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Queen Anne’s County Listening Sessions, February 13, 2018

What We Heard in Response

 

Regionalism and Regional PlanningConcerns Over Previous Mandates ♦ Concern Over Growth Tier Map Requirements ♦ DemographicsEconomic Development ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Transportation ♦ Environment  ♦ Community  ♦ 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

There needs to be better cooperation between State and local jurisdictions

There needs to be more incentives to increase state-local collaboration – to grease the wheels

Create a catalog of realistic solved problems, i.e. Best Practices

What is the status of State Stat?

There is a need for greater inter-jurisdictional collaboration on watershed protection efforts, particularly associated with Watershed Improvement Plan (WIP)implementation

The County and towns need to work on quality of the schools. particularly for lower-income families

Concerns Over Previous Mandates

There needs to be some consideration given to redefining Priority Funding Areas (PFA’s) and sewer service to rural jurisdictions that have density less than 3.5 dwelling units (du’s) per acre. The PFA Law eligibility needs to be more flexible to accommodate different regions of Maryland

There is very little capacity for sustainable growth in the County because of land use limitations, such as agriculture preservation, Critical Areas, and areas that don’t meet the minimum PFA density requirement. This leaves very little room in a County where the existing urban build out is 1 – 2 houses per acre. We need exemptions from the PFA process not exceptions. Having to go through the PFA exception process has delayed the construction of critical infrastructure (e.g., Rt. 304 overpass) from being started or completed as quickly as possible

PFA Law’s density requirement of 3.5 du’s per acre is too high for rural area. Allowing lower density cluster development can preserve the rural character and still avoid spreading out development. One size does not all – rural and urban areas

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Concern Over Growth Tier Map Requirements

The tier map legislation does not appear to work for Queen Anne’s County. The County doesn’t have tier maps because of existing subdivision regulations

The County has 80,000 in preservation, with zoning and Transfer of Development Rights (TDR’s) and development capacity of 1 house per 8 acres. The tier map is not appropriate for the County and impedes sustainable growth

The tier map appears to negatively impact our ability to promote use of our local transfer of development rights program. While it technically may not impact the County’s TDR program, there is a perception that the County’s TDR program is no longer viable

The Septics Law (Growth Tiers) has been harmful to local land preservation programs because it has placed a cap on subdivisions to 7 lots and may inhibit the county’s use of noncontiguous transfer of development rights. This has hurt farmers land values. Land values is an important issue for farmers that need to rely on the value of the land to finance agricultural operations. Land values have dropped from $10,000 – $12,000 per acre to $6,000 – $6,500 an acre as a result of the Septic Law’s restrictions on the development potential of agriculture land

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Demographics

The County relies heavily on MDP’s State Data Center for Census statistics, data interpretation, and analysis

The County coordinates with MDP on property mapping to ensure local maps are in sync with state tax maps

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Economic Development

Queen Anne’s County has a fairly diverse economy, and we would like to continue strengthening all sectors

The State should provide mediators, so that in difficult development and land use cases the community and developer would not have to spend large amounts of money and years on conflict. It is usually preservation v. development. The State could play a role in helping resolve the issues

The County has very low unemployment and most people work outside of the County. Queen Anne’s is a bedroom community and needs to get more jobs in the County

The poultry industry is very important to the County’s economy. The regulations on chicken houses seem to be getting excessive

Economic development is dependent upon growth in industrial areas. These areas need adequate infrastructure such as water, sewer, roads, and broadband. Need State support in supplying this infrastructure

There is a need for more planning resources to prepare communities to accommodate new businesses. Small towns do not have sewer or water capacity, but before they can get State funding for the infrastructure they need to do the upfront planning on what future demands would be

Agriculture is major economic driver in the County that needs to be supported

More funding is needed for land preservation and the restoration of funds need to go back to Program Open Space (POS) and land preservation programs

Land preservations programs are needed to discourage the loss of farmland to development. Fragmentation of farmland is also a real concern and makes it difficult to stay in farming

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Infrastructure

Broadband is a critical need in the County. Although schools and libraries are connected, when the children take computers home, they cannot hook up to the internet. The last mile of getting the broadband internet access to residence and businesses is too expensive

Developers need to provide more infrastructure. They need to be more proactive and putt infrastructure in place prior to development

The County needs better pedestrian and bicycle connections

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Transportation

State needs to tell us what is going to happen to Route 18, 301 – Middletown By-pass and third Bay Bridge

Roads are hurting growth in the County, and are impacting resident’s ability to move about. The traffic is severely impacting quality of life issues on Kent Island/Kent Narrows

The third Bay Bridge crossing is critical and needed. The County would support the crossing in Queen Anne’s County. The bridge needs to stay open and unconstrained as possible; 70% of the County’s workforce travels outside the county to their jobs

State needs to get its act together on roads. There needs to be a consistent position on the third Bay Bridge, MD 213, MD 301 by-pass, etc. In the past at the Consolidated Transportation Plan (CTP) tour, MDOT ignored our comments

There needs to be greater cooperation and sharing of traffic count information to improve transportation planning. The County had to install its own traffic counters because the State was unwilling to share information

Centerville road improvements and coordination with the City water & sewer lines is not being handled correctly

Bay Bridge is our single biggest issue. Traffic is trapping people in their homes. This needs to be resolved, especially considering a 20 – 30-year time frame

Consider promoting more commuting centers to reduce commuting and traffic congestion

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Environment

The septic Best Available Technology (BAT) requirements and the critical areas restrictions need to be reviewed. Our waterfront properties are the most valuable properties we have, and these regulations make it difficult to accommodate an important component to our tax base, while still ensuring environmentally responsible development

The step system for sewer service is a good success story, and has won EPA awards. This is a good best practices model

For coastal jurisdictions, sea level rise could be a critical issue and the State should be involved in helping jurisdictions determine an appropriate response. There needs to be some flexibility to allow for some development on properties and not prohibit development on the entire property

State needs to look at the Critical Areas growth allocation process

Irrigation systems and the use of water has been a major concern

More funding is needed for land preservation and the restoration of funds need to go back to Program Open Space (POS) and land preservation programs. Land preservations programs are needed to discourage the loss of farmland to development

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Community

Organizations are most effective in promoting positive change because they can speak for the citizens. The volunteer agricultural land preservation programs have been a real plus to the County and State

The County has a good balance of land uses with good agriculture preservation and development along Route 50 Kent Island/Narrows area

The County needs to update its comprehensive plan

County needs more workforce housing

The County has a burgeoning aging population, and they are seeing an increased need for retirement communities.  This aging population also needs older adult support services. Unfortunately, senior services are diminishing and transit services to doctor appointments cannot go across the Bay Bridge. So, some older citizens have to move because of the difficulty in getting needed services

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General

The broad-brush planning approach doesn’t work. One size does not fit all. The State should not pass laws that affect everyone equally when jurisdictions are so different, especially rural areas

Adequate health care needs to be addressed for the Eastern Shore. It has been difficult to get the certificate of need for additional beds. There is need for a full service hospital in the area. The current hospitals to the north and south of the County are being converted into emergency clinic facilities. For more severe emergency care, patients have to be transported to the Western Shore, which is costly and often blocked by Bay Bridge traffic. This is a regional issue. There are also shortages in EMS staffing in the County

Funding pension plans is creating a fiscal problem for local jurisdictions. The shifting of the financial burden to counties, to cover the cost of teachers’ pensions, cuts into the available county resources to fund other local obligations

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has had a lot of changes in directors, and this has made it difficult for smaller jurisdictions to get assistance

Assets

Bay

People

Friendly Helpful Families – farms – rivers – water (bay)

Magnetic environment that attracts people and jobs due to the beauty of the area

Unique identity and a sense of place

Challenges

#1 Traffic

Bay Bridge

Delaware Connector 301 corridor, Rt. 8, 213 through traffic

#2 Bay

#3 Growth and #4 Development

Need responsible growth

Losing our identity, loss of uniqueness

Need to stick to what was planned and not change – stick to Comprehensive Plan. The Plan’s recommendations are not being implemented. There is a need to follow-up on the Plan’s recommendations

It is difficult to move forward on Kent Island plans

Need more family owned businesses and restaurants,

Threat to the Bay and pollution in Corsica River

Need better communication between the State and the County

Meeting the stormwater requirements for the SHA project in Centreville is challenging

SHA has been unprepared and unresponsive to the need for more coordination regarding the Delaware road improvements. There is a need for more coordination with the regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations, i.e.., BMC and WILMAPCO

Utilities are not in place for development, such as the expansion of sewer around Queenstown. Existing pipes are antiquated and cannot support growth

Lack of Connectivity.  Road designs do not accommodate pedestrians.  State, county and town roads are not well connected.  Similarly, pedestrian paths are not planned and designed to be connected and support alternative modes of travel

The State Plan needs to address the coordination of connectivity with Delaware and the 301 road improvements to ensure proper design continuity to avoid bottlenecks

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