Letter to Editor: Concerns over Darby Farm Future in Royal Oak

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I am writing on  a matter that carries potentially grave consequences to the neighborhood in which I live. I refer specifically to the village boundaries plan, the subsequent zoning and potential development on the Darby Farm property in Royal Oak.

The potential for substantial development of the 35 – 40 acres of property, if not more, in question is truly a game changing prospect for our community. You have undoubtedly heard all of the cogent arguments and I will not reiterate all of the details of each of them in this correspondence. But I will say that it would be incredibly unwise to set the stage for the development of that particular property for a number of critical reasons:

Edge Creek has been determined to be the most polluted creek in the County, with fishing restrictions already in place. Unless the County is willing to simply write off this beautiful waterway, the last thing it needs is significant development just yards from the Creek’s headwaters, further threatening its very survivability. People in our neighborhood are already asking questions like “Should we not be eating crabs caught off of our dock”, “Why is our Creek so polluted”, and “Isn’t there something we can do to improve the condition of the Creek?” And we are seriously considering setting the stage for potentially major development so close to its banks? We need to be focused instead on getting those still on septic to convert their systems, eliminate the run-off from Darby Farm and other properties along the banks, and otherwise seeking to save the Creek rather than further degrade it.

And safety of residents and visitors remains a huge issue. With single lane roads and compromised (or no) shoulders throughout the continuous area, the eventual development being considered will seriously increase the risk of more serious accidents in the area, especially for bikers and pedestrians.

The quality of life for those residing in and around the Village is the third concern I wish to highlight. Some have questioned the “right” of current residents to restrict development after “they” arrived in Royal Oak. To that I say that we welcome others to our neighborhood; it is the type of development and density that is being considered by some that concerns us. I understand that the boundaries plan itself is actually favorable in this regard; it is the potential future development at 4:1 on that certain portion of the property that concerns us. I can’t even imagine the level of our angst if more than the 35 – 40 acres could be zoned at 4:1.

In conclusion, allow me to request that you not recommend or support any plans that are likely to set the stage for the catastrophe of converting Royal Oak into everything it is NOT today. I do so on behalf of so many other residents that are less vocal, but no less outraged by the prospect of the life changing developments being considered by some for the future of Royal Oak.

Thank you so much for your patience and consideration in reading this lengthy email, and for your dedicated and ongoing service to our beloved County and community.

Len Wolf

Letters to Editor

  1. David Lloyd says:

    These are well-articulated concerns regarding future development. My main question is “is there a real need for this development?” Who would benefit and who would suffer. Hopefully those making the decision will take local residents’ views seriously and not succumb to the “merits” of a proposal that may threaten the future quality of life in the region.

  2. I appreciate and respect Mr. Wolf’s opinions. Unfortunately, he is too late. The property owners bought the property with certain rights and are exercising those rights. Mr. Wolf has property rights that he acquired when he bought his property. I’m sure he would resist anyone taking away those rights AFTER he bought the property. I know I surely would!

    We have two strategies: the first is to encourage the County Council to direct the Planning and Zoning Office to give serious consideration to any request to amend or change the current zoning ordinances. There are always opportunity for the public to give comment regarding any zoning variances. Second, is to monitor the building design and property layout. Again, the public will be given a chance for comment. The County is required to post signs and send notices…so watch for them.

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