Posted 17 January 2018
Greg Bowen, a member of Keep Calvert Country (KCC) https://www.keepcalvertcountry.com/, Executive Director of the Chestnut Land Trust and former Director of the Calvert County Planning and Zoning Department, gave a thorough overview of issues that are lacking or non-existent in the current Proposed Comprehensive Plan (PCP) for the county. He listed 7 specific areas of concern.
1. Traffic – No traffic study is included or planned. With traffic expected to grow from 48,600 to 83,600 by 2030 an impact study needs to be made and included in the PCP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bErE0zA1ONU
2. Sewer – The PCP allows private or developer funded community sewer systems within and outside of residential areas. KCC recommends against this asking, if a system fails, will the cost fall to the county taxpayer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvZm6DM4qs8&t=145s
3. Build out limit removed - The limit of 37,000 new homes was based on the infrastructure capacity. Without a traffic impact study and infrastructure improvement implementation, KCC recommends this limit should remain. How much traffic can RT4/2 accommodate? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB2kKcyDEbk
4. Protecting Rural Landscape/TDR’s – please watch Mr. Bowen’s video for a good explanation of the PCP and the KCC’s recommendations. (I cannot summarize in a few sentences. HmB) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1iQgqp1MnE
(You can find a thorough explanation of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) here https://www.cga.ct.gov/2010/rpt/2010-R-0464.htm )
5. Town Centers Appearance recommendations removed - Chain stores receive variances on signs. KCC recommends not expanding Town Centers and leaving that up to zoning. Also, not permitting villages to expand across major arteries.
6. Missing sections in the PCP – The Heritage Section which was removed provided for identification and protection of scenic and/or historic roads, had requirements to ensure that new structures were compatible with nearby historic areas, and identification of cultural resources before site development. The Statement of Purpose declaring the comprehensive plan as an official document which informs and guides other documents and policies. The Government Section defining the government’s relationship with citizens and fiscal analysis responsibility. KCC recommends putting all of these sections back into the PCP.
7. Public process time frame is too aggressive. The PCP has been presented to the public before it has been completed. The consultant is looking at a two-year time schedule. Previous plans took about 5 years. There is not enough public input in the planning process. This should be a plan of the people and by the people.
Mr. Bowen recommends writing letters to encourage a slower approach and let officials know how you would like Calvert County to grow.