Charles County Feed

Southern Maryland County Sells Out Forested Lands to Development Lobby

Development  Tom Zolper CBFIt is shortsighted to pave the Chesapeake region’s farms and forests for quick cash. But that, tragically, is where the road is heading in Southern Maryland -– to a landscape with more Taco Bells than tobacco barns, and more strip malls than streams full of yellow perch.

Development interests in Charles County formed a  cynically-named lobbying group called the “Balanced Growth Initiative” that has gained political influence over a slim majority of the Board of Charles County Commissioners.

On Tuesday, that majority voted 3-2 to approve a planning map that shifts 9,000 acres out of a conservation area and into a classification for future development.  The vote defied the opinions of  a clear majority of county residents and opens the door for more sprawling development across the County’s forest lands.

“This sends the absolute worst message imaginable,” Commissioner Ken Robinson said, according to a report in the (Southern Maryland) Independent.

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Southern Maryland County Considers Opening 150,000 Acres to Development

DevelopmentCHESAPEAKEBAYPROGRAMA major decision is at hand: whether to pave or protect large parts of southern Maryland’s farmlands and forests.

At 7 p.m. tonight (Oct. 29), the Charles County government is holding a public hearing at the county government building, at 200 Baltimore Street in La Plata. The topic of discussion will be a revision to the county’s long-term land-use plan proposed by developers and their allies that would strip protections from 150,000 acres of forests and farms and open the land to development.

UPDATE ON Nov. 1:  "Opponents of Charles County’s draft comprehensive plan update outnumbered supporters 3-to-1 Tuesday evening during a marathon, five-hour public hearing that left at least one county commissioner open to compromise," the Maryland Independent newspaper reported. 

Commissioner Ken Robinsin told the newspaper: "I was incredibly impressed by the turnout and by how particularly articulate and organized the opposition to the comp plan was... I honestly cannot predict what my colleagues will do. I hope they realize since they have slept on it since Tuesday that the citizens are overwhelmingly opposed to this plan."

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