Commissioners, please recall the WCD
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
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.