WCD sup­port­ers of­fer only warm, fuzzy ex­pla­na­tions as ra­tio­nale

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I feel it’s nec­es­sary to de­fend my as­ser­tions in the “Com­mis­sion­ers, please re­call the WCD” based on in­for­ma­tion in the “Let­ter was in­cor­rect on wa­ter­shed claims” (Mary­land In­de­pen­dent, May 24).

The Mat­ta­woman Wa­ter­shed So­ci­ety (MWS) web­page clearly states that pas­sage of the WCD down­zon­ing will pre­vent sprawl and crawl as 17,000-plus units will not be built. Even though a real es­tate group ini­tially claimed 17,000, it’s aca­demic as the WMS cites the same num­ber.

The let­ter goes on to claim that 24,000-plus units could be built. These num­bers as­sume that all prop­erty own­ers will build on ev­ery avail­able acre and serve to gen­er­ate sup­port from their mem­bers and the pub­lic. My let­ter used an ex­tremely min­i­mal­ist as­sump­tion that only 20-acre lots would be de­vel­oped. The in­tent was to em­pha­size the fact that no­body knows how many units will be built, so there is no means to quan­ti­ta­tively de­ter­mine what en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fect the WCD would pro­vide.

I had read the “Charles County Mu­nic­i­pal Stormwa­ter Restora­tion Plan To Achieve Stormwa­ter Waste Load Al­lo­ca­tions And Im­per­vi­ous Sur­face Restora­tion” (www.charle­scoun­tymd.gov/ sites/de­fault/files/pgm/plan­ning/Wa­ter­shed/cc_restora­tion_­plan_6-27-16), and it builds on the county’s Wa­ter­shed Im­prove­ment Pro­gram (WIP) and its as­sump­tions: “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.”

The fol­low­ing ex­cerpts are from the Restora­tion Plan: “Fu­ture ur­ban sec­tor growth and the an­tic­i­pated in­crease in ur­ban loads that may re­sult are ex­pected to be con­trolled by two el­e­ments: stormwa­ter man­age­ment to the MEP that is re­quired with new devel­op­ment, and an­tic­i­pated ‘Ac­count­ing for Growth’ poli­cies; growth and devel­op­ment is ex­pected to oc­cur through­out Charles County, and de­pend­ing on when and where this growth oc­curs, pol­lu­tant load­ing from ur­ban stormwa­ter sources may also in­crease. It is an­tic­i­pated that new devel­op­ment will make use of En­vi­ron­men­tal Site De­sign (ESD) stormwa­ter treat­ment ac­cord­ing to MDE’s Stormwa­ter Reg­u­la­tions; the es­ti­mates were com­pleted at the coun­ty­wide scale (i.e., sum of all wa­ter­sheds) and for the Mat­ta­woman Creek wa­ter­shed; by re­duc­ing the ad­verse ef­fects of stormwa­ter runoff through­out the county, this Restora­tion Plan should im­prove the con­di­tion of county streams and wa­ter­sheds over time; the aware­ness and par­tic­i­pa­tion of all county cit­i­zens is the cor­ner­stone of a united ef­fort to reach­ing restora­tion goals,” and sec­tion 1.8 Best Man­age­ment Prac­tices (BMP) doesn’t in­clude re­zon­ing. The spe­cious claim that the Restora­tion Plan will not meet EPA re­quire­ments is based on county ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures with set times needed to ad­ver­tise for and hire con­trac­tors for ESDs and the ESDs’ es­ti­mated costs, not the spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions of the Restora­tion Plan.

I note 13 or­ga­ni­za­tions, elected state/ lo­cal of­fi­cials and a vast ma­jor­ity of county cit­i­zens at­tend­ing pub­lic hear­ings ve­he­mently op­pos­ing the WCD based on both lost prop­erty value and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties — col­lec­tively, an im­pres­sive cross sec­tion of the county at large. Sup­port comes from the WMS and a small num­ber of county en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists we­spous­ing the ex­treme doc­trine of preser­va­tion at any cost.

Pay­ing for the sins of our fa­thers to clean up all the wa­ter­sheds feed­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay is a re­al­ity that I sup­port, but that plan must be com­pre­hen­sive, use BMPs and spread the costs equally among all cit­i­zens in the bay’s wa­ter­shed area. The WCD sim­ply im­poses dra­co­nian re­quire­ments in a ran­domly se­lected area on 9,000-plus county landown­ers only of­fer­ing warm and fuzzy ex­pla­na­tions as their ra­tio­nale.

Tony Du­nay, White Plains

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