Last week the Talbot Spy published correspondence from one Clint Wadsworth vilifying Talbot Preservation Alliance for its alleged “extreme environmental agenda.”
Extreme? How about this:
In 1997 the same Mr. Wadsworth proposed the development of a 100 acre farm he owned, abutting the eastern boundary of St. MIchaels, with 350 houses, commercial space, a conference center and a marina. But annexation into the town was required and St. Michaels balked at this.
In reaction Mr. Wadsworth submitted applications for development under county zoning that included two 500 foot chicken houses, a swine nursery, an anaerobic wastewater pond, a manure storage facility, a field of gingkos (that emit a foul smell) and six animal shelters.
Ultimately the land was sold to a third party and these initiatives were abandoned. But Mr. Wadsworth still owns land in Royal Oak. Given his history, we can understand why, as he states in his letter, he does not want to be burdened by “restrictive land use initiatives.”
Wadsworth holds himself out as a “fourth generation” farm owner in Talbot County. One wonders how the first and second generations might have reacted to his proposal for developing the family farm as he proposed. He claims that the activities of TPA have been “disastrous for the citizens of the County.” But apparently he did not believe that placing a pig farm and manure storage facility at the gateway to St. Michaels would be “disastrous” for the image and citizens of that small town.
According to his letter, the restriction that troubles Mr. Wadsworth is the two acre minimum lot size in the Talbot County villages, adopted unanimously, on an interim basis, by the County Council. Wadsworth believes this occurred because TPA “has taken control of the Talbot Council.” This control must come as a surprise to the three member Council majority who are supported and endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Realtors, the Talbot Farm Bureau and the Republican Central Committee.
Wadsworth cannot restrain himself from a cheap shot at County Council member Dirck Bartlett, claiming he is “running on a platform of restricted economic growth.” This is nonsense. Nothing in Bartlett’s public statements or campaign materials advocates for “restrictions” on economic growth. Indeed, over the past eight years Bartlett has been a leader in the fight to retain Memorial Hospital, the primary driver of our local economic growth, close to Easton.
Wadsworth’s letter, although gratuitously provided to the Spy, actually was sent to all of the financial contributors to Talbot Preservation Alliance, and to its election year PAC, during the last election cycle. He obtained the names and addresses for those contributors from the required public records and sent off his baseless charges for the admitted purpose of trying to dissuade them from further financial support for TPA. The ethics of this cheap trick were approximately on a par with the ethics of making the self serving inflammatory but baseless charges we have addressed above.
So please consider Mr. Wadsworth’s letter in its proper context, and consider whether he is in any position to rail about “extreme” land use initiatives.
Thomas T. Alspach, President
Talbot Preservation Alliance