Plan­ning com­mis­sion was right to alert res­i­dents to zone change

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

As pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors, rep­re­sent­ing more than 1,500 re­al­tors and 100 af­fil­i­ate mem­bers in the re­gion, on be­half of both our mem­ber­ship and all prop­erty own­ers in Charles County specif­i­cally, I want to com­mend the Charles County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion for ap­prov­ing and pass­ing the mo­tion to no­tify the af­fected prop­erty own­ers in the pro­posed Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion District, ZMA 16-54 Map by cer­ti­fied mail and hold­ing an­other pub­lic hear­ing. It stands within our mis­sion state­ment to sup­port the pro­tec­tion of pri­vate prop­erty rights and for al­most 600 mem­bers di­rectly in Charles County, their em­ploy­ees, fam­i­lies and clients, we feel the no­ti­fi­ca­tion and a fur­ther pub­lic hear­ing will al­low res­i­dents more time to un­der­stand the im­pli­ca­tions of this down­zone.

Re­peat­edly at the pub­lic hear­ing, we heard proud Charles County res­i­dents tes­tify sev­eral concerns in­clud­ing the re­al­iza­tion of loss of value to per­sonal prop­erty; ask­ing for the county to com­pen­sate call­ing upon due process as pro­tected by the Constitution; some asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion to who even was af­fected on the map. Tes­ti­mony was a per­fect sam­pling of what Charles County val­ues rep­re­sent: church lead­er­ship who bought land for their mem­bers to build a safe haven to wor­ship, fam­i­lies who plan to hand down homes to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and farm­ers who pro­vide a ser­vice to this county and its res­i­dents. Three to one, pub­lic out­cry was heard and we ap­plaud you for tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate first steps.

De­spite the good start, we have a jour­ney ahead of us. On be­half of prop­erty own­ers and our mem­ber­ship, we re­spect­fully re­quest, as did many res­i­dents of Charles County and sev­eral mem­bers of the plan­ning com­mis­sion, for a com­pre­hen­sive fis­cal anal­y­sis to bet­ter un­der­stand the af­fect these pro­posed changes will have on the county. Tax rev­enues, home val­ues, lost de­vel­op­ment and fu­ture hous­ing, no new busi­ness and ex­ist­ing busi­ness re­stric­tions, the air­port district — these need to be con­sid­ered when propos­ing such a mas­sive down­zone.

How­ever, we may be suc­cess­ful in help­ing the plan­ning com­mis­sion ed­u­cate the af­fected prop­erty own­ers and Charles County res­i­dents, shar­ing data of fis­cal in­for­ma­tion which al­ready ex­ists, please let us know. We are in this to­gether and all of us want what is best for the fu­ture of Charles County.

Lisa Van Tas­sel, Hugh­esville The writer is the pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors.

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