SRA Board Meeting Minutes
2007 March 20

Meeting called to order at 7:06 P.M. by president Thistle Cone

Saefern Proposal: A vote was held on the letter to the Chesapeake Rivers Association in support of the Costal Plain Outfall project for the community of Saefern. The letter was approved unanimously.

Nominating Committee: The proposed nominating committee consists of Bob vom Saal, Pat Lynch, Sally Hornor, and Charlotte Lubbert.

Upcoming Events:

Three Strategic planning meetings have been scheduled:

            March 25, 1-3 PM @ Kurt Riegel’s House

            April 3, 7-9 PM @ Bob Whitcomb’s House

            April 12, 7-9 PM. Location TBA

March 31, Jabez Branch cleanup, organized by Bob Whitcomb

April 17, 7 PM. SRA meeting, speaker Michael Furbish, on Green Building.

April 21, 9 AM – Noon. Chesapeake Ecology Center, “Earth Day/Greenscapes Day”. SRA sponsored raingarden and other gardens will be tended and mulched. Snacks will be provided.

            “Proposed New Member get-together” date to be determined.

Other Business:

            Walter Jacobs, who has been promoting a memorial tree planting project, showed the Magothy River Land Trust Looper property placque, which will commemorate a tree planting and burial of cremated remains.

Speaker, Jamie Benoit, newly elected Anne Arundel County Councilman for the 4th District. Introduced by Scott Hymes and Anne Pearson.

He gave an informal presentation on a variety of subjects, and answered questions from the attendees. Topics covered included:

The Naval Academy Dairy Farm, which the County has proposed to lease, and maintain its agricultural nature. A solar energy farm is also envisioned for a portion of the 900 acre site.  The proposal includes a yearly payment to the Academy of $250,000, partly from farm income, but subsidized by the County.

Environmental Legislation introduced or in planning.

§         To eject people from illegally permitted structures (not passed in original form, will be resubmitted)

§         To prohibit developers from receiving permits when in violation for another permit.

§         To permit developers to use bioretentive swales instead of curbing gutters to prevent runoff.

§         Changing statutes for impervious surface reduction from 20%  to 50%

§         Increase buffer distance on steep waterfront slopes.

            Wal-Mart – He would be in favor of legislation limiting the footprint of “big box” stores.

            His opposition to the Chesapeake Terrace Landfill proposal.  This 481-acre site would be the largest rubblefill ever in Maryland, and result in significant traffic disruption as well as environmental concerns.

            Impact of construction on Maynadier Creek. A private school, Rockbridge Academy, has purchased 150 acres, of which approximately 10% will be developed. The main concern seems to be impact on traffic, rather than environmental concerns, but this will be monitored as plans progress.

            Crownsville Hospital. The facility has many environmental problems, including asbestos, sewage and oil. Mr. Benoit feels that the cost of the cleanup, as determined by the 2nd phase of the environmental study, will have an impact on the ultimate use of the property. A large cleanup expense will likely lead to the decision to include income-producing facilities in the development.

            Stormwater Management Issue.  He is in favor of comprehensive low impact designs, and is “feeling his way” now to test the boundaries of acceptance of legislation. Anne Pearson noted that she has testified in the senate on stormwater management and the stormwater code will be revised.

Councilman Benoit was presented with a Severn River Association hat, and the thanks of the attendees, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM by President Cone.

Richard Falk
Recording Secretary


Addendum - Anne Pearson's Summary of the Jamie Benoit talk:

JAMIE BENOIT, Anne Arundel County Councilman, 4th District spoke to Severn River Association March 20 at 7:00, part of an on-going Speaker Series.  

  • NAVAL ACADEMY DAIRY FARM will not become a Horse Park. The County is offering $250K/yr rent for a 30 year renewable lease. Uses will include the current tenant or other farmer, community and botanical gardens, youth education. Their proposal also leaves open the possibility for a 40 acre, solar installation which, if constructed could produce up to 6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power almost all the Naval Academy’s needs.
  • ODENTON, dense growth is anticipated, especially around the train station. BRAC will have a huge impact. Much environmental harm could result. One example: an office building for Fort Meade Contractors, to be constructed by Trammell Crowe, will use County sewer and water and cause traffic impacts that DOE is not required to pay for. This property is in the Severn River Watershed, near Severn Run.

Benoit has a long list of requirements he would like to see introduced as a Bill if the Administration is favorable.

  • CHESAPEAKE TERRACE, this 500 acre Halle landfill, sited 250’ from the Patuxent, in a former mining site, is a menace, badly conceived.
  • CROWNSVILLE HOSPITAL PROPERTY, the first 500 acres, west of 97 is being acquired under Conservation Easement. The balance of the property has major diverse pollution problems, which will be addressed piecemeal by the County, with possible state and federal grant assistance, but how that is to be accomplished is in question.
  • FINES, Leopold with Benoit’s support has introduced a Bill that will force use of illegally construction homes, marinas, piers, etc. to be discontinued. The $500 fine should be increased. And he would like to triple fines for violations in the Critical Area.
  • A BILL to prohibit developers who have been found guilty of violations from found guilty of violations from being given new permits they've applied for. Co-Sponsored by Vitale, Benoit and Cohen. The Bill is likely to pass.

Benoit discussed other possible legislation such as:

  • A BILL to change redevelopment requirements for impervious surface reduction from 20% to 50% may need public support.
  • A BILL to increase steep slope buffers to 70% may meet opposition.
  • A BILL to require the use of planted bioretention instead of curb and gutter is on its way.

 

(Revised March 2007)