|FOUR SEASONS PUBLIC HEARING|
As we told you last month, K. Hovnanian petitioned the Queen Anne's County Commissioners to confirm that the termination date of the Developer's Rights and Responsibilities Agreement ("DRRA") between K. Hovnanian and Queen Anne's County governing development of the Four Seasons community on Kent Island has been extended by operation of Maryland law.
On April 9th, there was a public hearing regarding this matter. BQA encouraged members to attend the meeting or contact the County Commissioners to express their support. Both BQA and EDC wrote letters.
The hearing was well attended and the majority were people who support the Four Season's project. While the Commissioners are taking no action at this time, it was beneficial for them to know that there many who want the DRRA to be tolled.
(Tolling is a legal doctrine that allows for the pause of the running period of time contractually stipulated to between parties. In the case of Four Seasons, the 2002 DRRA agreement between the County Commissioners and the Developer stipulated 20 years for completion, but KHOV has shown at least 8 years whereby the project was completely halted by litigation that they ultimately prevailed on.)
Dear QAC County Commissioners:
The Four Seasons Development will generate substantial economic and net fiscal benefits for Queen Anne's County. The average household will be quite wealthy and therefore capable of supporting significant local spending. Upon full build-out, the residents would support just over $90 million in annual business sales countywide, including among small businesses, and approximately 950 jobs. These impacts are permanent and IN ADDITION to all construction phase positive impacts. There are unquantifiable other positive impacts of the development including volunteer service provided by new residents (many of them with substantial executive experience) and other potential community service endeavors too.
Moreover, even after fully accounting for the cost of local government services to these households, the tax revenues generated annually by the project would produce an annual NET Surplus of approximately $1.6 million for Queen Anne's County.
These positive and permanent net fiscal impacts are in addition to taxes collected during the construction phase and $35 million in one-time exactions (e.g.-off-site park, contributions to road improvements, etc.) to be provided by the developer. Since the tax revenues generated upon occupancy more than cover associated local government costs, the revenues generated during the construction phase, and the value of the exactions, may be considered pure net surplus from the community's perspective.
Did this sound familiar? It's an update April 2011 by Sage Policy Group, Inc., "Projected Economic & Fiscal Impacts of the 'Four Seasons at Kent Island' Project in Queen Anne's County, Maryland - an Update".
The Four Seasons project was approved in 2002 with a 20 year DRRA after completing all necessary zoning requirements of Queen Anne's County. As the project moved forward they also followed Federal & State law as they apply to the environment, wetlands & critical areas too. Yet ultimately, those challenging and substantially delaying this project the past 17 years lost every challenge, some on appeal, and they were even admonished at least once by Maryland's highest court!
Business Queen Anne's supports KHOV & the Four Seasons project, we believe they're due a 'Refund' of their contractual 20 year DRRA to complete the project, and we FULLY support their request to extend the termination date with time lost to delays outside their control. We'd note while KHOV was waiting on courts to rule, they continued working with QAC, residents and nearby communities to offer much more than simply 'compromise', they substantially reduced the number of approved units by 20% and dramatically increased environmental benefits and other funding, gains & benefits for the County.
We understand and appreciate local residents concerns and their right to object to local government actions, but we do not understand how activist organizations were allowed to continue with clearly "irritant" legal actions over this extended time period. That should upset everyone interested in basic fairness and property rights. And whether individual OR corporation, we must have ALL full confidence knowing if we follow County law, rules and the process for development, that we will prevail without undue delays and significant financial hardship. BQA asks you support KHOV's request,
Steve Donovan and the BQA Board
This bill passed the House and is now going through the Senate. When BQA met with Commissioner Corchiarino in March, he seemed positive it would pass.
Authorizing the county boards of education in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot counties to establish a regional Career and Technology Education (CTE) school to provide career and technology education programs to public high school students in the counties; requiring a regional CTE school to operate under the terms of a certain collective bargaining agreement; requiring the Interagency Commission on School Construction to study and develop a certain cost-share formula for certain county boards of education; etc.
February 25, 2019
State says pilot project to collect, test dredge material from Conowingo Dam will be completed this year
Maryland officials said Monday they expect a pilot project to test removal of dredge materials from Conowingo Dam to be "substantially complete" later this year.
A buildup of nutrients and sediment behind the dam, washed into the Susquehanna River from across Pennsylvania and upstate New York, is considered a significant threat to progress at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. Dredging has long been considered vital to counteract that risk, but also potentially too expensive to be feasible.
Northgate Dutra Joint Venture, a firm with offices in Frederick, was selected in late 2017 to carry out a $3 million pilot project to test sediment in the Conowingo reservoir and dredge a small portion of it to determine a possible reuse and market for the materials. Officials said the project is being paid for through the Maryland Department of the Environment, in conjunction with the Maryland Environmental Service and the Governor's Bay Cabinet.
The Conowingo Dam stretches across the Susquehanna River between Harford and Cecil counties, and opened in 1928 to generate hydroelectric power. Since then, it has been holding back some sediment, which can cloud water and smother underwater grasses that serve as habitat for aquatic life, and nutrients, which contribute to algae blooms that suck oxygen out of the water.
Roy McGrath, director and CEO of the Maryland Environmental Service, said the pilot project will "aid in identifying and ultimately reducing contaminants in the reservoir behind the hydroelectric dam, preventing those from flowing downstream, and leading to continued improvements in water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed."
A state presentation last year suggested the dredge material could be used as landfill cover, fill material or to help stabilize shorelines.
Government officials, dam owner Exelon and environmentalists have sought ways to address the Susquehanna's sediment pollution as it has become clear it can no longer trap the material. In summer 2017 Gov. Larry Hogan
announced the creation of the pilot project to study solutions.
Officials have said in the past that there was about 31 million cubic yards of sediment lodged behind the dam; the pilot project calls on Northgate-Dutra Joint Venture to dredge 25,000 cubic yards of material.
Monday's announcement of a 2019 completion date came as the Hogan administration touted what it called "significant progress toward solving environmental problems stemming from the Conowingo Dam."
The state noted that it is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a multi-state plan to reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment that wash into the Susquehanna upriver of the Conowingo, but that the dam can no longer trap.
Exelon Corp. is seeking a 50-year federal license renewal for the dam's operation, and as part of that process, last year the Hogan administration required the company to do more to prevent pollution from passing the dam. Exelon has challenged those requirements in U.S. District Court. MDE has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
Baltimore Sun reporters Scott Dance and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.
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Deoudes-Magafan Realty, Inc.
QAC Sheriff's Department
Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty
PETITION TO CONFIRM TOLLED EXPIRATION DATE
OF THE DRRA
We respectfully request that you, County Commissioners act on K. Hovnanian's Petition, and confirm the DRRA is tolled. You should not defer that decision to some other Board or the Courts. The County Commissioners should make the initial determination.
- K. Hovnanian, has met all of its obligation under the DRRA, constructing a 500,000 gallon water tower, sewer main, pump station and public roads, which will service the Kent Island community in general. K. Hovnanian has made a $1,000,000 payment to the County and a $238,750 payment to the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.
- K Hovnanian's Petition is a reasonable request that is necessitated by delays due to failed attempt to stop the community.
- Commissioners should confirm that the DRRA is tolled because: (1) it will remove uncertainty; and (2) could avoid yet more legal proceedings.
- Uncertainty about the DRRA is bad for the County because it jeopardizes the tens-of-millions of dollars in future payments and public improvements K. Hovnanian is obligated to make to the County under the DRRA.
- Uncertainty is also bad for those future County citizens now purchasing in Four Seasons.
- Minimizing uncertainty about the expiration date of the DRRA benefits local business, trades and suppliers.
Confirmation that the DRRA is tolled by approximately 8 years simply provides both the County and K. Hovnanian the full 20 years bargained for to fulfill their obligations.
They respectfully request that the Commissioners (not an appeals board or court) make the initial decision, and confirm that the DRRA expiration date has been tolled.
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