Pro­posed down­zon­ing harm­ful to in­vest­ment, prop­erty rights of thou­sands

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

This let­ter is to the cit­i­zens of Charles County to in­form them all of the im­pend­ing change to the zon­ing map of Charles County that will af­fect more than 36,000 acres of land west of U.S. 301. Our elected county com­mis­sion­ers are go­ing to down­zone this acreage to the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict Zone. This pro­posed down­zon­ing by the com­mis­sion­ers will de­value ap­prox­i­mately 9,500 prop­er­ties and dis­en­fran­chise ap­prox­i­mately 7,500 prop­erty own­ers of their prop­erty rights. Many of these dis­en­fran­chised prop­erty own­ers are of lower in­come and many are mi­nori­ties. Their land, their in­vest­ment, their re­tire­ment, their fam­ily’s in­her­i­tance is be­ing de­val­ued at the whim of our elected lead­ers. This pro­posed change goes 180 de­grees against the Com­pre­hen­sive Plan. It was not rec­om­mended by the plan­ning com­mis­sion, or re­quested by the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

As a con­ser­va­tive I want clean air, clean wa­ter and clean land. I do not want to see any more cars on the high­ways ei­ther. How­ever I do not want this through leg­isla­tive ac­tion, at the whim of our elected of­fi­cials, and through out­sider in­flu­ence, that will de­value the prop­erty and de­stroy the prop­erty rights of my fel­low Charles County cit­i­zens. The com­mis­sion­ers have made a poor at­tempt to in­form those af­fected prop­erty own­ers of their im­pend­ing ac­tions. The prop­erty own­ers have a vested in­ter­est in this pro­posed change. Where is the trans­parency, ac­count- abil­ity or due process in our com­mis­sion­ers ac­tions?

All of the af­fected prop­er­ties have the potential for ex­pand­ing the tax base in our county. How­ever, with the pro­posed down­zon­ing, the tax base will con­tinue to be the cur­rent home and prop­erty own­ers. This at­tack on 7,500 prop­erty owner’s rights will also af­fect the prop­erty rights of ev­ery prop­erty owner in Charles County. The com­mis­sion­ers have no plans to stop the growth of the county gov­ern­ment. They, the com­mis­sion­ers, will con­tinue to in­crease the bud­get and hence­forth in­crease the prop­erty tax rate on all prop­erty own­ers of Charles County.

As a long term citizen of the county, I am ap­palled by the ac­tions of our elected of­fi­cials who would choose to deny some cit­i­zens of their prop­erty rights, while they al­low Docket 90 to run amuck. Who are our elected of­fi­cials to de­cide who has prop­erty rights, and who does not? If you are con­cerned you can join with me and meet on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Re­max Build­ing in White Plains to hear more of the facts from ex­perts con­cern­ing this down­zon­ing, and you can again join me on Jan. 9 at the com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing at 5:30 at the county build­ing in La Plata.

There is strength in num­bers. Let’s re­mind our elected of­fi­cials they work for all the peo­ple who elected them, not just for their spe­cial in­ter­est. Stephen Mat­tingly, Hugh­esville

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