In a recap of the Planning Commission's August 22nd work session, Planning Director Mark Willis is quoted as saying, when questioned about the proposal to make Dunkirk a Major Town Center (which would allow sewer):
"I think how you counter the potential for explosive growth is that you update your Town Center Master Plan and your zoning to account for that. You put there what you want to put there. You restrict what you can restrict legally and that helps."
Keep Calvert Country has been advocating for this from the beginning of the Comprehensive Plan process. We have asked for removal of all the expansions of Town Centers proposed in the draft Comprehensive Plan, and that each Town Center be permitted to determine whether it should be expanded (or in the case of Dunkirk, made into a Major Town Center) during the Master Plan process.
If Mr. Willis agrees with this proposal, as his statement would lead us to believe, then it is his duty to redraft the Comprehensive Plan to remove all expansions and let Dunkirk remain a Minor Town Center. But Mr. Willis also stated:
"I don’t know what else to tell you about water and sewer. It’s not on our plan but other folks are planning it."
Who are these "other folks" who are planning sewer in Dunkirk? I'm sure you can guess. In our comments to the Planning Commission, we are requesting that the decision about Dunkirk be deferred until the Master Plan is updated. Stay tuned to see whether the citizens' concerns will win out over the developers' and the County Commissioners' pro-development agenda. Read the full article here.
In a related Letter to the Editor, Carol Grimstead, a resident of Yellow Bank Road, expresses outrage about the proposal to rezone the properties along Yellow Bank Road from Farm and Forest to Residential, which would allow up to 4 units per acre. On Page 9-11, the draft Plan states:
"Developer-funded extensions of public sewer systems are permitted in the designated Residential areas surrounding Major Town Centers, as identified on the Future Land Use Plan Map."
Take a look at this clip of the Land Use Map. The new Residential Area where sewer and high-density housing will be permitted is extensive, not only around Dunkirk, but also adjacent to North Beach and Chesapeake Beach, which are also Major Town Centers. (see page 3-14 of the draft Plan)
Is this what the citizens want? Imagine the traffic nightmare commuters will face as they drive back and forth to work everyday. How many additional schools will be needed to accommodate all this growth? And what about the impact on our aquifers? The County is rushing the Comprehensive Plan through before the elections without taking any of these issues into consideration. And speaking of the elections, which candidates are supporting this push for Dunkirk's development? That's an important question to ask before going to the polls in November.
If the County wants to make Dunkirk "the Gateway to Calvert County", then they should allow the citizens and not developers to carefully plan its future by updating the Dunkirk Master Plan. After all, the citizens are who will have to live with all this development long after the developers have gone.
The Planning Commission is in the process of reviewing the 2nd Draft of the Comprehensive Plan and is accepting comments on a continuous basis. Send your comments to:
By mail: Calvert 2040 Comments Calvert County Department of Planning & Zoning 175 Main Street Prince Frederick, MD 20678 By email: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put "Calvert 2040 Comments" in the subject line) By fax: 410-414-3092