FO­RUM

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Obit­u­ar­ies -

DiMag­gio, Demo­cratic can­di­date for Dis­trict 4, did not. The dis­cus­sion was mod­er­ated by Greg Far­ley, new direc­tor of sus­tain­abil­ity at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege, and ad­dressed ques­tions sub­mit­ted by the au­di­ence, as well as con­cerns re­lat­ing to the health of the Bay and Ch­e­sa­peake wa­ter­shed.

In re­gards to the Com­pre­hen­sive Plan, which is sched­uled to be re­viewed dur­ing the next term, in­cum­bent Dis­trict 1 Com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son, a Repub­li­can, noted peo­ple aren’t pound­ing down the doors to put larger busi­nesses in Queen Anne’s. Deb­o­rah Krueger, Demo­crat for Dis­trict 4, and Ben Til­gh­man, Demo­crat for Dis­trict 2, said retrofitting ex­ist­ing va­cant build­ings and com­mer­cial spa­ces and in-fill­ing should be con­sid­ered first be­fore mov­ing growth away from th­ese ar­eas.

“Paving over farm­land is not the way to go,” said Elaine Har­ri­son, Demo­crat for AtLarge. Con­sid­er­ing the health of the Bay and its vi­tal­ness to the seafood in­dus­try is also a top con­cern, said Har­ri­son, a Kent Is­land res­i­dent.

Bal­anc­ing eco­nomic growth and en­vi­ron­ment is also a con­cern for the county. With the Com­pre­hen­sive Plan, we have strict en­vi­ron­men­tal guide­lines that must be ad­hered to and well trained staff that can and do help ad­here to th­ese guide­lines, said for­mer Com­mis­sioner Philip Du­me­nil, Repub­li­can for Dis­trict 3.

Mak­ing the most use of re­sources avail­able is an area of pri­or­ity for Jim Coul­ter, Demo­crat for Dis­trict 3, he said. Coul­ter noted a farm of just 100 acres that is cur­rently be­ing used for pro­duc­tive or­ganic farm­ing. He said he would like to see fewer WaWas and re­cruit busi­nesses that could bet­ter fit the county.

The can­di­dates unan­i­mously agreed to con­tinue sup­port­ing the Clean Ch­e­sa­peake Coali­tion, en­cour­ag­ing states north to par­tic­i­pate and be held ac­count­able for their con­tri­bu­tions to pol­lu­tion and run-off.

There is a strength in num­bers, said Krueger. With the Susque­hanna River a prin­ci­pal con­trib­u­tor to pol­lu­tion, there is a need to put the arm on Penn­syl­va­nia, said in­cum­bent Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Steve Wil­son, Repub­li­can.

The Wa­ter­shed Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan was an­other topic Far­ley posed to the can­di­dates. The can­di­dates were fa­vor of see­ing farm­ers re­ceive cred­its for plac­ing so­lar ar­rays on their land, with only Til­gh­man dis­sent­ing.

WIP cred­its should be given to farms for ni­tro­gen and phos­pho­rus re­duc­tion in the Bay, said Jack Wil­son, but the state has set no es­tab­lished goal for the WIP and needs to pro­vide those guide­lines. He added the county has been na­tion­ally rec­og­nized for its ef­forts with the Kent Is­land Sewer Project and the amount of ni­tro­gen that kept out of the Bay with the new sewer ser­vice.

In­cum­bent At-Large Com­mis­sioner Jim Moran said the county has al­ready put in place pro­vi­sions that larger so­lar ar­rays be planned within two miles of the grid to get power to the grid most ef­fec­tively. There is also a 2,000-acre cap set within the county guide­lines for so­lar ar­rays, and struc­tures placed on farms are bonded and so would come down af­ter 25 years, he said.

The group also took on the topic of plas­tic re­duc­tion strate­gies and were split on leg­isla­tive en­force­ment and fines to con­trol the use of items such as plas­tic bags and straws ver­sus per­sonal ac­count­abil­ity and busi­ness choice over what prod­uct to use.

Har­ri­son said she be­lieves start­ing within lo­cal gov­ern­ment agen­cies, switch­ing to biodegrad­able prod­ucts. She sup­ports the Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups or­ga­ni­za­tion and of­fered what she pro­posed as an in­no­va­tive idea to place mesh bags at storm drains. “It is not a time to reg­u­late, but ed­u­cate,” she said.

Chris Corchiarino, Repub­li­can for Dis­trict 4, ad­vo­cated busi­nesses mak­ing those de­ci­sions on their own. He said he wants to see small busi­nesses grow and thrive in the county, not be hin­dered by ex­cess reg­u­la­tions.

Du­me­nil said there is science that can be used to come up with more biodegrad­able so­lu­tions, no more plas­tic six-pack rings, gro­cery bags stuck wav­ing in trees. He would like to see th­ese is­sues ad­dressed at a state and fed­eral level.

While other can­di­dates said they would be pre­pared to hear both sides of the ar­gu­ment and make a de­ci­sion best suited to busi­nesses and the en­vi­ron­ment, Moran was adamant that he would “just out­law (the use of plas­tics, straws, etc) it.”

The dis­cus­sion cir­cled back to the Com­pre­hen­sive Plan look­ing at plans for open and pre­served spa­ces, with the can­di­dates sup­port­ing preser­va­tion of the county’s ru­ral ex­is­tence and also con­sid­er­ing ris­ing sea lev­els dur­ing the next Com­pre­hen­sive Plan re­view.

The Com­pre­hen­sive Plan is a trans­par­ent process with a di­verse group of peo­ple giv­ing in­put, said Jack Wil­son. With the pop­u­la­tion of the county up only 1,800 peo­ple in eight years, the plan has done a good job con­trol­ling growth, he said.

It is a doc­u­ment that should a rise from the pub­lic, said Til­gh­man, a great op­por­tu­nity to get eco­nomic growth go­ing in the north end of the county with the 301 by­pass, but only if wanted by the pop­u­la­tion. He noted wa­ter and sewer is not in place there yet.

Traf­fic is an of­ten avoided sub­ject, said Moran, but it must be ad­dressed, the same with global warm­ing. The plan needs to be well thought out by those with ex­pe­ri­ence, he added.

“We can en­cour­age growth in not fo­cus­ing on just one area,” said Corchiarino.

Steve Wil­son said the plan “arises from peo­ple not from us, we want to hear opin­ions from within the com­mu­nity.”

Du­me­nil said the plan faces a litany of changes but has main­tained a vi­sion of quin­tes­sen­tial ru­ral com­mu­nity with eco­nomic growth. How much change is wanted by north­ern end of county should ul­ti­mately be con­sid­ered when ad­dress­ing that area of the county, he said. Over­all, the plan should be eas­ier and sim­pler to read, with ver­sions made avail­able to the pub­lic that are eas­ier to un­der­stand, he added.

A record­ing of the fo­rum is avail­able on the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion’s web­site, www.cbf.org.

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