Commending board for prioritizing residents' safety

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I would like to comment on "County needs to do better by residents, developers," [Maryland Independent, April 8]. Chuck Beall, director of planning and growth management, reported the outcome of the review requested by the commissioners.

It appeared to basically be a review of the cross-county connector history. He did not provide results of a traffic study. He stated the county allowed the projects to move forward because the connector was in the capital improvement program then, and the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance allowed that. He also said that the developers who applied to build the subdivisions must adhere to the APFO without the connector before they can proceed.

Some of the residents of Brookwood Estates have researched the Maryland Department of Highway statistics. The statistics show that the Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management was in violation of their own road ordinances and subdivision regulations from the beginning of these projects. They were then, and still are, not in compliance, with or without the connector.

All of this having been said, I'd like to address the statement in the editorial that says the developers came into the process and spent a lot of time and money making sure they were following the rules, and apparently the rules have changed in the middle of the game. The rules have not been changed.

In April 2004 when the developers of Brookwood II, Linden Grove I and II submitted a preliminary plan to the county the rules and regulations were referenced in that plan. The plan was signed off by the appropriate individuals and then presented to the planning commission for finalization. The planning commission unanimously approved the preliminary plan April 9, 2004.

I would like to bring to light the fact that a couple of these developers are currently appointed members of the Planning and Growth Management Advisory Board. It is my understanding that members of this board advise Planning and Growth Management on various issues, including road ordinances and subdivision regulations. Yet, a revision to route their subdivisions through the heart of Brookwood Estates via Clifford Drive and Brookwood Drive to "Old" Billingsley Road was presented to the planning commission Dec. 6, 2010, and was unanimously approved. According to the APFO none of the roads in Brookwood Estates are currently qualified and never were qualified to be connectors for other subdivisions.

In conclusion, I commend our new board of commissioners for prioritizing the safety and well-being of the residents of Brookwood Estates and the rest of our Charles County citizens and also for addressing the road and development procedures that have been allowed to transpire in the past.

Peter Headen, Brookwood Estates