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Talbot County Listening Sessions, March 16, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Demographics ♦ Economic Development ♦ Youth ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Community Engagement and Volunteerism ♦ Training and Education ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ Funding ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ Communication 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

There is a crucial need for more Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) Regional Planners

The Mid Shore Regional Council recently completed a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Document

Could be used as a tool for reconciling competing interests

A broader coalition of staff and stakeholders should be working on this

One size fits all doesn’t work

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Very wealthy upper end of Talbot community skews representation of County’s demographic situation. Many people are struggling, but the aggregated numbers don’t demonstrate that

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Economic Development

Easton Economic Development works through a non-profit

Focusing on Port Street and Easton Point developments

Goal is take the uncertainty out of the equation for developers

A disconnect exists between people who move to Talbot and the County’s needs for jobs and economic growth

Potential growth industries include alternative farming, water industries, and tourism. These industries are at odds with the second home owners that move to Talbot

The Critical Area requirements play a complicating role as well

Develop an internship incentive plan for individuals recently out of college

Crafts and skills, such as boat building

Governor’s new apprenticeship program has a lot of promise

We are pushing children away when we try to force them to go to college

Small towns like St. Michaels do not have the resources for such programs, so they need to be handled and funded at a higher level of government

St. Michaels maritime companies and museum struggle to attract and retain employees. The museum even has housing assistance, and it still struggles.

The renovation of the Cadmus Printing Facility is a success story. It is now a medical industry campus

Should be a focus on the local restaurant scene

It is growing and presents a potential educational/workforce development opportunity

Create a Culinary Institute of America (CIA) on the Eastern Shore

Economy and jobs are very important to quality of life in the County, as everything else flows from these

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Talbot needs more young people

This was expressed in a county economic development survey

Small towns and villages are emptying out of young people, even though jobs exit in those areas

Need to develop potential incentives for young people to move to rural areas.

System in which individuals under a certain age could receive incentives if they move to a Priority Funding Area that has a median age above a certain threshold

Student loan forgiveness that includes State matches

Tax incentives

This will help fight the school consolidation trend

Maryland should develop statistics and/or complete a study as to why youth are leaving certain areas

County is in the process of building one of the largest elementary schools in the state, and it will include vocational classes

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Housing is a big issue in Talbot (reiterated many times by multiple people)

People who work in the County live somewhere else

It costs $26,000/year to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Easton

Many second home owners

Need to create a funding mechanism for housing for young people in rural areas

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Need for expanded broadband service (reiterated multiple times)

Talbot residents cannot work from home without a big struggle

Visitors traveling to and through Talbot in the warmer months want to have better internet access.

Service really suffers at these times

This makes it an economic development/tourism issue

Cell service in the County is worse than it was 10 years ago (reiterated multiple times)

Verizon says that the new 4G and 5G equipment does not support older phones, which are more common in Talbot

Would like the company reps to communicate more directly with County officials

Small cell infrastructure developers are trying to put equipment that looks like refrigerators on top of existing poles and take over local decision making. An Easton rep recently informed staff that new technology is coming on board

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Would like to see Planning do something like Howard County’s Citizen’s Academy to educate and engage the public

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Training and Education

Planning needs to update its educational resources. The existing Planning Commissioner Training Course is too urban focused and outdated. It still has references to and information from the repealed Land Use Article 66B and the Red Line Project

Update funding links and development process resources for Planning Commissioners

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County needs a better transportation system

Struggles with summer traffic heading to Ocean City

Talbot struggles with transit in its rural setting

No taxis, Uber service, or busses

This presents a livability issue for younger people

Hard to get around in the rural setting

Can be tough for students to get to Chesapeake College

Third Bay Bridge crossing

Don’t want it in Talbot

Any committees that are created to deal with this issue are too political and not solution oriented. Another study would be a waste of money

General agreement that another span is needed

Should consider out of the box options, such as tunnels and trains

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Critical Areas

There is a lot of Critical Area in Talbot

It is a struggle when planning for views while also incorporating Critical Area mitigation requirements

The County would like to know more about the direction of this program

Requirements should be more flexible

Variety of plantings

Only requiring buffers at the point where runoff leaves the property

Talbot needs open space and a clean environment to attract and keep better jobs, and it is why people move here

The Chesapeake Bay is a huge asset and must be preserved

It impacts many areas across the state and has a huge watershed

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Revenue cap hurts the County

It is more expensive to live in Talbot County, but harder to get things done. Rural communities aren’t getting their share. It is not an even playing field in comparison to the urban centers

Need to have a conversation about density, because people tend to react very negatively to it as soon as it is mentioned

Income disparity

Incomes are 25% below the state average, and over 45% of students eligible for free and/or reduced lunch

Yet housing and wealth are skewed toward the higher end of the economic spectrum

Lowest tax rates in the state, which limits education spending resources (reiterated multiple times)

Retirees with wide variety of skill sets bring forth great ideas and can help affect positive change in the County

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Maryland needs to develop a state level funding source for rural development like existing United States Department of Agriculture programs

State funding for projects need to be available throughout the course of development. We can’t leave it hanging

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

A tug-of-war between towns and counties exists

What is the Governor’s role in overcoming this friction?

A town will annex property, but the county will not want the development the town is planning

State administration should work with towns and counties to develop joint plans

Potentially requiring counties to agree on annexations

Large commercial development tends to be more of a concern than residential annexations

If towns were more constrained in how they moved outward, then they would be required to grow by infill and redevelopment

Talbot and Town of Oxford collaboration has been effective

Oxford Conservation Park

Lost Program Open Space land and were informed they needed to replace it

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy had a comparable sized parcel

The County received land as a donation, which met program requirements and developed a park that serves both the County and the Town

Oxford doesn’t want to grow any further, which was also part of an agreement to receive grants for wastewater treatment plant upgrades

State should work with Environmental Protection Agency to protect the Bay

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Maryland needs to better communicate and share available programs and resources with locals

Need for better communication as to how all regulations fit together

Can be very complex

Need more examples

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What the County is Missing

Walkable grocery stores

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State Agencies

A Better Maryland needs to make sure that State agencies are working together

Maryland Aviation Administration

Airports are significant economic engines

Regional office budgets are only 60% of need in recent years

Planning should complete a statewide survey about “good development”, which would assist both local planners and developers

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Technical Assistance

Planning could help Talbot in encouraging the growth of the sharing economy

Uber share example. Potential exists to develop this as opposed to much more expensive rural transit systems

Want more technical assistance for local planners

Legislative booklets for each session would be very helpful

Could be a great opportunity to use visualization technology to preview potential development

A Better Maryland should assist agricultural, environmental, and community organizations

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There is a local need to better understand growth

Talbot has a reputation as anti-growth

Need to grow responsibly, and there is a good growth management system in place in the County

Growth is down to 1%. This is not sustainable to maintain sufficient public services and facilities

Need the tools to better understand infill development potential

Infill lots along bike trails

Consolidating lots

Best practices for locating and encouraging infill

22 historic villages and hundreds of miles of waterfront are valued assets, but also add many complications to planning efforts

Smart Growth

Easton wants to develop commercial toward its core, where the infrastructure can support it

Easton and Talbot have worked together on the Port Street development project

It is the only water view in Town

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Planning should replace the current ranking system in the online survey with a rating system. Rating systems are more definitive and tend to provide more in-depth information regarding an audience’s attitudes and beliefs. Examples include the Riker System or a Relative Value Scale. The decisions being made during this process are too important to be decided using an insufficient survey instrument

The local government is receptive when a citizen brings forth an issue, which will sometimes lead to positive changes

Other issues for A Better Maryland to address

Opiate treatment

Law enforcement



Agricultural land and rural character

Tuckahoe undeveloped waterfront


Support tourism


Connects the community together with deep ties to commercial waterman cultural identity


Honoring Frederick Douglas

Citizens are giving, friendly, and like to volunteer

Historic African American neighborhoods in Easton

Tilghman Island

Commercial fishing




Affordable housing

Jobs and job base for residents



Hospitality based industries do not pay enough

Currently oriented toward the wealthy

Transportation issues, especially public transportation

Water quality and access

Climate change

Wealth disparities

Older population provides decreased economic and tax benefit

Poor cell and internet service

Childhood hunger

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