Four Seasons Feed

We Won't Back Down Over Kent Island Development Project

Four seasonsYou may have heard: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is being excluded from a charity event because of our stance opposing a giant waterfront development project on Kent Island.

The decision to exclude us from the Chesapeake Bay Run is outrageous and silly, and we are not going to be intimidated. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation continues to stand strong against the proposed 1079-unit Four Seasons project on Kent Island. The project would be one of the largest developments ever proposed in an ecologically sensitive waterfront area of the Bay.

It’s not clear who was responsible for rejecting our involvement in the Chesapeake Bay Run, a 10- kilometer charity running event over the Bay Bridge planned for November 2014.  But apparently a small group of influential people in Queen Anne’s County who support the development took exception with our stance.

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Poll Shows Residents Oppose Waterfront Development

Four seasonsA new poll shows that a majority of voters in Kent Island and Queen Anne's County are opposed to the 1079-unit Four Seasons development project proposed for Kent Island.

On the island, opponents outnumber supporters by more than 2-1, with 61 percent opposing the project and 26 percent supporting it, according to a public opinion poll by Public Opinion Strategies commissioned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Queen Anne's Conservation Association. In Queen Anne's County, 52 percent oppose the project, and 34 percent support it.

"There can be no doubt now how the public feels about this massive project. It is one of the largest development projects ever proposed in Maryland within an ecologically sensitive waterfront area. Will someone listen to the will of the people? The state Board of Public Works must deny the project's pending wetlands permit, and county commissioners must take Four Seasons back to the drawing board," said Alison Prost, Maryland Director of CBF.

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Queen Anne's County Approves Massive Development on Bay Island

Four Seasons protesterDespite overwhelming opposition from the public, the Queen Anne County Commission on Tuesday voted 3-2 in favor of moving ahead with a massive waterfront housing development on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

The county’s approval of a revised development agreement for the Four Seasons project means the proposed subdivision will head back to the Maryland Board of Public Works for reconsideration of a wetlands permit. 

In 2007, the state board, led by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, denied a wetlands permit for New Jersey-based Hovnanian Enterprises to build 1,350 homes on the site, 556 acres of farmland and trees beside the Chester River north of Route 50 in Stevensville.  But then the Maryland Court of Appeals last year overturned the state’s denial, saying the board had considered too broad a range of issues -– and was legally required to focus only on the question of whether wetlands could be destroyed.

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Bay Island Residents Protest: "The Community Just Can't Handle This Density of Development!"

Four seasons protestersAlmost 500 people packed a public hearing last night to voice their opinions about a proposed 1,079-home waterfront development on Kent Island that would pave fields and forests and add pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.
 
About three quarters of the 50 speakers at Kent Island High School said they oppose the Four Seasons project on 425 acres of farmland beside the Chester River, north of Route 50 in Stevensville, Maryland.
 
Local residents said they worry about runoff pollution, flooding from sea level rise, traffic jams on an already congested island road system, inadequate fire and ambulance service, and a perception that local government is more focused on quick money from construction than the long-term quality of life for Kent Island voters.

Four Seasons meeting full house“We’ve made our opinions known on many occasions, and yet we don’t seem to be getting answers,” complained Mark Nitkoski of Stevensville.  “We recognize clearly the need to save the Bay. We
recognize clearly the need for our wildlife to have a home. And we don’t want to see our way of life ruined.”
 
On the other side of the argument over the massive development project, the New Jersey-based Hovnanian Enterprises development company, the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce, and their supporters argued the county should move ahead with the long-debated project because it will mean money for local businesses and construction jobs.

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Rally Today Against Waterfront Sprawl

SprawlCHESAPEAKEBAYPROGRAMA reminder to all who love the Bay:  Please show up at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) for a rally against sprawl that pollutes the Chesapeake.  Location: Kent Island High School, ADDRESS CORRECTION: 900 Love Point Road in Stevensville, Maryland.  Bring signs and raise your voice against the ill-conceived Four Seasons  project during the meeting of the Queen Anne’s County Commission.

Say “No!” to waterfront overdevelopment!  Say “Yes” to a healthy Chesapeake and smart planning!

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Advocates Plan Sept. 17 Rally Against Waterfront Mega-Development

Four seasons map (brighter)Here’s an invitation to everyone who cares about the Chesapeake Bay:  Please help us defeat a massive, ill-conceived waterfront development project on Kent Island that will blacktop farm fields and create more runoff pollution into the Bay.
 
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is urging everyone to turn out at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (September 17) for a meeting of the Queen Anne’s County Commission at Kent Island High School, 671 Romancoke Road in Stevensville, Maryland. 
 
Bring signs, banners, and voices opposing the proposed Four Seasons project. Why?  Because the development would mean more suburban sprawl and traffic jams on an already crowded and fragile island.  Please email CBF organizer Bess Trout btrout@cbf.org to let her know you can attend.  She’ll be in touch with you with more information. You can also click here to learn more.
 
Here’s the background:  For more than a decade, New Jersey-based developer Hovnanian Enterprises has been trying to build more than 1,000 houses and condominiums in an environmentally critical waterfront area near the mouth of the Chester River, north of Route 50 in Stevensville.

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Pictures Show Chesapeake Bay Waterfront Threatened by New Jersey Developer

Four seasons development siteWhat do you see in this picture? The blue waters of the mouth of the Chester River, as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. A scenic shoreline on Kent Island, with a  tree casting a shadow beside a farm field. Clouds drifting peacefully overhead.
 
Here's what you don’t see:  1,079 houses and condominiums that New Jersey-based developer Hovnanian Enterprises is proposing to build right here, blacktopping much of this waterfront scenery.

This photo –- and the massive Four Seasons housing project planned here, north of Route 50 in Stevensville, Maryland --  is an illustration of weaknesses in Maryland’s environmental and land-use laws.  The development may be one of the largest ever built within 1,000 feet of the Chesapeake Bay since the 1984 passage of Maryland’s landmark Critical Areas law, which is supposed to protect waterfront areas.

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Waterfront Mega Development is Back, Despite Violations by Builder

Map of Four SeasonsMore than 1,000 new homes are proposed in an environmentally critical area beside the Chesapeake Bay, on Kent Island, in Maryland.

The developer of the proposed Four Seasons project, the New Jersey-based  Hovnanian Enterprises, is promising to be responsible about handling stormwater pollution that will pour off the huge waterfront project. But three years ago, Hovnanian was forced to pay a $1 million fine to EPA because of stormwater violations at 591 development sites, including 161 in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, according to the federal agency.

The development on the small, increasingly crowded island doesn’t make sense –- from an environmental perspective, or from a planning viewpoint. Kent Island is already overwhelmed with sprawl, and the low-lying development site next to the mouth of the Chester River is vulnerable to flooding, especially with sea level rise.

A more than decade-long war over the Four Seasons project flared up again yesterday at the Maryland Board of Public Works.  After hearing more than five hours of testimony, Governor Martin O’Malley and state officials sent the project back down to the Queen Anne’s County to resolve questions about land preservation and permitting before the state will consider a license to destroy wetlands for the construction.

Baker testifyingWill Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (right), was among several people who advised the board not to approve the wetlands license. “We work in six states at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Maryland has always been a leader,” Baker said.  “But I don’t know of any other state that has a project of this scope, and importance, and potential damage to the Bay or its tributary rivers.”

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