Everything Everywhere All at Once. Not just the 2023 Oscar winner, this apparently is what developers have in mind for Easton. Despite 818 dwellings that have recently been completed or approved in Easton, another 618 are in the approval process. At 5:30 on April 4th at the Avalon Theater, a developer will ask the Easton and Talbot County Planning Commissions to allow development of the former Poplar Hill Waterfowl Sanctuary off Oxford Road, including 456 dwellings, 98,000 square feet of commercial space, and a sports complex, complete with 3 fields, snack bar, 209-car parking lot, stands, restrooms, etc.
Troublingly, the entire sports complex, 62% of the dwellings, and 41% of the commercial space will occupy Maryland Critical Area, designated to protect the Chesapeake. Because Easton exhausted its growth allowance, the developer is asking Talbot County to allow intense development of the 66 acres of Critical Area.
Sacrificing Critical Area for the sports complex is unreasonable. Easton has no park plan showing another complex is needed now. Building the complex requires bulldozing existing trees and contours flat and planting turf, creating an environmental desert. Once built, Easton will assume forever the costs of fertilizing, mowing, etc. Traffic surges will result before and after every event.
If Poplar Hill is developed, a “meadow park” must be substituted for the complex. A meadow park would use tall grasses, low bushes, existing trees and contours to create a peaceful retreat that all the public can enjoy. It would reduce polluted runoff, provide food, cover, and habitat for wildlife, and create a corridor linking Windmill Branch and the new Easton Woodland Park. Maintenance costs would
be much less. It would produce no traffic surges on Oxford Road. The scenic Oxford Road corridor and Easton’s rural feel would be preserved.
Please let your voices be heard.
President, Papermill Crossing Homeowners Association
Letters to Editor
Annie Crutchfield says
This has been worrisome every since I noticed that property was sold. Yes, thankful that Easton and the country have bought the nearby 197 acres in order to protect it from development, but all of this new construction will put how many more cars onto the Oxford Road? I read 800! Do we need more retail competing with out downtown shopping area?
Thank you for drawing attention to this proposed development. My friends and I bike from Easton to Oxford where I see joggers and walkers. Hate to see that peaceful corridor disrupted by more traffic.
Bobbie Wells says
Tom’s got the right civic & environmentally correct vision for this besieged parcel of land!
Steve Shimko says
While I appreciate Mr. Ledvina’s concern about the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas, he states that “the entire sports complex, 62% of the dwellings, and 41% of the commercial space will occupy Maryland Critical Area, designated to protect the Chesapeake. The question I have for Mr. Ledvina is “How much of the Paper Mill Crossing development, where I assume he lives, is in the Critical Area”?
Margaret McConnel says
This is incredible and must be stopped! How can this proposal not be in violation of all kinds of environmental policies including our own comprehensive plan? What I find even more puzzling, or maybe not, is why the developers feel this proposal will be approved? If it is approved I think Talbot County citizens need to start asking some though questions of our elected and appointed officials.
Steve Shimko says
A lot of the comments, both here and at Easton Planning Commission hearings/workshops, have expressed concern about the traffic impacts. These concerns are not unwarranted.
However, if you really want to fight this development on traffic issues, opponents need to hire/engage their own traffic consultant to balance or dispute what the developer’s traffic “expert” is going to proffer. I have never heard a traffic consultant for a developer say that Development X will result in a failing intersection at Y. At worse, they may say that a given intersection meets the State’s minimum “Level of Service” category.
Unfortunately, I would not count on Easton to do this – to offer a counter expert to the one the developer has hired.
Pamela Reynolds says
My understanding is for these expansive developments Easton Planning Commission will now require that a traffic engineer be retained by the TOE at the expense of the developer. We need to make sure that they follow through on this requirement with Poplar Hill.
Steve Shimko says
I hope you’re right. It takes a special kind of traffic engineer (or zoning lawyer, for that matter) to take a position against a developer. The simple reason is that working for developers, and reaching conclusions favorable to their project, is where the money is.
Jane Bollman says
Poplar Hill as envisioned is inappropriate for this location. Do we really need all of the houses, retail and office space, a sports complex, a fire substation on the Oxford Road? This proposal should be scaled way back.
David Montgomery says
This is an excellent description of the danger of Poplar Hill. The visual impact alone of ball fields, stands and parking lots on the “Oxford scenic corridor” would make that name into a joke. I am at a loss why a developer would not consult first with neighbors and the town to develop a proposal that would contribute something the community wants and avoid harming the quality of life in the affected communities. The proposed commercial development on the bypass would also destroy the last scenic portion of that road.
We need to keep pressure on our town leaders to reject the developer’s request for a critical area allocation. Before the November election Pete Lesher assured us that the County Council would never approve that allocation, but the election seems to have left us with a pro-development majority there. Much better if the Easton Town Council refuses to request that allocation from the County, so that we do not have to rely on the County Council to save us.
Poplar Hill is just too big, too dense and too disruptive to be approved. It is totally out of scale with surrounding neighborhoods. Commercial and retail development should remain in existing commercial areas, and there are far better locations for high density residential buildings in and near downtown.
Clara Kelly says
Ralph Walker says
I am 87and moved to Easton originally in 1962. Living in Woodland Farms boarding adjacent Easton Club I have seen the past of a beautiful area and am appalled in the destruction of such a great area. Why would anyone purchase the Popular Hill
property with out doing their homework unless they thought it would fly?
Walk across Oxford Road to the beautiful Easton Club and see the MHC proposed development intertwined with the beautiful
homes laid out with architecture and design
that resembles Disney World? Can’t you see, those in this process, the harm to this area?
Then the call for more traffic studies which are a joke. The real study needs a tent to be pitched for a month to watch the real world, not just numbers on paper. By the way has anyone wondered when the state will 4-lane the bypass and be known as Route 50 west? It will happen someday, watch. Where are all these people going to work, putting more stress on
our Easton Utilities, hospital, schools, fire department plus telling our farmers how to do it a new way?
Enough is enough. Pray for wise results folks and speak up! Oh and buy the way, do our wildlife have any say?