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Calvert County Listening Sessions, March 27, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Concerns Over Previous MandatesPublic Services ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Demographics ♦ Concern over Growth Tier Map Requirements ♦  Economic Development ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Training and Education ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ Funding ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ What the County is Missing ♦ State Agencies ♦ Technical Assistance ♦ Planning ♦ 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 and Regional Planning

A mixed response regarding a regional approach to planning; some voiced support, some were opposed.

Regional approach is only good if all the areas of a region look similar

A regional approach is needed, including Calvert, Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, and Charles County

County staff is willing to help with this

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Concerns Over Previous Mandates

What will the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) do to tailor PFA requirements for rural counties?

Calvert fought hard against PlanMaryland

It should be undone

A Better Maryland should not affect local planning and zoning

Critical Area requirements place a huge burden on County land owners

A periodic review is long overdue

Local stakeholder should be involved in any such review and should be able to meet with the Critical Area Commission

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Public Services

Investment in schools should be a part of A Better Maryland

Open space and a clean environment maintain property values, which in turn maintain schools and other public services

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Mapping Support and Data

State Data Center is doing a good job

A Better Maryland should take advantage of technology

Calvert County has excellent GIS staff and resources

County and local GIS staff could feed a state repository

Need for a more seamless statewide data sharing system which includes an interface for public use

Counties need better agricultural data from the State, but have noticed a focus on this recently

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Demographics

Younger people cannot afford to move back into the county because of high housing costs

Population growth since 1970

1970: 20,682   2010: 88,737

Significant growth in the 1990s

No County zoning until 1968

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Concern over Growth Tier Map Requirements

County hasn’t recorded any major subdivisions since the passing of Senate Bill 236

Septic tier law has influenced rural local jurisdictions

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Economic Development

Calvert just completed an economic development strategic plan update

The County desires to balance economic growth with preserving its rural character by directing new growth to the Town Centers, although these have not prospered

County wants controlled and guided economic development

Grow into it, not be overtaken by it

Economic development staff from Planning should come to these sessions

Economic development is restricted in areas where broadband access is limited (reiterated multiple times)

North Beach is struggling to mix small town charm with business development

Want to encourage State economic development staff to be a part of the development of A Better Maryland

Local employers have a difficult time finding trained technicians

Some have offered to volunteer their times to train individuals for such work in a vo-ag center

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Housing

Affordable housing is a problem (reiterated many times)

For example, teachers can’t afford to buy when starting out in their careers

Need at least $200,000 to get started

Where will restaurant workers live?

Schools can’t survive without appropriate housing for young families, and the County can’t be only for retirees

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Infrastructure

Infrastructure should precede development, not follow it. Need a mechanism to allow

jurisdictions to borrow money from the State to fund infrastructure and pay back later

Funding should be made available for inland sewer plant upgrades.  They need this to attract development to Town Centers and other growth areas.

Quality of life depends on having good infrastructure – roads, schools etc.

More funding is needed to provide public access to waterfronts

Sewer infrastructure

Bay Restoration Fund went to major direct discharge facilities first

Would like to use some of the grant money on inland plants

County needs help paying infrastructure development costs for Town Centers

Could use State loans or grants to assist with this

This will allow Calvert to put density where it (and presumably the State) wants it

5G towers don’t work in the woods

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Training and Education

More investment in vo-tech education is needed, including apprenticeship programs

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Transportation

60% of workforce commutes out of the County

There is a lot of traffic on state roads, which have the worst congestion problems

67% of traffic in Calvert is flow through traffic (reiterated multiple times)

We need better ways to move traffic through

Concerned about replacement of the Thomas Johnson bridge

Need a study to determine where traffic is going and where it is coming from

Could potentially use technology such as Google Maps and Waze

Highway user revenues should be returned to local jurisdictions. The lack of them makes it hard to maintain roadways (reiterated multiple times)

There is an overemphasis on big transit projects, with insufficient focus on local roads

Bike infrastructure is a big need in the County

Happy about the new Nice Bridge, but also concerned with the increase in traffic it will bring

There is no support for a Bay crossing in Calvert County (reiterated multiple times)

Would have largest magnitude of impact on Calvert County compared to any other County

Already have trouble with existing State roads

Thank you for widening Route 2 through Prince Frederick

Preference for traffic circles over traffic lights

Need to focus on ingress and egress requirements, especially with left turns

It impacts emergency vehicles

Specific road concerns

Traffic moving on Routes 2/4 and 231 is heavy.  State funding requested for widening of Routes 2/4, and for SHA to look at ways to move traffic through the county better.

Intersection of Cox Road and Route 4 is terrible

MD-4 the main north/south route, but don’t forget about MD-2

50 mph speed limit on MD-231, and 70 mph on MD-4 are too high

Traffic is atrocious on Md-261

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Environment

Is there a State goal for land preservation?

Calvert prides itself in being a rural community

What does the smallest (geographically) County in the State do to continue preserving land?

Any additional programs or loosened regulations to support preservation would be appreciated, like Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs

TDRs could put money back in both local and state government pockets

Count is concerned with WIP III

State loans should be provided to address future sewer problems and extensions to fix existing problems. Users are willing to pay however the money could be forward funded and paid back over time

The MS4 permits are coming at the end of April 2018 what is going to be the impact?

County needs a natural resources study

Open space must be preserved because once it is gone it is gone forever

Very Important to preserve County environment, but saving the planet should be number one

More solar panels would be good for both the County and the State

Lower energy bills and decreased CO2 emissions

Breezy Point

In late 2017, the BOCC removed a draft Breezy Point and Neeld Estate Flood Mitigation Plan due to a question from sourced data.  This Plan is currently under review and in progress.

Nobody wants to help with this, not State, not local (concern was about shoreline erosion)

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Community

Calvert is unique because of its peninsula geography

County has less water access for the public compared to other counties with similar shorelines

Population is aging. Need to attract younger demographic segments to prevent further declining school populations and provide more youthful voices

Don’t want to be Manassas or Waldorf

Calvert’s relaxed character and clean environment offsets the craziness of the city

The local government is supposed to represent its citizens, but promises aren’t always kept

Need to listen more, demonstrate more transparency, and be more transparent

Citizens often need to help themselves

Some lack of faith with local planners

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Funding

The county voiced a request for funding for advertising and promoting economic development in Calvert County.

Need to fund programs that compensate landowners of agricultural lands. Their work benefits the larger community

Need funding to alleviate traffic issues between Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

North Beach is working with County at a level not approached in decades. Let’s keep it going and hope to move forward as a team

The local municipalities and the County need to work together on relations and common planning issues

The Tri-County Council and the Agriculture Commission in Virginia are working on oyster replenishment, what about Maryland?

Charles County’s downzoning has affected Calvert

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What the County is Missing

People must leave the County to buy a lot of necessities

North Beach need affordable dining on the Bay. Mama Lucia’s is a good example

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State Agencies

The Critical Area Commission does not attend Board of Appeals meetings.  It was expressed that the commission makes remote decisions without getting all the context of a case.  A periodic review of critical area regulations is needed.

The DNR oyster program is great.

State needs to understand the specific needs of individual counties

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Technical Assistance

Could use help in local advertising, promotion, and economic development in County; specifically, in town centers

It would be great if the State would convene a focus group to discuss how the County could grow in appropriate areas and manner

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Planning

Focusing a 30-year growth strategy in Town Centers

Areas promoted for greater density include Chesapeake Beach and North Beach, Prince Frederick, Solomons, and Lusby

Overall, Calvert does not want higher density

County has double vision of preserving rural areas and allowing growth in town centers

The County is updating its Comprehensive Plan and has experienced steady growth

Small municipalities in the county want to retain their charm and yet provide for additional growth

Growth isn’t always negative. For farmers and businesses, it can be positive

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General

A Better Maryland should:

not take a “one size fits all” approach.

focus on common themes across Counties, not simply chase hypotheticals

analyze commonalities in comprehensive plans as part of overall review

establish some central override to prevent local favors to developers

An inter-jurisdictional Transfer-of-Development Rights would be useful

Believe those common themes will be infrastructure and transportation

Assets

People helping each other, working together

Rural character – land preservation

Decisions people have made to preserve land and rural character

Diversity – water lots, agriculture, rural nature

Water on three sides of the County

Fire department

Challenges

Growth – balancing good growth with preservation, keep growth sustainable

Over development and its negative impact on infrastructure, environment, water table

Lack of affordable housing

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