Newsletter 200902

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Newsletter 200902

  1. 1. The Cecil Land Use Alliance Newsletter http://cecillanduse.org/ Volume Three February 2009 Number One The CLUE Calendar of Events February 3 and 17, 7 pm Board of County Commissioners (County Admin Bldg, Elk Room) February 17, 12 noon Planning Commission (County Admin Bldg, Elk Room) Note: As part of the “General Discussion”, Ron Hartman will propose “Rural Suburban” zoning February 18, 4:30 pm CLUA Board meeting (North East library) February 18, 6 pm Citizens’ Oversight Committee, new Comprehensive Plan (Cecil College Tech Center, Room 208) February 27, 7 pm CLUA monthly meeting (Elkton library) Guest speaker John Theilacker of the Brandywine Conservancy (PA) will discuss effective Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs CLUA’s New Officers At the CLUA meeting on January 14, CLUA members elected the following people to two-year terms on the Board of Directors: Julia Belknap Diana Broomell – returning Vernon Duckett – returning Wendy Moon – returning Nancy Valentine They join Ed Cairns, Ron Hartman, Charles Herzog, Paul Hughes, and Rupert Rossetti, who are continuing their terms on the board. George Kaplan, who did not seek re-election to the board, agreed to attend board meetings for as long as 1
  2. 2. necessary to ease the transition. The board met a week later, on January 21, and elected the following officers for 2009: President: Julia Belknap Vice President: Diana Broomell Secretary: Rupert Rossetti – continuing Treasurer: Wendy Moon – continuing At the same meeting, the board discussed CLUA priorities for the year. It was decided to emphasize educational meetings this year, perhaps with meetings every other month. At least one major public forum will be organized, probably this summer, when the draft of the new Comprehensive Plan is scheduled to be released. The next CLUA meeting, on February 27 at the Elkton library, will feature guest speaker John Theilacker from the Brandywine Conservancy in Pennsylvania, who will talk about setting up effective Transfer of Development Rights programs. (County Commissioners Robert Hodge and Jim Mullin are interested in improving Cecil County’s TDR program, which remains unused.) A personal note — It has been a great privilege and a wonderful experience to serve as CLUA’s president during the past two years. This year I’m taking on a new professional commitment and unfortunately have to ramp down some of my other activities. But I still plan to contribute as much as I can, especially in the area of publicity (web site, newsletter, etc.). E-mails to the entire CLUA membership will still be coming from my e-mail address. CLUA is a unique organization, with members who are knowledgeable about county planning issues and who deeply care about the environment and our quality of life. Many have been active for many years on county boards and committees, and in running for, and serving in, elective office. CLUA is a valuable repository of expertise that our county leaders should more effectively use. As a relative newcomer to the county, I have learned a lot over the last two years, especially from our board members. During that time, CLUA has, to some extent, become a victim of its own success: so many of our members and friends are now in positions of responsibility in the county government that some of them have had to back away from CLUA activities. Fortunately, other mem- bers have been willing to step up and help us keep going organizationally. We need both kinds of people! I thank all of those who helped to create CLUA in 2006 and 2007 and who have been instrumental in maintaining our momentum through last year’s election. We tackled a lot of issues in 2008, and even for those that we did not “win”, we raised the level of public discussion. As a result, there are more and more people in the county who are unwilling to just roll over and let the developers determine our future. There is still much to do. We have a great new set of officers and I look forward to an active and interesting year for CLUA. Stay tuned! — George Kaplan 2
  3. 3. From the New CLUA President Hello CLUA, I moved here from Texas in August and so am new to Cecil County and the wonderful people who live here. As a result, I want to briefly introduce myself to you and I look forward to getting to know you as we work together to preserve Cecil County. I originally come from Philadelphia where I lived for most of my life and raised a family. I have four children, three sons and a daughter, and five grandchildren, four boys and one girl. Ten years ago, as some of my children became independent adults, they decided to move away from Philadelphia and see other parts of our country. I wanted to pursue my graduate education so I moved to Texas with my youngest son and attended Texas A&M University, where I acquired a Masters degree in Geography and a Ph.D. in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences. Last year at a family reunion, we all realized that we missed being close to one another and so those of us living in Texas and Arkansas decided to move back East to live near my oldest son and his family here in Cecil County. Now that we're here, we've settled in and feel as if we've quot;come home.quot; I personally have fallen in love with Cecil County and want to do what I can to preserve its unique character. So, I joined CLUA and became a Park Ranger at Elk Neck State Park. Now that I've agreed to be President of this organization, I'm ready and eager to work on the various issues before us and trust that we will have a fruitful year working together to achieve our goals. — Julia Belknap, CLUA President Protecting the Environment in the MD General Assembly As you may know, the Maryland Legislature is in session and Jennifer Bevan- Dangel, 1000 Friends of Maryland, provides a weekly update on Environmental & Land Use Legislation. If you would like to get on Jennifer’s email list, please contact her at Jennifer@Friendsofmd.org Excerpt Update from week ending 30 January 2009 reprinted with kind permission from JKBD. Attachments not included. Next week is a BIG week in Annapolis! So, this is an extra long alert. First, please find the bill synopsis attached. We are still in the very low numbers – expect a ton more bills over the next two weeks. 3
  4. 4. We do have bill numbers on some community priority bills: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act – SB 278, HB 315 O’Malley’s growth bills – • Enforcing comprehensive plans: SB280/HB297 • 12 Visions: SB273/HB294 • Indicators and reporting: SB276/HB295 • TOD funding: SB274/HB300 • Historic Tax Credit: SB258/HB309 • Our bill – the “bow on the governor’s package – being drafted, coming next week! Budget update: I have attached a special treat for you; it is my breakdown of the budget. You can see what has been funded this year vs. last year and see the dedicated programs that have been tampered with. As we see legislative changes to those numbers I will update and re-send, but don’t expect that for a month or so at least. Enjoy! Hearings next week – this is a hot week! Here is what to expect: Tuesday 2/3 – EHEA: 1:00 briefing on the Critical Area Commission; 1:45 hearing on - • SB 4 Sen Harrington Environment - Permitting Process – Environmental Justice Review • SB 26 Sen Peters Landfills - Disposal of Motor Vehicle Oil Filters • SB 47 Sen Harrington Environment - Permit Applications – Notice Requirements • SB 120 Sen Stone Environment - Permit Process – Modifications Finance: 1:00 briefing on energy conservation in schools House Health, Government Operations: 1:00 hearing on – • HB 119 Del Hubbard Children's Products Containing Lead Wednesday 2/4 – House Environmental Matters, 1:00 P.M.: • HB 14 Del Hubbard Environment - Brominated Flame Retardants – DecaDE prohibition • HB 34 Del Cardin Environment - Impervious Surface – Statewide Database • HB 49 Del G. Clagett Agriculture - Specialty Fertilizers - quot;No Phosphate Fertilizerquot; • HB 59 The Spkr (DLS) State Board of Well Drillers - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation • HB 62 The Spkr (DLS) State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation • HB 90 Chr ENV (Dept) Department of the Environment - Bay Restoration Fund and Bay Restoration Fee 4
  5. 5. HB 103 Del Eckardt, Department of Natural Resources - Shell • Dredging - Permit Application HB 128 Cecil Co Environment - Disposal of Coal Combustion • Byproducts - Zoning and Land Use Requirements HB 135 Cecil Co Environment - Sewage Sludge Utilization - • Zoning Land Use Requirements HB 136 Pena-Melnyk Specialty Fertilizer - Surcharge • HB 176 Del Lafferty, Bay Restoration Act of 2009 • HB 177 Del Lafferty, Natural Resources - Oyster Shell Purchase • Program - Fair Market Value Friday 2/6– Budget and Tax, 1pm, Subcommittee, Amoss Rm: briefing * Maryland Department of Planning * Department of Agriculture * Department of General Services House Appropriations, 1pm, rm 120: briefing * MDOT-Overview * PAYGO-MDOT-Overview * Capital Fiscal Briefing Want to get involved? Here are some basic tips for weighing in on the bills being heard next week • Written testimony is always great. For some of these bills someone might already have testimony you could sign onto, or you can write your own. A template is attached; keep your testimony to one page if possible. Go to http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/hearsch/hs_index.htm#indbyco and click on the appropriate committee to find out how many copies you need to drop off and by what time. Email me for more help. • Oral testimony – if you feel strongly enough to come down to Annapolis and talk, come on down! The same website above says what time you have to be here by to sign up to speak. Anyone can speak in Annapolis, but it might take all afternoon. Email me if you are coming to town – for some of the bills above we will have organized panels of speakers and we should coordinate testimony. • Call your legislator! Find who they are on http://mdelect.net, find contact info at http://mlis.state.md.us. And this past week in review – th • The 15 annual environmental summit was a great success. If you missed it, email me for copies of the fact sheets. • The Board of Public Works approved a major open space purchase - 4,473 acre property (with 20 miles of shoreline), in three separate counties. This purchase has been equated to the Louisiana purchase. • The Governor gave his ‘state of the State’ address ------------------------------------------ Jennifer Bevan-Dangel 5
  6. 6. Deputy Director, 1000 Friends of Maryland 410-385-2910 410-303-7954 (cell) 1209 North Calvert St. Baltimore, MD 21202 www.friendsofmd.org More information can also always be found at http://mlis.state.md.us. — From 1000 Friends of Maryland (Submitted by Rupert Rossetti) County Budget Schedule An open letter to the County Commissioners from Ted Patterson, reprinted with kind permission: I would like to publicly thank the Cecil County Commissioners for unanimously approving a change in public comment protocol regarding budgetary work sessions. Normally, citizens can attend budgetary work sessions, but they are not allowed to give public comment. In an effort to open up the budget review process I requested, through Commissioner Jim Mullin, that the Cecil County Commissioners allow for public comment during budgetary work sessions. Mullin pitched the idea to the Commissioners and they have wholeheartedly agreed to give every individual who attends the budgetary work sessions three minutes of public comment. This continues the trend of opening government since the new Board of County Commissioners took office. The County Commissioners are taking crucial steps toward restoring the public trust. Such positive steps toward connecting people with their government are absolutely necessary to improving Cecil County. The first work session regarding the budget will be held on March 17th so this will be the first opportunity for county citizens to sit in and give public comment. Again, I offer my sincere thanks to Commissioners Lockhart, Tome, Demmler, Hodge, and Mullin. Thanks, Ted Theodore Patterson President Cecil County Young Republicans Website: www.cecilyoungrepublican.com The entire work session and public hearing schedule is below: 6
  7. 7. March 17, 2009, 1:00 PM Elk Room - General Fund – General Government • – Commissioners, Administrator, Budget, Purchasing, Human Resources, Treasurer, IT, Board of Elections, Liquor Board, Planning, Board of Appeals, Planning Commission, Critical Area, Facilities Management March 24, 2009 1:00 PM Elk Room - Public Works – Administration, • Engineering and Construction, Development Services, Weed Control, Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste, Roads, Central Garage March 31, 2009 1:00 PM Elk Room - Public Safety – States’ Attorney, Law • Enforcement, Detention Center, Work Release, Community Work Service, CARC, DES/EMS, Volunteer Fire Companies, Permits and Inspections, Cecil SPCA, Circuit Court, Orphan’s Court April 7, 2009 1:00 PM Elk Room – Board of Education, Cecil College, Cecil • College Scholarships, Cecil Libraries April 14, 2009 1:00 PM Elk Room – Health Department, Social Services, • Domestic Violence, Healthy Marriage Initiative, Neighborhood Youth Panel, Senior Services and Community Transit, Housing April 17, 2009 9:00 AM Elk Room – Non-Profit Agencies • April 21, 2009 1:00 PM Elk Room - Economic Development, Agricultural • Extension, Soil Conservation, Parks and Recreation April 24, 2009 Advertise for Constant Yield in Newspaper and Website • April 30, 2009 Advertise Proposed Budget and Budget Hearing Notice in • Newspaper and Website May 12, 2009 2:00 PM Elk Room - Constant Yield and 2010 Budget • May 12, 2009 7:00 PM Elk Room - Constant Yield and 2010 Budget • May 26, 2009 2:00 PM Elk Room - Formal Adoption of Tax Rates and 2010 • Budget An Open Letter to the New EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Administrator 29 January 2009 Environmental Protection Agency Ariel Rios Building 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20460 Dear Ms. Jackson, Congratulations on your appointment as Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, and for including “Protecting America’s Water” as one of your top five priorities. 7
  8. 8. As a Chesapeake Bay resident in the Cecil County Maryland portion of the Octoraro watershed, and as a volunteer with several Bay-wide, State-level and local organizations, I’m distressed by our lack of progress to date. There are some bright spots at the top of the Bay, where I live, with sub aquatic vegetation on the Susquehanna Flats back at near historic levels. However, these will likely be short- lived due to the significant threat posed by the sediments behind the Conowingo Dam. If this issue is left unaddressed, all we will need is another tropical storm to scour these sediments and dump them into the head of the Bay and we’ll be back where we were after Tropical Storm Agnes hit in 1972. Meanwhile, water quality and living resources further down the Bay continue to be at depressingly low levels, despite the best efforts of a lot of individuals, organizations and agencies. We seem to take two steps forwards and at least one step back! More than ninety percent of the Bay and tidal tributary rivers that feed it are officially designated as impaired under the Clean Water Act, and, as your Inspector General’s Report 2007-P-00031 states so succinctly in its title “Development Growth (is) Outpacing Progress in Watershed Efforts to Restore the Chesapeake Bay”. Add to this, such projects as the proposed AES LNG Terminal in Baltimore and the Natural Gas Pipeline that is slated to cross the Octoraro and its tributaries 26 times on its route to Eagle, PA and perhaps you can see why I am so concerned! Please have the EPA lead the way in cleaning the Bay, and thank you again for making it one of your top five priorities. We definitely need your help, and so does the Bay! Sincerely Rupert Rossetti Let us hear from you! The CLUE belongs to you. We’d like to know what you have to say. What are your concerns and interests regarding Cecil Land Use? Tell us about your pet peeves, your ideas for improvement, people you’d like to praise, process suggestions, new problems identified, new opportunities arisen, or new challenges to face. Speak up, and share with us. Write to the interim editor at gkaplan@zoominternet.net The Cecil Land Use Alliance newsletter is published periodically under the auspices of the Board of Directors. It is provided to all members, directors and available to the public at large. Suggestions and articles are welcome. They should be submitted to the editor by e-mail to gkaplan@zoominternet.net, or by mail to P.O. Box 215, Colora MD 21917. We encourage our readers to visit our website at http://cecillanduse.org President, Julia Belknap Vice President, Diana Broomell Secretary, Rupert Rossetti Treasurer, Wendy Moon 8

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