I live in Ward 3 in Easton Club off Oxford Road and have so for over 22 years. David Montgomery and Ron Engle are our Town Council candidates. There are two large developments that have been proposed in Ward 3: Maryland Health Club, LLC (“MHC”), a so-called health and wellness compound in the Easton Club; and, Poplar Hill a housing development of approximately 450 homes, apartments and townhouses with a three-field sports complex across the road from Easton Club on Oxford Road.
David Montgomery has openly and repeatedly stated that he is opposed to the poorly planned MHC development submitted for a PUD amendment application by the inexperienced and first-time developers as a project that is not in compliance with the Town of Easton Comprehensive Plan and where there is no evidence of financial viability. He has also stated his opposition to the current plan of Poplar Hill on Oxford Road as being too large, in addition to being a threat to the property’s critical areas that lie on the Tred Avon River.
Ron Engle, the incumbent who lives in the Easton Club, has not stated his voting position on either project; although as residents of the Easton Club we know that he has facilitated development of the former golf course property by MHC over the last seven years that they have owned the property. In the recent Star Democrat Candidate Profile, when asked to comment on his specific plans to improve Ward 3, he never mentioned the proposed Easton Club development and, as to Poplar Hill, Mr. Engel stated his goal was to “install a traffic light at Route 322 and Tristen Drive whether Poplar Hill occurs or not.” Really, that’s it? Two very important issues facing the residents of Ward 3 and Mr. Engle is touting a traffic light installation.
We need to demand that our Town Council members look at the bigger picture and tackle the issue of the future growth of the Oxford corridor and its effects on the surrounding communities. We need to know where the candidates stand on these issues. We know where David Montgomery stands. Use this knowledge and vote on May 2nd.
Letters to Editor
Holly Wright says
Ron Engle, and Megan Cook who may continue as President of the Town Council, have not taken formal positions on MHC or Poplar Hill since it is inappropriate for those serving on the Town Council to make public statements that prejudge any project that may come before them. Al Silverstein has taken a position against these projects since he is running for Mayor and serving out his Town Council term this month. It has been inappropriate for David Montgomery to take a definitive position on these projects since he is running for a Town Council position.
Philip G Russell says
Why is it inappropriate for Ron Engle, Megan Cook, or David Montgomery to make a statement on the 2 proposed, massive Town of Easton developments? Don’t Easton residents/voters/taxpayers deserve to know where these candidates stand on these projects? As a voter I sure want to know.
Jerry McConnell says
Apparently there are definitive guidelines ( restrictions?) on what members of the Town Council and Planning Commission can say about projects under their jurisdiction. This prevents them from speaking publicly or privately about them. Never knew this.
So, an elected Council member running for reelection can hide his opinions (on issues) that might be unfavorable with voters, resulting in his /or her reelection.
In this case Mr Engle is obviously supportive of housing growth and development ( per his epistle in Sunday’s S-D.) And, without naming it himself, he is obviously supportive of the Poplar Hill project, especially the high density component.
This, despite environmental, traffic and other concerns raised by regulatory authorities and residents.
Mr Engle is not a suitable candidate for reelection.
Bob Kopec says
Going to need a LOT more than a traffic light when the occupants of those 450 dwellings leave to go to work and return each day!
Susie Hayward says
Here we go again, folks. David Montgomery’s followers continue regurgitating the same accusations about his position on the two developments on Oxford Rd. Yet he has already made it clear in the comment section of the article here: https://talbotspy.org/why-i-am-running-for-re-election-for-town-council-ward-3/ .Engle also explained this during the debate on April 18th and in his written comments in the Star Democrat today. He has said it repeatedly to anyone who has asked. He very clearly expressed his serious concerns about both developments and most certainly did not equivocate. He also made it clear that his legal responsibilities as a sworn town official preclude him from publicly making a formal decision on an application before the Planning and Zoning Commission evaluates it and before all information has been submitted. Making a decision before it is even presented to the Council subverts the process. Most people understand this.
In short, no matter if you are applying for a permit to build a deck or a swimming pool or a 5-unit or 500-unit development, everyone deserves a fair hearing. Do we really want a government that will make a decision before you even get the chance to appear before them and state your case? All too often, I hear people say, “Why bother? They already made up their minds” This is so sad and should not be the case, and it is not the case with officials who truly believe that everyone deserves to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity. In this case, that person is Ron Engle, not David Montgomery or, apparently, his followers.
Clara Kelly says
Truth is, Ron Engle has not represented the interests of the majority of his Ward 3 constituents effectively during his 8 years in office.
His naive approach to governance has helped out-of-town developers and their local realtors and consultants lead us down a path to urbanization. These people don’t care about preserving our environment or quality of life — only their own self-interests.
If reelected, Mr. Engle’s misguided approach to the complex issues of labor shortages and affordable housing, among other things, are going to catapult the Eastern Shore into disastrous over development. And if a commercial metropolis is what Mr. Engle aspires to achieve, why doesn’t he simply move back to Virginia and leave Talbot County alone.
His efforts related to traffic safety and the income and benefits package for our excellent police department are truly appreciated. But those and Mr. Engle’s other “accomplishments” and “service on [multiple] boards and commissions” say nothing about his ability to address the current and future needs of Easton.
We must have thoughtful leaders whose knowledge, experience and character are conducive to finding well-planned, innovative solutions to the problems we face. It’s not a matter of being reluctant to change — it’s a matter of preventing urban sprawl and preserving the rural areas of Talbot County. Today’s mistakes will take generations to correct.
If you share these views and believe our Eastern Shore way of life is in jeopardy, please vote for David Montgomery on May 2.
P.S. To Ms. Wright — My husband and I purchased our home in Ward 3 in 2017, and our family has resided and maintained ties to the Oxford, Easton, and St. Michaels communities since the 1980s.
Susie Hayward says
Here we go again, with more catchwords and phrases. Ron Engle has repeatedly outlined his background, his involvement in the community, and what he has done specifically for Ward 3, and you say, “Mr. Engle’s other “accomplishments” and “service on [multiple] boards and commissions” say nothing about his ability to address the current and future needs of Easton.” Well, Clara, in my humble opinion, this says a lot about Mr. Engle’s ability to serve the Town of Easton. Or maybe you are only downplaying Mr. Engle’s extensive involvement in the community because your candidate, Mr. Montgomery, has had no involvement in the community at all.
Clara Kelly says
Susie, as you well know, Mr. Engle was quite familiar with the Poplar Hill and Maryland Health Club developments years before the developers of these projects filed for PUD amendments and submitted their plans for review by the Town’s Planning and Zoning Department. Since 2021, he has had more than enough time to express his concerns to our Ward 3 communities and to reach out to them on a periodic basis to update them, listen to their concerns and provide assurances that the Town is committed to adhering to the Comprehensive Plan.
Instead of being proactive, however, Mr. Engle chose to remain silent…
…until several weeks before tomorrow’s election and weeks after he was asked his position regarding these two projects. No one asked for his decision, as your statements about fair processes and illegality imply.
Residents of Mr. Engle’s Ward 3 have had to endure immeasurable anxiety and uncertainty for the past 4 years because he prioritized the interests of two out-of-state developers over those of his own constituents.
I am not downplaying Mr. Engle’s accomplishments during his 2 terms in office. On the contrary, I did not oppose his election 4 years ago. But I am now shedding light on his failure since then to focus on the needs of Ward 3 constituents and our neighbors in Oxford and St. Michaels above those of out-of-state developers whose motives are clearly profit-driven.
Four more years of Mr. Engle? In my humble opinion, no.
If my fellow Ward 3 citizens agree, I hope they will vote for David Montgomery for Ward 3 Councilman on May 2.