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Dorchester County Listening Sessions, March 6, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Concerns Over Previous Mandates ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Demographics ♦ Concern Over Growth Tier Map Requirements ♦ Economic DevelopmentYouth ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Community Engagement and Volunteerism ♦ Transportation ♦ Environment  ♦ Community  ♦ 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

The small towns, larger towns and County need to work collaboratively, in partnership rather than in competition. We need to solve problems together and the Maryland Municipal League is a good example of this

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Concerns Over Previous Mandates

When items are mandated, such as sprinkler systems, Dorchester would like to receive some data to support the need for the regulations

The County’s constituents have requested this data

State agencies should work together on this

A greater explanation of the insurance aspect is also needed

Locals had no input on how PlanMaryland was deployed. They were treated as if their opinions didn’t matter, while they are the ones with the boots on the ground

One size does not fit all

Rural counties are different

Local officials have significant knowledge that should be used in effort to develop A Better Maryland

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Mapping Support and Data

The Critical Area Commission is working with Eastern Shore GIS staff to fund an erosion and shoreline needs study

A Better Maryland should produce a map that allows users to zoom into different parts of the State to see what manufactured and other products are available in specific locations

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The population has not changed much over the last 30 years, and this has made it difficult for the local government to maintain consistent revenue

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Concern Over Growth Tier Map Requirements

The County Council responded negatively to the Maryland Department of Planning’s 2012 (Planning) response to and review of Dorchester’s last tier designation map

The map preserved 92% as Tiers III and IV and that still wasn’t enough

Dorchester has not revisited it since then, but will likely consider again as part of comprehensive planning process

What happens if the County gets a major subdivision without a tier map approval? Need to address this issue

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Economic Development

Need to build tax base to provide services

Obstacles include:

A stagnant real estate market

Significant amount of waterfront and therefore a lot of land in critical areas

Relatively strong 2nd home market. These homeowners pay a lot of taxes and don’t demand many services

Our main question is “Where does the market want to grow?”

City of Cambridge has a lot of good projects in the pipeline. Market Place, Sailwinds, hospital, new medical building, Philips Factory F building, Race/Pine Street redevelopment and some others

The County is talking to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Secretary Holt about assistance with the hospital project

Cross Street Laboratories and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy are collaborating on the Factory F project

The County is taking a holistic approach to economic development, incorporating workforce development

Stop thinking about political borders and start considering what is better for the larger Maryland economy

Asset mapping would benefit statewide economic development planning

What do we offer as a state economically?

Everything does not need to be in D.C. and Baltimore areas?

Eastern Shore is often left out

Some transit is in place on Eastern Shore, but more is needed for true economic development

Preservation and progress can be pursued at the same time

Aquaculture is a growing industry

Boat building

Weaver Boats in Dorchester, which builds high end fishing boats, is a great example

Dorchester is home to, and completes manufacturing work for, a lot of internationally owned companies

Big potential in Dorchester for manufacturing components and in the shipping industry


A Baltimore sculptor works with a fabricator in the County to complete work

C & K Lord Inc

B & G foods in Hurlock sells products all over the world

Often, items produced on the Eastern Shore need to be shipped to the Midwest for processing and then shipped back. Can we develop industry here in Maryland to prevent having to send products to the Midwest?

Cambridge International

Interstate Container

More products can and should be sourced from Maryland companies (see mapping product description above)

Hurlock self identifies as Dorchester’s transportation hub, and focuses on the trucking industry

Over $200 million in corporate capital contributions to Dorchester in the past two years

Rise Up Coffee a good example of a local, growing business

Cambridge has the second deepest port in the state. Dorchester and Cambridge have discussed this asset, but the conversation still has a long way to go. The deepest part is in front of the Sailwinds development, which Cambridge would like to preserve

Some pushback from both the City and County

Some residents would have to be displaced

Looking for other potential port locations

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Schools are an issue in the County, including behavior and mental health. Neighboring counties have better school districts

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Addressing housing blight is a big priority for the Cambridge

Could use state assistance in this effort

Currently have $1.2 million put aside for rehab work. Which will include a new City staff position dedicated to housing issues

Partnering with Choptank Habitat for Humanity

The City can promote as much Economic Development as it wants, but without housing rehabilitation it won’t matter

Concentrating on the Pine Street area

With the help of Salisbury University GIS students, the City has mapped and completed a windshield assessment of its housing stock. Working with DHCD, the City hopes to improve the exterior image of its housing

This has been a very beneficial partnership

The County has an older housing stock, and environmental considerations (lead, etc.) need to be considered in any rehabilitation efforts

A Better Maryland needs to address housing and community development

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The County has very few areas outside of towns on sewer

Solar Industry

This is a City and County issue

What can be done to encourage the solar industry representatives to align with local codes and ordinances?

Dorchester has a good working relationship with the Public Service Commission

The State should review Minnesota’s very progressive approach to pollinator code requirements for solar farms

Best practices should be developed

County is considering offshore wind

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Dorchester needs more vocal folks involved in the local planning process

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Large vehicles, such as 18 wheelers, should not be driving around 300-year-old cities like Cambridge. They have damaged the brick streets. SHA needs to recognize that street requirements for smaller towns are different than major highways. Truck traffic needs to be restricted from moving through the small towns

The State should look at creating a complete streets program

The County could use state help on transportation improvements including funding, legislation, and design

Need funding for pilot programs that address common themes across the State, such as the use of golf carts in towns

The mindset at the state level needs to change. We can’t only focus on engineering roads

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Global warming should be addressed in the comprehensive plan. Southern Dorchester will be hit hard by sea level rise

Dorchester has many agricultural easements

Need to look at critical areas fee in lieu of money going to protecting habitats from climate

Cambridge recently applied to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for $580,000 for planning a regional park, which will include stream restoration work

Just completed a charrette

Open space and a clean environment are unique aspects of the Eastern Shore

A Better Maryland must address the environment, because if the State doesn’t no one else will

Should consider the impact of farming and land use on water quality

Rural land uses and agriculture have a big impact on the Eastern Shore

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People priced out of Talbot County move to Dorchester

The County is made up of small towns and rural areas with a lot of waterfront. Need to consider the needs and issues of these very small places like Hurlock and Vienna

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Keep current State funding levels

Need state level creative financing to help developers achieve a certain level of quality. The State would then be reimbursed by developers once the improvements start paying for themselves. This would help bridge the gap

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

The Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership has been very effective

Collaboration of Dorchester, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Kent Counties

 The Maryland Department of Planning is a part of the group

Much of the work is related to the National Flood Insurance Program

Applying for grants as a group

Dorchester would like a return of the Planning Director’s Roundtables

Better coordination between neighboring jurisdictions on environmental issues is needed

 Water quality, Total Maximum Daily Loads, watershed planning


Dorchester County border Delaware, so coordination between states is also necessary

Dorchester and Cambridge have traditionally gotten along, but not always

Cambridge typically views water as a recreational and waterman resource, while County has had a more expansive view

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What the County is Missing

Good food access and stronger schools

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State Agencies

County does not want local decisions reversed by the State

A Better Maryland should emphasize greater collaboration across jurisdictions and from State to local

More funding

Varying levels of local capacity

Work together for greatest impact

The State should look at transportation and economic ecosystems as statewide entities, not just local ones

Start with this perspective and work backwards

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Technical Assistance

A Better Maryland should enhance technical assistance to locals

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County is getting ready to start a new comprehensive planning process. The consultant has already been selected and the County will be setting up bus tours of the County. Will be seeking the help of State Planning

The County has a lot of tidal shores, which have been a concern of the communities that staff has visited

Expecting to complete comprehensive plan by January 2020

No major subdivision in 10 years due to the lack of a market. There are many paper lots that haven’t developed

Dorchester needs more 2nd home communities, but it is difficult to develop these due to Critical Area regulations on residential density, although the Critical Areas Commission has been much better to work with

The County just finished a unified code for its critical area. This is a positive direction that was completed in collaboration with the Critical Area Commission

Ten percent of the County is planned for development. Constraints limit the availability of the rest

County needs help on determining vesting rights for old lots and developments that have never built. This is a local issue however State could provide resources and examples

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Local governments are the only people that do anything to affect positive change. They can also impede things. It is essential for local governments to put forth the energy, time, and leadership

A Better Maryland should include a one state model

Urban and rural together

Eastern Shore is comparable to Western Maryland




Water. People come to Dorchester for the water. It defines the County heritage and industry

Eagle Man and Iron Man races in Dorchester

Sister County with a County in Germany

Economic development staff went on workforce development trip to Germany

Farmers and watermen are workforce assets; creative problem solvers who know how to fix their own equipment out of necessity. Children growing up in these families acquire these skills


Small size of Galestown creates challenges and isolates it. Trucks use Galestown as a cut through

The local economy has limited opportunities and a lack of diversity

Lack of access to quality foods

Sea level rise will lead to loss of land and homes

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