You 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.
It should be noted that a solid majority of Kent Island residents oppose the Four Seasons project, a fact we learned when we polled voters in Queen Anne's County in partnership with the Queen Anne's Conservation Association.
Think about it: What else should a clean water organization do but oppose a project like this? Should we close our eyes and pretend nothing is wrong when fields and trees next to the Bay are targeted for blacktop and sprawl? Of course not. We have an obligation to take a stand against poorly-planned development projects like the Four Seasons, no matter what the fallout.
It is our job to try to prevent the kind of runoff pollution that would pour into the Bay from the massive development project. Indeed, it is the obligation of the local and state governments to do the same. EPA pollution limits for the Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint require this kind of vigilance against increased pollution.
An application for a state wetlands permit for the Four Seasons project, which has been proposed for more than a decade and the subject of court battles and widespread citizen anger, recently was put on hold by the Maryland Board of Public Works, while state officials examine the financial relationship of some of the parties involved.
This kind of scrutiny is healthy. Maryland officials should look long and hard at Four Seasons, and the long history of runoff pollution violations by its developer (the New Jersey-based K. Hovnanian Homes).
This is the wrong development in the wrong place. Let us know you stand with us against this reckless waterfront project by signing our petition.
By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation