“To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers.” – L. L’Amour
Have you been invited to participate in the Comprehensive Plan rewrite process? Did you get an E-vite, tweet, Facebook event notice or postcard? Do you even know what the Comprehensive Plan is? Calvert County used to be recognized for its citizen participation and workshops, public forums, mailing of draft plans, etc. Times have changed.
Since the May 2019 draft of the Plan, there has never been a public presentation of it in which citizens could ask questions in front of their peers and get answers as to why this Plan is so drastically different from the past. Open houses held with three days notice don’t count. Calvin Coolidge said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” Some people are not listening.
This Plan is the official policy document for Calvert County.
It will set the stage for decades to come. It’s used by the county to make decisions big and small; from who can have backyard chickens to how we spend the FY2020 $312,915,075 for the general fund. It’s used by the state to give us money, by bond rating agencies to loan us money, by prospective businesses which bring in tax money.
And finally it’s used by residents...or should that say uses the residents?
Did you know the July 2019 draft of the Comprehensive Plan:
Terminates the distinction between Major and Minor Town Centers (TC).
Expands TC boundaries before their citizens update the town master plans.
Eliminates policy links between growth and adequate public facilities like roads, schools, a safe water supply, etc.
Removes the 37,000 household build-out.
Hinges on a stale capacity analysis from 2017; not one based on the details of this Plan.
Expands Huntingtown TC east across MD 4 to create a traffic bottleneck but up zones a Commissioner’s own property.
Stop and think. How would these changes affect your quality of life? Will your small town mushroom out with apartments and huge retail buildings? Will you need 45 more minutes to drive to work or your kids’ sports on time? Will classrooms have 28 or more kids and be in a trailer? Will your taxes go up? Your home is likely your biggest investment; how will its value be affected?
The public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday July 23. Can you make it in time?
On page 7-2 the Plan says approximately 60% of Calvert residents commute outside the county and are on the roads a considerable time. Can you commuters make it to Calvert Pines Senior Center auditorium in Prince Frederick by 5 p.m.? And if you don’t sign in by 6 p.m., you can’t speak.
Abe Lincoln said, “With public sentiment, nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed”. It seems the Calvert Board of County Commissioners could learn from Mr. Lincoln. Participate. Let the BoCC know your position. Show up July 23 at 5 p.m. E-mail them at email@example.com.
Make sure they know that you love Calvert County, and that the Comp Plan must protect it.