Growth/Land Use Feed

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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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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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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While Building Market Sleeps, Some Counties Are Busy Encouraging Future Sprawl

SprawlThere may not be a lot of homes or businesses being built in the current real estate market, but there are major attempts to open farmland for developers when they’re ready.   

In Maryland at least, a new but untested state law might be the best defense against land speculators’ further incursion into the countryside.

A group of environmental groups and property owners filed a lawsuit Thursday, Dec. 8, against the county commissioners of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, to stop the latest attempt by some local governments to pave over our rural landscape.

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The Future in the Balance: Community vs. Sprawl

Cambridge etc. 063 The next few days may determine the future of Cambridge, Maryland. 

The Cambridge City Council will decide, perhaps as early as Monday, whether to chart a new course for the Eastern Shore town's economic development away from strip malls, chain restaurants, and sprawl, and toward a healthy downtown.

The city’s planning commission has offered a new blueprint for the city, a Comprehensive Plan that proposes to revitalize Cambridge from the inside. The plan envisions micro-financing loans to encourage downtown entrepreneurs, as well as training and mentoring; development along the downtown waterfront; improved streets and intersections for bikers and walkers; and a "green belt" around the city beyond which no development will be allowed, as well as other measures.

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A different sort of populist revolt; Cambridge demands smart growth

Progress toward a cleaner Chesapeake Bay can’t always be measured in nutrient loads alone.  In Cambridge, MD positive change seems to have occurred at a certain boiling point of citizen upset.
Cambridge is a small Eastern Shore city on the banks of the Choptank River that gained notoriety only a few years ago for approving a massive resort development near the fragile Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Now the city is becoming a beacon of green civic consciousness.

"It’s almost like a 180-degree change," says Bill Giese, a community activist.

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