Sunday, November 8, 2009

CR-082-2009 & Brandywine Crossing II

Mining In Subregion V, South Prince George's County

Special Exception Applications for Mining:

In addition to the five (5) SE Applications filed with MNCPPC for sand and gravel mines
in residential/rural tier areas for a total of 1,590+/- acres, to operate consecutively.

Active Mining “Special Exceptions” Applications are as follows
Aggregate Industries- McKendree Rd., NE of Garner Rd.
Aggregate Industries- 6705 Accokeek Road, Brandywine, Maryland 20613
Chaney Enterprises- Previously Robin Dale Golf Club
Gudelsky Materials- On Brandywine Rd. It has road frontage on Evergreen Way
Bardon Group, Inc.- On SW side of Brandywine Road, at the inter/W Gibbons Church Road.

Brandywine and the portion of the PPA south of Accokeek Road contains some old, active, and future sand and
gravel mines. mining sites can sometimes be reclaimed for development, but the land will be rendered entirely barren, even down to a microbial level. It's natural attributes cannot be reclaimed. Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that breaks in ecosystems, whether woodlands, wetlands, or watersheds, degrade those systems, and threaten the viability of the species therein. Further, direct and indirect air and water pollution resulting from mining activities make them a poor choice in residential and environmentally sensitive areas such as these.

Priority Preservation Area

Gain state certification of the recommended PPA within Subregion 5.
  • Implement the PPA through code revisions, amendments, and programmatic changes as outlined.
  • Develop an installment purchase agreement option.
  • Require mitigation for activities that use soil productivity classes I, II, III agricultural or forest soils in the Rural Tier in Subregion 5. What kind of mitigation? How much?
  • Stimulate and facilitate landowner interest in selling easements under the county’s
  • Woodland Conservation and Tree Preservation Ordinance. This is a great idea. Increase the open space easement requirement in conservation subdivisions.
  • in the PPA: in the O-S Zone from sixty percent to seventy percent and in the R-A Zone from fifty percent to sixty percent.
  • Establish an agricultural zone for the express purpose of encouraging agriculture as an intended, long term land use. We are in strong support of this concept, but would like more information included in this document. What will the guidelines for the agricultural zone be? Will it be mandatory or voluntary?
Mineral Resource Areas
Evaluate the utilization of a mineral overlay zoning district that corresponds to the
unexploited sand and gravel deposits, avoiding already developed lands, to protect mineral resources. The boundaries of the district could be limited to the PPA. Within the overlay district require the following: Promoting sand and gravel mining is in direct opposition to the principles behind land and ecosystem preservation. Sand and Gravel mining has the potential to cause serious human health hazards, air and water pollution, and watershed depredation, and the failure of reclamation efforts to achieve acceptable levels of vegetation structure. (see studies by the U.S. House of Representatives; Washington State Department of Ecology; Fisheries Research, Missouri Department of Conservation, and The Biodiversity Conservation Unit of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning, and Environment.)

In order to control the copious airborne particulates (dust) produced by sand and gravel mining that put humans at such a direct high risk for developing serious health problems, millions of gallons of water must be used every day. This is almost guaranteed to cause a serious runoff problem, endangering nearby watersheds and waterways, but also poses a serious and direct risk to residential water supplies.

In the predominantly Rural Tier area in which sand and gravel mining would occur, residents rely on private wells for water. Many of these are in danger of “drying up.” In other words, the water table in the aquifers from which the wells draw water is dropping so quickly and significantly that water will no longer be available for use if serious measures are not put in place to curb large-scale usage. This plan does not identify alternative potential water sources for use in mining activities.

Finally, the increase in dump truck traffic would cause a great increase in noise, wear and tear, and dust on rural roads which are not designed to handle the weight or level of such traffic. The effects of these impacts on residents will have a negative impact on their quality of life.

  • Surveys of mineral resources prior to development for other uses. Recommendations to promote mining are wholely inappropriate if appropriate surveys have not even been completed; planners are suggesting uses which might cause incredible depredation without bothering to find out where this might occur.
  • Offering access to mineral resources, if present, prior to development.
  • Penalizing developers for deciding not to engage in mining, at the great detriment of people and ecosystems, is unfair to both developers and the general public.
  • Increased setback requirements from outside property lines of development parcels to minimize potential effects of noise and dust from future mining on adjoining unexploited parcels.
  • Post mining reclamation requirements that match preservation, community recreation, and environmental needs. Within the PPA these should encourage reclamation for agriculture or woodland. Please see attached studies referenced above.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Temporarily Suspending or Tolling of Fees

Public Hearing
June 2, 2009 – 10:00 a.m.
County Administration Building, Council Committee Room 2027
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive in Upper Marlboro

Bills Updated Status
CB-07-2009 / CB-08-2009

Proposer(s): Dean

Sponsor(s): Dean, Bland

Item Title: An Ordinance

1. CB-7-2009 (Sponsored by Dean) - An Ordinance concerning Validity Periods for Detailed Site Plans and Specific Design Plans for the purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all Approved applications for Detailed Site Plans and Specific Design Plans that are currently in a valid status. (Held)

2. CB-8-2009 (Sponsored by Dean) - An Subdivision Bill concerning validity periods for Preliminary Plans of Subdivision for the purpose of temporarily suspending or tolling the validity periods of all approved applications for Preliminary Plans of Subdivision that are currently in a valid status (Held)

The hearing held on last Wednesday, March 18, 2009 on the above legislation with the Planning Zoning Economic Development Committee (PZED,) with no doubt would have passed through without our testifying in opposition as the community leader and association member, and President, of the Brandywine / TB, Rt 301 West Region Neighborhood Coalition (The BTB), along with a representative of the District V Coffee Club.

We must inform you that Mr. Tom Dernoga was the only Council member who required investigative questions regarding this legislation. It has been tabled until Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm., these bills look as if they will get pushed through - with or without amendments concerning the public safety surcharge, without the adjustments in the exemptions, and the new School Surcharge for which the Land Developers have paid or are paying a fee of $5,000, instead of the current fee since 2005 of $12,000+.

At the March 18, 2009, PZED hearing it was stated: “For that reason, we did not collect ANY surcharge fees until recently, to date for the last 18 months a total of $794, 000, for 2008 and $22,700 for 2009”. Now, we are collecting a little, but the plans in the pipeline are to exempt!

The Planning Board submitted a letter to the committee in support of CB-7-2009 and CB-8-2009. The Office of Law determined that these Council Bills are in proper legislative form with no legal impediments to their enactment.

Tom Haller, representing MTM Builders, and Tom Farasy, representing the Maryland National Capital Building Industry Association spoke in support of CB-7-2009 and CB-8-2009. Catharine Taggart-Ross and Kamita Gray addressed the committee in opposition to both Council Bills.

The Prince Georges County Association of Realtors submitted a letter in support of CB-7-2009 and CB-8-2009. Remember these are the same Developers that sold us these inflated houses made the come back to us the community and cry wolf.

Please pass on: Your “PRESENCE” and “VOICE” is absolutely critical! We know that this information can be overwhelming, but please read all for YOURSELF, and be empowered.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND… In 2005, there was an influx of applications due to the fact that Surcharge Fees where about to increase and the State placed a grandfather rule on the public safety surcharge so that it does not apply to subdivision plans filed prior to 7/1/05. The development community filed a lot of plans just prior to that date to avoid the surcharge. They did the same thing in 2003 or 2004 when the education surcharge increased from $5,000 to $12,000.

So, while the purpose of CB-7, CB-8-2009 is to waive surcharge fees, one possible consequence of the extension of the validity period is that “Grandfathered” plans will become a “GREAT” Grandfather! …. while the County Executive, Jack Johnson, and some of the County Council members were in favor of Legislation to Raise our property taxes (Homestead Bill) due to the Economic downturn, the Land Developers have been working to get “CREDITS” ... Since 2005! Land Developers Builders have ONLY paid a fee of $5,000 when the fees should have been $12,000+, and NO PUBLIC SAFETY SURCHARGE FEES!

We have a shortfall in the Prince George’s County Budget for Public Safety, we may loose Police Officers and Services to furloughs and layoffs, why are we not speaking out about this injustice to the tax papers, when the “Public Safety Surcharge” is not being paid by the Land Developers and Builders, therefore a major contributing cause of the shortfall in the “Public Safety Budget” a direct cause of “Public Safety” cuts.

On Monday, March 30, 2009, 08:00 AM-10:00 AM, Greenbelt Marriott 6400 Ivy Lane Greenbelt, MD 20770….The Annual Breakfast of the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association Prince George's Liaison Committee with the County Executive and County Council.

This event was a celebration and is held every year with our Prince George's County Council, and in our opinion is a conflict of interest. They facility direct access to decision makers. If this legislation is passed that will give the Land Developers a BIG SAVING$ on us the Tax payers. FYI, the same “Party” was held in Montgomery County but the Legislation was only proposed for 8 Months and very limited, Prince George’s County Proposed Legislation is for 24 Months Or 2014.

TRANSFORMATION: We can not stress enough how outraged and appalled we were, in discovering this Legislation and all constituents should be. Again, we are not sure as to why there is not more outraged, for reform but all that we are getting is the “Spare Change” oh that’s right there is no “Spare Change”. 2010 we need change and that starts at the grassroots level, US. One, by one, we must come together and become many, power is in the people. We proved that in the 2008 elections let’s do it again!

Remember, this is no more than the AIG scandal. Big, profits before people and greed.

The Land Developers and the Builders sold us these homes that are now, in foreclosure, or upside down in our County. We as Prince Georgians have to bear the brunt of this downturn while these Land Developers and Builders go back to their Counties, and States, with our fees and their profits. Fiscal Responsibility: If the Council were to grant an exemption for the Public Safety surcharge fees, the fees are waived from the general fund. And guess who gets to make up the shortfalls to pay for the new infrastructure and police and fire coverage increases created by new development, if impact fees aren't collected? Current taxpayers, and if I remember correctly, aren't the impact fee payments delayed on developers who build homes until the property is sold? And, why do we need more homes in a sea of foreclosed homes, and new homes elsewhere in the County, that just aren't selling? Why? HAS THE MAJORITY OF COUNCIL MEMBERS ALREADY DISCUSSED THIS IN PRIVATE, AND DECIDED TO RUBBER STAMP THIS?

Please, VOICE YOUR OPINION, good, bad or indifferent!

THESE BILLS…CB-07 / 08-2009 are Crossfiled with

GAZETTE 1. Council proposes extending development deadlines [ 5.068%
.. size of the development. Two bills, CB-7 and CB-8, sponsored by Dean, ...
Publication date: Thursday March 5, 2009
Issue: Prince George's County

HB921 assigned to Environmental Matters Committee

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair
Delegate James E. Malone Jr., Vice Chair

SB958 assigned to Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee
Senator Joan Carter Conway, chair
Senator Roy P. Dyson, Vice Chair,
Jack B. Johnson County Executive,

PZED Committee Members:
Samuel H. Dean, Chair,
Eric C. Olson, Vice Chair,
Marilynn M. Bland,
Thomas E. Dernoga,
Camille A. Exum,