WCD supporters offer only warm, fuzzy explanations as rationale
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