Com­mis­sion­ers, please re­call the WCD

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Tony Du­nay, White Plains

The en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, Matt a woman Wa­ter­shed So­ci­ety (MWS), claim pas­sage of the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion District (WCD) down­zon­ing will pre­vent sprawl and crawl since more than 17,000 houses will not be built. Note that the WCD doesn’t af­fect ap­proved con­struc­tion.

Let’s try a lit­tle math. About 20 per­cent of the WCD is al­ready con­served acreage, so 80 per­cent of 37,000 acres yields 30,000 acres af­fected by the WCD. I’ll use the most lib­eral as­sump­tion pos­si­ble that all 30,000 acres the WCD en­com­passes is vir­gin for­est. So 30,000 acres/17,000 houses = less than 2 acres per house. Us­ing the same vir­gin for­est as­sump­tion and the cur­rent zon­ing of 10 acres/house, you could only build 3,000 houses. Down­zon­ing to 20 acres per house, you could build 1,500 houses. So the WCD could “the­o­ret­i­cally” pre­vent build­ing 1,500 houses (3,000 houses — 1,500 houses).

Clearly, their claim is wildly over­stated since the WCD would re­quire 20 acres/house. The MWS claim is hugely over­stated to in­ten­tion­ally mis­in­form the pub­lic and play to their ba­sic fears of un­con­trolled devel­op­ment, over­crowded schools and guar­an­teed en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter. Given the cur­rent devel­op­ment, con­served wet­lands and pub­lic in­fras­truc­ture within the WCD, I be­lieve pas­sage of the WCD may at best pre­vent the con­struc­tion of 700 to 800 homes.

The county com­mis­sion­ers, plan­ning commission and the MWS have cho­sen to ig­nore in­put from the Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tees, the lo­cal NAACP branch, Cham­ber of Com­merce, Mil­i­tary Al­liance Coun­cil, Western Charles County Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, the South­ern Mary­land Real­tors As­so­ci­a­tion, state house rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the over­whelm­ing pub­lic out­cry op­pos­ing the WCD de­valu­ing their prop­erty values with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

They also chose to ig­nore the Best Man­age­ment Prac­tices es­tab­lished in the Charles County Phase II Wa­ter­shed Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan (WIP) Strat­egy Fe­bru­ary 2013 and doc­u­ments sup­port­ing the state man­dated WIP to clean up the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Those be­ing: “1) ef­fec­tive­ness for wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment, 2) will­ing­ness among the pub­lic to adopt, and 3) im­ple­mentable in mul­ti­ple fa­cil­ity types with­out lim­i­ta­tions by zon­ing or other con­trols. These prac­tices are con­sis­tent with those cur­rently be­ing im­ple­mented by Charles County as part of wa­ter qual­ity im­prove­ment projects.”

The WIP pro­vides cost es­ti­mates for sev­eral ap­proaches to con­trol/ treat sur­face runoff, im­prov­ing sep­tic sys­tems and states “it is in­cum­bent upon the county gov­ern­ment to be good ste­wards of the tax­pay­ers’ money by be­ing as cost ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble in im­ple­ment­ing a load re­duc­tion strat­egy to meet the To­tal Max­i­mum Daily Load (TMDL) ... it is crit­i­cal to also ex­am­ine the ‘bang for the buck’ that each strat­egy pro­vides and en­sure that the County is max­i­miz­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the dol­lars spent.”

I won­der how many of our tax dol­lars were spent com­pil­ing these and sim­i­lar re­ports just so they could be ig­nored by our elected of­fi­cials? By ig­nor­ing all of the facts com­piled against adopt­ing the WCD down­zon­ing, our elected of­fi­cials and the MWS are pro­claim­ing their ig­no­rance.

1. http://www.mde.state.md.us/pro­grams/Wa­ter/TMDL/TMDLIm­ple­men­ta­tion/Doc­u­ments/FINAL_PhaseII_Re­port_Docs/Fi­nal_ Coun­ty_ WI P_ Nar­ra­tives/ Charles_ WI P II _2013. pdf

2. https://www.charle­scoun­tymd.gov/sites/de­fault/files/pgm/plan­ning/Wa­ter­shed/Mat­ta­woman Wa­ter­shed As­sess­ment _05.03.16. pdf

3. https://www.charle­scoun­tymd.gov/sites/de­fault/files/pgm/plan­ning/Wa­ter­shed/cc_restora­tion_­plan_6-27-16.pdf

Please reg­is­ter your op­po­si­tion to the WCD atwww. charles county. org/apps/pub­lic­com­ments and by at­tend­ing and voic­ing your op­po­si­tion at the com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing on the WCD on May 24 at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the county gov­ern­ment build­ing in La Plata.

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