Charles Commissioners Restrict Development In Mattawoman Creek Watershed

A Bay Journal article (2017-07-04) reported that the Charles County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 to create a Watershed Conservation District that will limit development in the Mattawoman Creek area and Port Tobacco River headwaters. The vote concludes a long and controversial debate over whether and how the Mattawoman Creek area should be developed. The debate carried through the long development of the County’s most recent comprehensive plan and then for approximately a year after that plan’s adoption.

According to the article, the 30-mile long Mattawoman Creek is a “productive fish nursery and haven for biodiversity, it is ranked eighth out of 137 streams for freshwater biodiversity in Maryland and is home to six threatened or endangered species.” From the article:

The conservation district limits builders to one house per 20 acres, half the density previously permitted under the county’s most protective zoning. More importantly, commissioner Ken Robinson said, it preserves land that developers wanted to build on; the real estate industry had estimated 17,000 additional homes could go in the Mattawoman watershed if the zoning had allowed the higher density that they sought.

“We honestly couldn’t have handled that,” Robinson said. “The fast growth of this county has put all of our natural resources on the brink. We had the opportunity to do the right thing here to protect them, and we did.” …

Some of the opponents were talking about a referendum to oppose the plan, but Robinson said it’s unlikely. Most who opposed the plan were developers and outside groups, he said; property owners who wished to pass their land down to heirs that might want to subdivide it in the future had been permitted to do so through a provision in the plan. Only about 200 property owners were affected by the zoning changes.

The article also noted that there is an exception for development at Maryland Airport.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Mattawoman Creek Development

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