’s rights and responsibilities agreements] without having the adequate public facilities for them,” Theobalds said. “Our process builds into it with regular checks and reports. This particularly addresses developer’s rights and responsibilities agreements.”
Peggy Ireland, a Charles County citizen from Indian Head Manor, said the issue of having adequate public facilities and supplies before any development is essential to preserving county neighborhoods.
Making sure children are properly educated is a priority, Ireland said, adding that having them learning in proper and adequate facilities is part of that.
When Ireland first moved into Indian Head Manor years ago, she said, she had neighbors with children who were being educated in temporary classrooms. Because developments were approved without adequate space in the schools they were zoned for, Ireland said, students had to be moved into those classrooms.
“It’s not the best learning environment. It’s not the best activities for these kids,” Ireland said.
Having the right public facilities for children is important for the future of the county, Ireland said, and the zoning text amendment being discussed addresses that issue.
The issue is something “important enough” to come out and speak on, she said.
“So having the right facilities for our children and for our future is something that is being addressed in this. It’s something important enough for us to have someone out here.”