- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
During the past week as temperatures soared into the 100s, I, like many of you, was trapped in the confines of my home waiting for the heat wave to lift. I had a lot of time to look at the Weather Channel, which proved very enlightening. I observed that La Plata ran four to five degrees hotter than the surrounding communities some days even hotter than Washington, D.C. I had noticed this myself driving home from work every day from Newburg via La Plata to Zachia Manor on Route 5 South. Partway down Route 488, the temperature would drop anywhere from three to four degrees simply because I was traveling through a forested region.
The message from environmentalists to all county commissioners has been one of conservation, smart growth, completion of the comprehensive plan, and protection of preservation areas and waterways such as the Mattawoman Creek, the Zekiah Swamp, and the Chesapeake Bay.
I recently read that Charles County missed the state deadline to submit its strategies for reducing nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as established by the EPA in 2010. It now will be required to implement a default plan from the Maryland Department of the Environment with imposed consequences if it fails to do so.
Charles County seems to drag its feet when it comes to making responsible, environmental decisions. I attended the last meeting of Concerned Citizens for a Better Charles County and learned that there are currently 900-plus properties available for sale in Charles County. Instead of researching ways to move these homes, another 1,000-plus residences are on the books to be built, which means clearing more land, destroying more trees and adding more pollution. When property was being cleared to build the huge apartment complexes that now extend up and down Billingsley Road, I used to cringe at the sight of dumpsters the size of railroad cars filled with burning trees that had been cleared to make way for these projects. The trees were not sent to chipping plants or used in any other way; they were simply wasted. So much for leaving a gentle footprint upon the earth and not using more than we need.
The Charles County Planning Commission soon will have another opportunity to make an environmentally responsible decision. Up for consideration is the proposed rezoning of more than six acres of land at the intersection of Billingsley Road and Route 5 from agricultural to commercial. This land is adjacent to Zachia Manor and an 8-acre private lake on the development property. Runoff from a proposed commuter parking lot and gas station will flow into a wetland area that feeds the Zekiah Swamp, Allens Fresh and the Wicomico River. This runoff will also affect the private lake and individual wells of the homeowners who reside in Zachia Manor. It is my hope that the commissioners will step up to the plate ands make the right environmental decision by refusing to allow this spot zoning request. I urge the commissioners to literally not “pave paradise and put up another parking lot,” which is neither needed nor wanted.
Beverly Johnson, Waldorf