At an April 29 meeting, County Commissioners Bobby Rucci, Debra Davis and Reuben Collins reversed course on a recent controversial land-use policy that promoted more bad growth patterns for Charles County.
This decision also resulted in the cancellation of a related May 13 “tier map” public hearing concerning 9,000 acres in the Mattawoman Creek area that had been designated in a March 11 vote by Rucci, Davis and Collins for dense development on public sewer. This vote came despite recommendations by a workgroup the three formed.
The new designation was contrary to the will of the public, the recommendations of experts, and state law.
The flawed tier map was just one vision among a list of potential policies that will further crowd Charles County’s schools, clog its roads, increase residents’ property taxes, devalue existing homes, and pollute our air and water.
A comprehensive plan that will rubberstamp more mega-housing developments still hangs in the balance so YOUR VOICE and involvement mean everything! We ask you to keep in mind that the area designated for sprawl development in Charles County is twice the size of Baltimore.
Background on the Cancellation
The decision to alter the tier map on April 29 and the call to cancel the hearing were not listed as agenda items for discussion in open session by the Board of County Commissioners.
This is important because transparency and public engagement are hallmarks of good governance, and the blockade against better planning and openness by Rucci, Davis and Collins continues to persist on many levels.
In addition, the matters were raised without the presence of Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly and Commissioner Ken Robinson, who both have advocated more sustainable economic-development strategies and were consistently opposed to the 9,000 acres being designated for dense development.
The county government has protocol and rules that dictate public hearings and their need. It is highly unusual for a hearing to be cancelled.
Because of the short notice of this cancellation, the county attorney advised the County Commissioners to have a BOCC majority present on the evening of May 13; however, it’s not clear if citizens will have an opportunity to address, or hear from, any of the Commissioners.
Commissioners Rucci, Davis and Collins have become known as the “BGI 3.” This is because of their long-standing support of land speculators and the development lobby, the Balanced Growth Initiative (BGI).