Letter to the Editor: Playing Kick the Can on Nextstep190 in Talbot County

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On August 28th at the Talbot County Council meeting I watched the most amazing game of Kick the Can played by three adults that I have ever seen. The “can” is the zoning changes known as Nextstep190. It has been in the works for two years, since the update of the County Comprehensive Plan which also took two years to draft. There was to be a vote by the Council to accept or reject the zoning changes with amendments attached. All but one, introduced by Jennifer Williams Friday late afternoon of August 24 two days before scheduled vote; of these of these amendments had been before the public and the Council for several weeks and had been subject to public hearings.

Mr. Callahan said he needed more time to study Nextstep190 and its amendments. Ms. Williams happily gave him more time. Now what baffles me is these zoning changes have been TWO years in the making. The changes are in order to be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, that also took TWO years to update. FOUR years of dwelling on these issues is not enough time? Perhaps someone should offer Cliff Notes.

Mr. Pack is going on vacation and will out of the country on September 11, the next Council meeting where Nextstep190 will once again be on the agenda. He will give his proxy. What if other amendments are offered after Mr. Pack leaves? A split vote kills it. Does the entirety of Nextstep190 die as well?

So, how does this game end? Does Jennifer Williams, with her manipulative, opaque methodology accompanied by two enablers win, dooming Talbot County to sprawling, ear splitting, uncontrolled growth? Or do the voters cast their votes in November for Laura Price, who listens, considers, offers thoughtful solutions to the issues of concern, along with four new council members who have no vested interest, as Ms. Williams and Mr. Callahan do? I want to protect my home and County. I know how I’m voting. But first, we have to get through the next Council meeting on September 11 and possible vote up or down. Let your voices be heard.

Alexa Seip
Easton

Letters to Editor

  1. Robert Haase says:

    September 6, 2018

    Mr. Cory Pack
    Talbot County Councilman

    Dear Mr. Pack;

    As I’m sure you realize, Talbot County has a critical decision on Tuesday, September 11 when the County Council will determine the direction and future of our county.
    Two important issues that you will be voting on are Short Term Rentals (basically B&B’s without Breakfast or onsite management) and connections to public sewer extended to relieve overburdened septic fields negatively affecting our water quality. The first has a potential to destroy our traditional densely zoned working-class neighborhoods in favor of supplying lodging for weekend transients. The second is controlling the spread of housing sprawl.
    Councilwomen Price has introduced two bills that will slow both from happening. Amendment 9 will restrict STR’s in the county’s town residential zones (most dense) which are only found around the incorporated towns. It fits with the town’s plans as St. Michaels does not allow STR’s in their R1 zone which abuts the county TR zone and Easton has enacted one if the toughest STR’s regulations on the shore. Amendment 4 clearly defines that being able to connect to a new public sewer line cannot be the only reason to request a zoning change, it doesn’t stop one from requesting a change but only requires that additional substantial reasons must be provided for a zoning change.
    At the last public hearing, the substance of the STR amendment was supported by the owner of Eastern Shore Vacation Rentals (the largest STR management company in Talbot County) and amendment 9 received favor when the Star Democrat editorial page wrote that the Price amendment seemed reasonable.
    While special interest groups may attempt to pressure the Council to prevent the passage of these two amendments, we urge you to listen to your constituents and vote to support Councilwomen Price’s amendments and Talbot County residents.

    Sincerely,

    Bob Haase

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