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St. Mary’s County Listening Sessions, November 28, 2017

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism ♦ Concerns Over Previous Mandates ♦ Public Services ♦ Mapping Support ♦ Demographics ♦ Concern over Growth Tier Map requirements ♦ Economic Development ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure ♦ Engaging the Public and Volunteerism ♦ Transportation  ♦ Environment  ♦ Community  ♦ Funding  ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ General

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Regionalism

St. Mary’s 2017 rural county populations don’t equal Prince George’s County, so we don’t have the (funding base for) water and sewer infrastructure.”

St. Mary’s County is not Baltimore City. It has unique issues and mandates should be made with rural counties in mind.

State rules don’t fit well for St. Mary’s County.

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Concerns Over Previous Mandates

More State bureaucracy has been forced upon the county.

County does not want water and sewer mandates.

The PFA was shoved down our throats.

We can’t plan our own growth; we have to rely on the State.

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Public Services

SDAT and Veterans Affairs offices should be made available locally and not have to travel to Baltimore to get these services.

Mapping Support

ESRI GIS mapping is not always useable, more attention is needed to include layers that are relevant to our needs.

St. Mary’s wants to have a public GIS system comparable to PGAtlas.

Many small jurisdictions cannot afford GIS licenses or do not have the skilled technicians.

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Demographics

The senior population will increase 250% by 2030.

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Concern over Growth Tier Map requirements

The northern part of the county doesn’t have the same development issues as the rest of the county. The Septic Law has stymied growth in the county.

We need to grow outside the County’s Development District. We can’t go to a tiered septic system because of all the Critical Areas and unbuildable land in the county.

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Economic Development

Economic development and a clean environment go hand in hand. St. Mary’s needs jobs and a good economy to pay for open space and a clean environment.

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Housing

There is not enough affordable housing for everyone who needs it.

Housing is the most important quality of life issue because it affects people of all ages.

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Infrastructure

Mapping of broadband coverage through the Maryland Broadband Cooperative is not complete.

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Engaging the Public and Volunteerism

Great volunteers from all organizations, but it’s often hard to get people to commit to volunteering.

Hard to fill positions for Historic Preservation Board, Planning Commission, Board of Appeals.

There are several great volunteer organizations in the County that are making positive change, i.e., “Christmas in April.” This volunteer organization assists needy families with essential home repairs year-round. There are other great organizations in the areas, such as the United Way, St. Mary’s River Watershed Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, volunteer fire departments, and the Lions Club.

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Transportation

St. Mary’s County is growing rapidly with many transportation choke points.

The County lost significant Highway User Revenue, and have not been able to maintain roads as needed.

MDOT needs to assist with better transportation in the county.

Traffic on the Thomas Johnson Bridge is not going to get any better, especially when the bicycle lane is between two merging lanes. This is very dangerous.

There are bottlenecks from St. Mary’s into Charles on Highways 5 and 235.

Highway 301 bridge gets priority because it has a $2 toll.

Transportation is the County’s biggest challenge.

Transportation is a difficult problem to solve, Pax River military base is a huge generator of military traffic.

Transportation congestion around the military base is almost like DC at 3 pm.

Scheduled transportation options are needed by all age groups (i.e. buses for school activities, etc.).

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Environment

St. Mary’s natural environment is the County’s biggest asset.

St. Mary’s County has 467 square miles of land and 550 miles of Critical Area shoreline. This is a barrier for development of the County.

Green energy is problematic. Subsidizing wind turbines and solar panels cost taxpayers’ money.

Renewable energy goals are problematic (too high).

Oystermen who put their cages along the shoreline in public waterways are negatively impacting property owner’s waterfront views during low tide.

The Department of Natural Resources is an industrial complex, promoting oyster farming.

St. Mary’s has a lot of Resource Conservation Area, at a ratio of 1:20 acres, which is already preserved.

Water and sewer infrastructure is problematic with the County’s unique geography and soils, primarily rural.

Landfills are a big challenge facing the County.

Concerned that the federal budget will stop funding Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.

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Community

St. Mary’s development is not very walkable.

Along FDR Boulevard (in Lexington Park), the County is paying for sidewalk improvements.

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Funding

A Better Maryland should address funding for local initiatives.

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

People come from other counties to shop here (because we have big box stores), but don’t pay taxes to help support the services used by the retail visitors.

Crime and safety are issues here as well.

There is a concern about a Cove Point disaster potential, and there are only a few evacuation routes out of the County.

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General

After Terrapin Run, planning became so much more important.

A Better Maryland should address technical assistance.

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