Chapter 17 – In late 2011, an amazing public process ended in Charles County. After months of meetings attended by hundreds of citizens, three diverse scenarios for growth management were combined into one called the Merged Scenario. Based on all that public input, planning staff merged the priorities of citizens into one compromise scenario for how the County would grow for the next two+ decades.
It took the 2012 Planning Commission only a few months to scuttle the positive results of that process. Gone were the spirits of compromise and fairness, all sacrificed at the altar of property rights hysteria and disdain for the alleged “heavy hand” of government.
In late 2013, hundreds of irate citizens turned out for the Board of County Commissioners’ public hearing on the Planning Commission’s draft plan – an unprecedented uprising of citizens. The State stepped in and helped restore some semblance of sanity to the process and, by late 2014, some small attributes of the old Merged Scenario had been restored to the new draft plan, but it wasn’t enough to attract favorable reviews from the State in early 2015.
While the Merged Scenario lacked the official recognition assigned to the 2013 and 2015 draft plans, it was always lurking in the background. Even today, it is rare for the mention of the Merged Scenario to be absent from discussions of growth policies. Chapter Four of the current draft plan mentions the Merged Scenario no less than seven times – just for reference to validate alleged good features of the latest draft.
Gradually, the current draft is looking more and more like the Merged Scenario. At this rate, subsequent drafts will eventually look even more like the Merged Scenario, but it may take a few more submittals before the State stops bleeding all over the latest imposter. So, why not just bring the Merged Scenario back and stop patching up the imposters we can’t seem to get right? Certainly, five years have passed since the beginning of the public process and some things have changed, so minor adjustments will be needed – sort of like upgrading to a modern “Merged Scenario Plus” for 2016.
The Planning Commission’s public hearing on the current draft plan is Monday, October 5 at 6 pm. This hearing is the opportunity to show your support for an improved Merged Scenario. Speaker sign-up begins at 5 pm.