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Charles County Listening Sessions, April 17, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Public Services ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Economic Development ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Training and Education ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ 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.

Public Services

Charles County teachers are not paid as much as those in other counties and schools are not large enough

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Mapping Support and Data

The State Data Center has been very helpful, keep it up

Data is very important; Charles County wants more to help make better decisions (reiterated many times)

Important for economic development

Staff likes using the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation data, but too many industry types are collapsed. Would prefer it to be more disaggregated, like the Census data

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Economic Development

Economic development isn’t currently strong enough to overcome Charles County’s status as a bedroom community

A strong economy and jobs have a positive ripple effect on overall quality of life

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Infrastructure

County needs infrastructure to facilitate good planning

Cell towers

Change in technology over the last three years to very large towers in rural areas

Competing interest with historic properties and scenic areas

There should be a statewide study and review of the potential for coordinated tower siting between companies and jurisdictions

La Plata is dealing with small cell towers. The Historic Design Review Board works with companies to make them blend in better. There have been some successes and a few issues.

The Maryland Broadband Cooperative is a great resource for the County

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Training and Education

A Better Maryland should highlight best practices and utilize local staff for examples and lessons learned

Share successes with all jurisdictions throughout Maryland

Community needs better education on planning issues

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Transportation

We are trying to get high capacity transit, Southern Maryland Rapid Transit (SMRT), which will help us meet our desired density

The closest MARC station is very heavily used

County is having a hard time convincing the State administration that transit is the way to go

This will help better align land use and transportation planning

Project would increase tax base for the entire State and property values along the route

2/3 of the proposed route goes through Prince George’s County, which is in complete support of the project

In 2010, the County rezones 300-acre corridor next to existing CSX line

Transit Oriented Development densities (6-10 stories)

This will assist with smart growth

County is committed to planning for rapid transit

County has already seen some investment coming in just with only the prospect of rapid transit

Demand response transit in the County increased 30% this year

Big driver of this is dialysis centers

Local operators cannot keep up

Federal law requires access for those who are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible

If ridership keeps increasing without extra funding, Charles County will have to reduce its fixed route bus services

State roads are bottlenecked

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Environment

Solar farms are a big issue that need to be addressed statewide

There are no reservoirs in Southern Maryland

Impacts the local water supply

Groundwater has been the water source of choice

County has maximized its water reuse and is discharging little into the ecosystem

The Maryland Department of the Environment is fearful of groundwater recharge, but it should be considered, especially when other options are so limited

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Community

Maryland Historical Trust programs have been a big benefit for the County

Grant programs that were once gone have been reinstated, and we hope they continue

Instrumental in increasing historical tourism through land acquisition and planning

DHCD programs help as well

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Planning

Charles County is unique because of its high quality natural resources, which leads to heavy scrutiny when making development decisions

County is planning for smart growth and high density in Waldorf

La Plata

Struggling with infrastructure

Also wants transit

The State Highway Administration won’t allow the Town to complete its desired main street improvements for visibility and pedestrian safety

Working on redeveloping the downtown area

Trying to relocate the Coca Cola and Southern Oil industrial uses

Can the 2016 Charles County comprehensive plan inform County input for A Better Maryland (ABMD)?

Would be interested to learn about how other jurisdictions have dealt with redevelopment

What was the catalyst? How did they get over the hump?

Charles is thinking about doing Tax Increment Financing Districts, but no one thing will do it alone

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General

Assets

Conservation in Charles County can be a good example for the rest of the State

The diversity and cohesion of the County’s people

Charles County’s location, surrounded by water and proximate to DC both serve as strengths and present challenges

Historic resources

Rural character

Challenges

North/South accessibility (roads and otherwise) is an issue

Living where you work is a difficulty

Lack of healthcare specialists in the County

County wants to maintain a two-way dialogue with the State throughout the ABMD process, and wants to be informed of County comments

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