Regarding the letter to the editor Jan 4 2022 by Calvin Yowell. I have to say needs clarification, and Boy do I disagree with the good faith comments Mr Yowell made in his letter.
In my 18 years experience of wrestling this Rocks, Rauch developer on this very project in Trappe, there isn’t a glimpse of good faith this developer has come forward with. In my experience, it’s always a constant and slick barrage of revisions with the developers rights and responsibility agreements, always his lawyers weaseling out of prior agreements and responsibilities, Always pushing the edge of what they can get away with. Always looking to take advantage of action with no defenses. Very disingenuous indeed.
If you attended or sat in on the last Dan Watson presentation to Talbot County council you will have witnessed Dan’s summary of the misrepresentations this developer and Maryland department of Environment have brought to this ill fated project. You will not be struck by sincerity and straightforward goodness from the developer but rather untruths and misrepresentations. Mr Yowell must not be following closely. It was a shocking litany of horrors and missteps.
If you go back to look at the 2006 “ Fodor report” which was created by a forensic accounting firm hired to look into how the developer structured the annexation of property to the town of Trappe and it’s proposed “special tax district”, the developer went as far as to create a special exemption tax zone for the new village area where taxes are not charged or linked to the same rate as in town taxes , ( in effect creating a new town within an old town but not sharing the fiscal responsibilities within) you will see what amounts to complete disingenuous and very questionable developer behavior. This much is fully known by forensic experts who do Know what they are talking about. Do we question the credentials of an accounting company and trust them less than we trust the developer. That’s a hardy no from me. I’d suggest that accountants know as much about tax evasion as does any developer and can spot a rotten egg when they see one. They sure saw a rotten one in 2006.
So I fully reject this developer has acted in good faith and if you believe that , you haven’t been following this project very long. In fact the letter Calvin Yowell wrote looks a lot like a plea for developers rights and I’m surprised more readers of the Talbot Spy haven’t been thoroughly outraged.
Not to make to big a complaint here about the article / letter, I think there are a few good points and quite as many bad points to be made. I’m well aware that growth must be accommodated. Good design will bring prosperity to a region. Yes, the entire project should be re-evaluated. Yes, the developer should not be allowed to hook up to a failed wastewater system. Yes, MDE should be held in contempt of its own environmental laws. And Yes, developers deserve the right to create good local communities , but if you look at the plan for Lakeside, it’s not a community, It’s suburban sprawl and it’s exactly the kind of thing the 2016 county comprehensive plan tries desperately to prohibit. In the discussions with Talbot County, it was obvious the development was way out of character. Four story Mid rise apartment buildings clustered around a lake with paddle boats and a yacht club does not define a idyllic waterfront Chesapeake community to me. It speaks more of a Florida coastal resort or Reston Virginia. I think the developer should just simply retire having done enough damage to our area. Easton club east isn’t a model community in any stretch of the imagination.
But Mr Yowell does not mention the things the developer has neglected to provide namely because these items that make a development a community that developer has omitted , are not profitable, they diminish profit, yet that part is essential to creating community. That would be a failure of the developer to provide anything that resembles an adequate public facility Plan.
Once delivered the 2500 development houses, a full sized town, where’s the no public facilities: no post office, no churches, no parks , no schools, no town hall, no firehouse, etc etc not just water and sewer , only the most basic of utilities are provided and nothing else.
If these essential public services are not provided for, local taxes will have to go up to pay for their Construction. You simply can’t build a full sized town with no functional center. The developers sleight of hand here pretends that this really isn’t a town, it’s a bedroom community, and shouldn’t need these community facilities.
But actually, the proposed physical fully built out PUD is actually eight times the size of the existing town 300 house town. Amazingly the existing town has more essential public facilities in place now than the developer provides with his 8 times expansion plan. You can only imagine how overtaxed the school system will be, the roads will be, how thoroughly unlivable this project will be. And once realized the developer will have vanished.
So the community facility aspect of this is dreadfully lacking. And it’s intentionally omitted and it’s also because the town of Trappe has not demanded it as they should. One wonders why they haven’t.
Anyway, Talbot county is the last emergency brake for this pending horrific sprawl development. We shouldn’t feel a tinge of sorry or regrets for a developer with very deep pockets from northern Virginia coming spreading suburban legacy in a place where it’s not wanted and least of all needed. That’s really the least of our worries. His greed has literally boxed himself into this current county versus developer predicament.
Yes, Mr Yowell, We need to start over completely, and drive some sense into this horrible plAnned unit development. I’ll go that far. But feel sorry for an exploited developer , nope, not a chance.