Thanks to two com­mis­sion­ers fight­ing WCD

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - South­ern Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors, Hugh­esville

Af­ter an eight-month-long bat­tle on be­half of Charles County prop­erty own­ers and busi­nesses, last month the Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers voted to ap­prove the pro­posed wa­ter­shed con­ser­va­tion dis­trict, an act which will down­zone 9,500 homes and 36,000 acres.

Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Pres­i­dent Amanda Ste­wart (D) made the mo­tion which was sec­onded by Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D), and the fi­nal vote was 3-2 with Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D)round­ing it out. Through­out the process, both Com­mis­sion­ers Debra Davis (D) and Bobby Rucci (D)have spo­ken out strongly against the pro­posal and chose to rec­og­nize the out­pour­ing of res­i­dents and com­mu­nity groups in op­po­si­tion up to the very last mo­ment.

The South­ern Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors has been in­volved in the process since the first hear­ing in Novem­ber, tes­ti­fy­ing against the pro­pos­als — in fact, at the first hear­ing, it was SMAR lead­er­ship who re­quested the Charles County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion to no­tify the af­fected prop­erty own­ers. In ad­di­tion, we have re­quested an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial im­pact study at ev­ery sub­se­quent hear­ing and pub­lic record sub­mis­sion.

Since the first hear­ing, we have

cre­ated a web­site gar­ner­ing hun­dreds of let­ters in op­po­si­tion to the pro­posal from lo­cal res­i­dents which were di­rectly sent to the com­mis­sion­ers. Our so­cial me­dia pages were flooded with res­i­dents who learned about the pro­posal from us, and de­spite only hav­ing a fol­low­ing of about 1,500 peo­ple, we have had well over 30,000 at­tend to our WCD posts and share. The data alone will serve us well in 2018 as we elect those who put its res­i­dents first.

A mes­sage to all Charles County prop­erty own­ers: we will not give up and you should not ei­ther. We are iden­ti­fy­ing all ac­tions of re­course at ev­ery level to rec­tify this sit­u­a­tion for the di­rectly af­fected own­ers to all prop­erty own­ers in Charles who will be forced to pay for the in­creased costs (take a look at your fu­ture pub­lic wa­ter and sewer rates, for ex­am­ple).

To the busi­ness com­mu­nity, we are work­ing with your lead­ers and for you. Many of our small busi­ness owner mem­bers — fam­ily-owned busi­nesses who have been in Charles for gen­er­a­tions — have joined the bat­tle. No pro­posal in Charles has brought more groups to­gether than the wa­ter­shed con­ser­va­tion dis­trict; we are proud to be an in­te­gral part of this com­mu­nity be­cause we, too, live and work here. We, too, are rais­ing our fam­i­lies here.

Lastly, to Com­mis­sion­ers Debra Davis and Bobby Rucci: we salute you.

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