- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
We have mixed feelings in Waldorf about residential development and school growth. As a concerned resident of Charles County, I attend commissioners’ town hall meetings in order to stay informed and ask direct questions about my concerns and observations.
Recently, at Commissioner Reuben B. Collins II’s town hall meeting, I was appalled to hear the position shared by Collins regarding my questions about the topic of recently approved Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements. Mr. Collins stated, “Staff was not at fault.” Who was at fault? I was surprised by Mr. Collins statement that Commissioner Candice Kelly “didn’t understand.”
Again, not only do some commissioners not understand the will of the residents of the county, we have commissioners who appear not to be on the same page. I was dismayed by Mr. Collins’ clear undermining of the president of the commissioners. I am disturbed that Mr. Collins was unwilling to answer my questions directly. I left the meeting with more questions than answers.
We need commissioners who are willing to talk with the residents of Charles County, not talk at them. We need commissioners who are willing to answer the difficult questions.
After hours of research, I still believe that our most recently approved DRRAs were approved without using the state-rated capacity guidelines. I know mistakes happen, but why are our leaders afraid to step up and admit to the problem and then rectify the problem? I would expect them to fix the problem unless the incorrect data benefited the majority.
Mr. Collins stated that the crowding in our public schools is overstated. I do not know which schools he is visiting. If you look at Maryland’s AYP data for 2010 to 2011, there are more than 28 student increases in the county, as he stated in the meeting. Mr. Collins needs to check his data.
I agree with him that the bulk of the growth in the county is in Waldorf. However, I disagree with him regarding the continuation of building here in the heart of Waldorf. How can Mr. Collins in one breath state that the bulk of growth is in one area and then in the next breath support the approval of additional development in the same area?
It is my hope that the commissioners will take up the issue that Commissioner Bobby Rucci pointed out about the DRRAs. The current process is like a leap of faith. I would like to see the process changed so that we can address development while keeping the adequate public facilities ordinance and developers in mind.
Developers should seek a preliminary approval before spending thousands if not millions of dollars on a property. School board members should have been included in the conversation about development and resources from the beginning. This should be a collaborative relationship. This seems like the right move.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue to ask difficult questions. I do expect that our commissioners will work together to get the job done. We need to stop having 2-3 votes. We need to stop ignoring the term limits of committee members. We need to take personality out of our decisions. We need to take ownership of our decision or lack of decisions.
Amanda Stewart, Waldorf