“Adequate” Public Facilities in Charles County? Says who?

Chapter 7 – New residential development rarely pays its way with revenues that match the associated costs of public services and infrastructure. Residential developers benefit from this arrangement while the public seems doomed to higher taxes, overcrowded schools, a degraded environment and traffic gridlock that can only get worse with 70,000 new residents projected to move to our county over the next 25 years.

Adequate Public Facilities ordinances are supposed to control the pace of development so public services and infrastructure are not overwhelmed.

The next time you find yourself sitting in Route 301 traffic gridlock, look around at the other drivers sharing your misery. How many would use “adequate” to describe their drive through Waldorf at that moment? None.

However, many of those cars probably came from residential developments subject to the Charles County Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). Some traffic engineers sold the fable that their clients’ developments would not adversely impact traffic flows or that minimal mitigation measures would correct any problems. And yet, there you are – parked with your engine idling and dinner at home getting cold. There is nothing “adequate” about this.

School capacity also comes under the APFO. If your kids attend classes in trailers or are constantly changing schools under redistricting plans, you probably don’t view school capacity in Charles County as “adequate” either.

If you think “adequate” falls short of describing traffic flow and school capacity, how do you feel about not having enough water? Charles County’s draft Comprehensive Plan predicts that at the anticipated growth rates, there won’t be enough water for all our residents. The plan’s authors offer no possible solutions. They hope to figure something out along the way. Good luck with that.

Read more from our ongoing series, “Charles County’s Comprehensive Plan fiasco.”