I am writing to all of you as a taxpayer and citizen of Talbot County in connection with the development known as Lakeside in Trappe. Like many, I have been following the activities of the Talbot County Council and the Planning Commission with concern. My issue is quite simple. I am not altogether certain that all of you and your advisors comprehend the nature of the authority that you already have under the so-called Boomer case.
Perhaps you do, but I have heard no public reference to it and for the avoidance of doubt, I am attaching a copy of the March 2, 2017 decision of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in Boomer v. Waterman Family Ltd. P’Ship, 232 Md. App. 1*; 155 A.3d901**; 2017 Md. App.
LEXIS 221***; 2017 WL 823712.
The case is a mere four (4) pages and the facts of the case seem closely analogous to the facts at hand. This Council’s Resolution 281 closely resembles Queen Anne’s Resolution 14-31, which had approved certain Queenstown zoning classifications for an annexed parcel that allowed substantially different land uses.
When, shortly thereafter, the Queen Anne’s County Council rescinded the Resolution, the Circuit court held the rescission to be improper. The Court of Special Appeals reversed the circuit court and held the rescission to be wholly proper.
In plain language, the appellate court held unequivocally that the County authorities had and have the power to rescind a prior Resolution where it is a public law adopted under Md. Const. art. XI-F, §6. It seems plain from the Court’s opinion that the holding described likely applies here and hence this County Council seems to have right now the authority to rescind Resolution 281, and the Planning Commission too, as to their related findings.
One might surmise that if the Planning Commission had independent, competent, and knowledgeable counsel, the Commissioners surely would have been briefed earlier about this seemingly important case and its implications here.
I suggest to you that it is in the interest of the County, its taxpayers, its citizens, its residents, and others for the County Council to exercise forthwith its authority to rescind Resolution 281, its prior approval of the Lakeside project, and to reconsider the entire project based on updated, accurate information about the impact of the project on public health, wastewater runoff into the local rivers and streams tributaries, and indeed the Chesapeake Bay itself. Should the County
Council fail to exercise this authority, it seems plausible that the developers will use any further delay to try to take steps to “move dirt” or otherwise claim that their rights have in some fashion “vested” in good faith reliance upon the County Council’s ago approval of Resolution 281.
While the superficial short-term impact might be localized to the Trappe area, any medium and longer-term impact would not just be local but likely countywide.
John DeQ. Briggs