February 2015  

CONGRATULATIONS GOVERNOR HOGAN!


BUSINESS Queen Anne's would like to Congratulation Larry Hogan on being elected as Maryland's Governor! With his background in business, we look forward to his leadership.

So far, BQA applauds the Governors balanced budget and his rejection of the Phosphorus Regulations which adversely affected our local farmers.

According to Bill Satterfield, executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry, "We have said all along that this risk management tool, even according to its developers, could not estimate how much less phosphorus might reach the Chesapeake Bay," Satterfield said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Governor Hogan and his team and members of the General Assembly to develop regulation that will provide improved environmental stewardship by the agricultural community."


BUSINESS Queen Anne's is hopeful that indeed, Maryland is now open for business!
WHEATLANDS UPDATE
The project at Wheatlands is now before the Court. The Commissioners' action - unless reversed by the Court - postpones for 5 years a project that will pay the County well over a million dollars per year in taxes, as well as deny Queenstown a minimum $200,000 to $300,000 dollars in tax revenues per year.

It also postpones an estimated 800 jobs where commuting to the Western Shore won't be necessary. Each commuter who drives across the Bridge pays $5.40 daily with EZ Pass. $1,350 yearly - or $6,750 during the 5 year hold up. That's if the Bridge tolls don't go up and doesn't count gasoline costs or parking fees which may apply.

Hopefully, the Court will recognize the Commissioners' actions as pure and simple politics and preservation of the status quo and rule instead on property rights, opportunity and process.

Queen Anne's County Commissioner Robert Buckey is holding his first Town Hall Meeting Thursday, February 19, at the Grasonville Community Center, 5601 Main Street, Grasonville from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The topic of discussion will be the Wheatlands project.

BQA urges members and supporters to attend and be heard!

A word from the BQA Chairman:

The approved project has been underway for over 16 years, it follows both the Town & County Comp plans & is unanimously supported by the Town of Queenstown commissioners, a sovereign entity.  At one time, the 5 year waiver had passed by a majority of sitting County commissioners, but has since been reversed by the new set of County commissioners. 

Since all QAC commissioner candidates in the general election ran on economic development needs here, the logic isn't quite clear for a reversal.  One reason given is concerns as to what specifically is planned for the site, but at this point in the process it is not legally required of the developer to take on those significant costs (engineering plans) or make 'one sided' commitments until the project progresses through more required regulatory hurdles.  One commissioner recognized and stated that after five years time there is absolutely NOTHING the County can do to stop this project, so reversing the approved waiver brings into question campaign promises made. 

Most in QAC paying attention understand getting a project on paper, approved and well into the pipeline is time consuming, very expensive and very difficult, so halting the few projects this far along appears nonsensical.  This also brings into question what the County commissioners interpretation of the current QAC Comp plan and to a lessor extent the Queenstown Comp plan is, and the public has the right to know that interpretation and direction.  Not only is the Town of Queenstown a separate & sovereign entity under Maryland law, it has already incurred significant expense upgrading their sewage treatment plant in large part because they're fully depending upon this project. 

BQA continues to SUPPORT both the Wheatland's Project AND the Five Year Waiver approval so that immediate gains may begin.

Steve Donovan
BQA Chair

NEWS FROM THE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE

Here is a list of recent action taken by the County Commissioners that interest Business Quee Anne's:

 

PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBERS APPOINTED

 

A field of 15 applicants for the coveted seats on the Queen Anne's County Planning Commission was narrowed to six who were interviewed in open session January 25, 2015 then to the final two who were appointed that night - David Douglas a first time appointee and Jeffrey Reiss, a returning, experienced PC member.

 

This is the first time that Planning Commission applicants have been interviewed in open session and filmed for QACTV Channel 7. "My hope is that the public would now have a better understanding of what the planning commission does and how the members are selected," said Commissioner James Moran. "Holding these interviews in the public eye is another step towards a more transparent government which is very important to this board."

 

David Douglas' career and resume demonstrate a vast knowledge of the intricacies of planning for economic development and his personal philosophy is to protect the county's way of life.

"As an architect I am very familiar with land use requirements, building codes, the permit process, and the construction inspection process. As a planner and architect I have been educated and trained to understand what constitutes good and poor design" said Douglas in his letter to the County Commissioners.

 

"I moved to QAC approximately 9 years ago because I identified with its way of life and rich historical culture that makes QAC a special place to live," said Douglas. "As a (Planning) Commissioner it is important to me to preserve and promote this way of life. But I also believe we must be on the forefront with respect to land use and especially economic development. As a county we need to increase our commercial tax base through quality development that does not jeopardize our way of life."

 

Douglas has attended both Princeton and Cornell and has held Maryland architect and principal real estate broker licenses for more than 30 years.

 

"I have had 38 years of commercial real estate experience, primarily as a developer," wrote Douglas. "I have developed millions of square feet comprised of apartments, hotels, retail, office, condominiums, single family and master planned communities with a population exceeding 10,000 people. My last job was a Senior Vice-President, reporting to the Chairman, of an S&P 500 REIT, we were in 49 states.

 

Douglas said he is experienced in TIF (tax incremental financing) and believes TIFs are a useful economic development tool during the planning process. He also feels the APFO (adequate public facilities ordinance) should be reviewed and amended as necessary with respect to QAC provided services. "QAC does not need mediocre development or development that lacks sufficient APFO requirements just for the sake of economic development," he wrote. "As a side note, I do not have any "baggage". I am not beholden to anybody or friendly with any developer or landowner. I will bring a fresh unbiased approach to the Commission."

 

Appointee Jeff Reiss was selected to serve a full term on the Planning Commission. He had been appointed to the commission in 2013 to fill the remaining term of a member who resigned. His term expired at the end of 2014 and he sought reappointment. In his letter to the commissioners Reiss said, "For the past 18 months I have served as a Planning Commission member. As a Planning Commission member I have taken the duties and responsibilities very seriously, studying the local codes and becoming familiar with the Comprehensive Plan."

Reiss said he has been a resident of Queen Anne's County for 20 years and has a strong belief of community involvement.

 

"I have volunteered with the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department for the past 19.5 years and have demonstrated my commitment to the citizens of Queen Anne's County by serving on the Fire and EMS Commission, two years as an officer, elected by my peers, and a member of the Department of Emergency Services Advisory Council for the past 6 years."

 

Reiss said he is employed in the District of Columbia, as a Building and Fire Inspector, where he is required to enforce the laws and use sound judgment, while protecting the citizens of the District, using model codes, local amendments and zoning regulations. "I feel that this experience has given me the opportunity to excel and continue to give back to the County in which I live." Reiss serves on the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Oversight Committee - recommending policy and procedure for Zoning and Code Enforcement. He is a nationally certified Firefighter and EMT, and holds national certifications as a Building and Fire Inspector with the International Code Council.

 

Reiss was appointed to the Planning Commission by a three-to-two vote with Commissioners James Moran, Paul Comfort and Charles Buckey voting in the affirmative and Commissioners Mark Anderson and Stephen Wilson opposed. Douglas was appointed with a unanimous vote.

In addition to interviewing Reiss and Douglas, the county commissioners interviewed David Kaufmann, Sheila Tolliver, Dr. Thomas Walsh and Barry Waterman.


HOTEL TAX REVENUE
 

 

The Queen Anne's County Commissioners voted unanimously to fund their departments of Economic Development and Tourism with the county's Hotel Tax revenue, with the goal of making those departments more self-sustaining enterprise operations.

 

The county's Hotel Tax generates about $480,000 per year. While some other jurisdictions allocate the revenue from their Hotel Tax to various county departments, typically Economic Development or Tourism, Queen Anne's County has recently collected it as General Fund revenue and not specifically allocated it.

 

With the reorganization of county government which created the Department of Community Affairs (Tourism, QACTV and Public Information) and a new Economic Development Department, Commissioner Paul Comfort suggested that the Hotel Tax revenues be utilized to fund Tourism (35% of the revenue, $168,000) and Economic Development (65% of the revenue, $312,000).

 

Comfort said the benefits of this are two-fold. First, it establishes the majority of the functions of the Department of Community Affairs (QACTV funded through Atlantic Broadband Franchise Fee and Tourism through Hotel Tax) and Economic Development as enterprise accounts that can withstand future budgetary impacts. Secondly, it provides an incentive for these departments to be effective, the greater the number of overnight visitors to the county (more tourists and business travelers) the greater their revenue and budget authority.

 

FINANCE COMMITTEE APPOINTED

 

The Queen Anne's County Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint three citizens with proven financial expertise to serve on the newly formed County Finance Committee.

 

Heather Tinelli, President of Shore Accountants and the county's Chamber of Commerce, former County Administrator and Budget Director John Borders and Joe Zimmerman, also a former Budget & Finance Director and a member of the 2010 Government Sustainability Task Force are the three citizen representatives.

 

They join current Budget & Finance Director Jonathan Seeman and County Commissioner Stephen Wilson in forming this committee which was established during the December 23, 2014 commissioners' meeting.


Commissioner Wilson served on a similar finance committee during the fiscal year 2011 budget cycle with Tinelli, Borders and Zimmerman.

 

"These individuals provided an excellent wealth of knowledge with both public and private sector experience," said Commissioner Wilson. "We would like to ask them to serve in this new reiteration of the Finance Committee."

 

The County Finance Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the county commissioners. The three non-paid citizen members must have an expertise in Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR's) and municipal finance. Among other duties, the Finance Committee will review revenue projections and perform financial analysis. They will report to the commissioners twice a year.

 


For Press Releases like these and others, take a moment to sign up for Citizen's Alerts on the County's website!

CLEAN CHESAPEAKE COALITION NEWS

OPEN LETTER TO TIMOTHY JUNKIN
by Ron Fithian

 

On behalf of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition, comprised of 10 Maryland counties, I am writing in response to your "open letter" to then Gov.-elect Hogan (Jan. 18 edition of Star Democrat). You claim to be representative of "2,000 plus families and citizens of Maryland ... of all political parties" and with a mission "to restore and protect our rivers." As I write this, Mr. Hogan has been the Governor of Maryland for less than 24 hours.

 

In your pre-inauguration open letter, you castigate now Gov. Hogan for "taking political positions on issues way too important and fragile to be batted around on the political ping-pong table." As an example to call out our new Governor, you write: "Recently the Army Corps of Engineers completed a scientific study of the Conowingo Dam costing millions of dollars. It took these scientists years to prepare. You [Gov. Hogan] apparently have already called this study 'flawed' and seem ready to dismiss it."  

 

As explained below, the "study" you want to defend (just because it took a few years, cost millions of dollars and involved "scientists") deserves scrutiny, particularly given all that is at stake. While you and many agencies and organizations involved in the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and the federal relicensing of Conowingo Dam readily trumpeted the LSRWA draft report when first released to the public in November 2014, and rushed to the bald conclusion that addressing the vast quantity of nutrient-laden sediment and other contaminants accumulated in Conowingo Pond and in other reservoirs in the lower Susquehanna River, by dredging and maintenance, should not be a priority in our Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, the Clean Chesapeake Coalition was reviewing and analyzing the roughly 1,500 pages that comprise the LSRWA draft report in order to provide meaningful comments during the public comment phase.

 

Always in search of common ground, I've enclosed a copy of the coalition's comments and we look forward to reviewing the comments submitted by you and other riverkeepers.

 

The coalition's comments expose in detail the LSRWA's flawed processes, models and data, as well as the LSRWA's lack of transparency and stakeholder engagement and politically motivated results. The conclusions drawn in the LSRWA draft report about the impacts of nutrient-laden sediments scoured into the Bay during storm events on the Bay and downstream Bay restoration efforts are equally flawed and subject to appropriate scrutiny. Indeed, another multi-year sediment study is now required and has been agreed to by the Maryland Department of the Environment and Exelon (Conowingo Dam's owner/operator) to make-up for the shortcomings of the LSRWA.

 

Consider the following inescapable realities, which have been acknowledged by the agencies responsible for the draft LSRWA:

 

1. The reservoirs (Lake Clarke, Lake Aldred and Conowingo Pond) behind the three hydroelectric dams (Safe Harbor, Holtwood and Conowingo) in the lower Susquehanna River are full and no longer serve as net traps of sediments and nutrients.

 

2. U.S. EPA's 2010 Chesapeake Bay TMDL, upon which Maryland's $14.5 billion watershed implementation plan (WIP) is premised, incorrectly assumed that the dams acted to trap 50 percent of the sediments in the Susquehanna River. As a consequence, the Bay TMDL will have to be recalibrated to account for this fact, which will result in a determination that tens of thousands of tons of additional sediments, millions of pounds of additional nitrogen and hundreds of thousands of pounds of additional phosphorus need to be removed upstream from the Susquehanna River annually if the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay is to be improved.

 

3. Scour of nutrient-laden sediments that have accumulated in the reservoirs behind the dams in the lower Susquehanna River occurs several times a year during major storm events, which are becoming more frequent and intense because of climate change.

 

4. The nutrients that attach to the sediments that are scoured from the reservoirs behind the dams in the lower Susquehanna River are a bigger threat to the health of the Bay than the sediments themselves because those nutrients are released in the more saline, warmer, less oxygenated environment of the Bay estuary.

 

5. The loss of long-term sediment trapping capacity at Conowingo Dam is causing impacts to the health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. According to MDE, the additional nutrient pollution associated with the conditions in the lower Susquehanna River system could result in Maryland not being able to meet Chesapeake Bay water quality standards, even with full implementation of Watershed Implementation Plans by 2025.

 

Such realities should be alarming to the government agencies responsible for water quality improvement in the Maryland portion of the Bay and to all Bay restoration advocates. Instead, you lecture our new Governor about "politicians who point the finger (incorrectly according to science) at the Conowingo Dam, or the states north of us" to shirk responsibility for improving water quality.

 

(By the way, these now confirmed realities about what threatens the Bay and undermines Maryland's efforts and expenditures to improve the Bay ecosystem were all true two or so years ago when our coalition of counties was forming and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was proclaiming Conowingo Dam a "red herring" and you were trying to get decent local government attorneys disbarred for lying to unwitting local elected officials.)

 

We cannot accept as the new normal for the Maryland portion of the Bay that all of the reservoirs in the lower Susquehanna River are full, that enormous amounts of Susquehanna River pollution are no longer being trapped, that more storms and harmful scour are inevitable and that dredging Conowingo Pond is off the table.

 

As the apparent spokesman for all riverkeepers, please explain whose interests and what agenda are advanced by downplaying the impacts of Conowingo Pond scour on the Bay and on downstream Bay restoration efforts? Following the self-righteous reasoning of your open letter, Marylanders can spend billions of dollars more following the same agenda and expect D+ "State of the Bay" report cards from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for years to come.

 

Ronald H. Fithian is chairman of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition and a Kent County commissioner.

 

For more Clean Chesapeake Coalition News, click here! 

 

 
 
BQA MEMBERSHIP & AD SPONSORSHIP
WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN BUSINESS QUEEN ANNE'S?

BUSINESS Queen Anne's is not like any other business advocacy group in Queen Anne's County. When an issue that affects business arises in Queen Anne's County, we don't have to be neutral or careful to not step on toes! That can make some a little leery, but if your business needs someone to stand up and support you, then you'll be glad to have BQA there for you!

BQA has been vocal in the past on issues such as:

Four Seasons on Kent Island
FASTC Project
Wye Mills/Chesapeake College Expansion
Conowingo Dam
Minimum Wage Legislature
KI Sewer
Sunday Hunting in QAC
Slippery Hill Community
Adequate Public Facility Ordinance

We support property rights, balanced business growth, an adequate commercial tax base; we support having businesses that allow residents to work and live here in Queen Anne's County!

BQA board members are VOLUNTEER Business owners, Operators or Employee's in Queen Anne's County businesses working hard to make this County a Better place to Live, Work & Play!

Also, the board of BQA has interviewed the local candidates and report to the members their positions so members can easily choose a candidate that is aligned with their views on the issues at hand.

If you like what Business Queen Anne's does, but have concern as to customer reaction or backlash, we have a solution... Companies or individuals can become anonymous BQA members or sponsorship supporters!
 
If you know a business that would be a great asset as a member, please contact our Membership Chair, Jack Ashley at jackashley@mris.com

You can also contact administrator@businessqueenannes.com for a copy of the following application!


BUSINESS Queen Anne's


A Coalition for Economic Development and Responsible Government


The mission of BUSINESS Queen Anne's is to actively advocate sound economic growth; review all proposed state and local legislation and regulations; provide an objective assessment of proposed development in Queen Anne's County and its incorporated towns; endorse and support countywide growth that is well managed and consistent with adopted state and local planning and regulatory guidelines, comprehensive plans, and state and local initiatives; create positive and "business friendly" attitudes on the part of Queen Anne's County elected and appointed officials; and support business activity that promotes and encourages a vibrant economy, development of an adequate labor pool, a fiscally responsible and accountable county government, and a continued unique quality of life in Queen Anne's County.
  

You can find BQA on Facebook! Make sure to "Like" us!

 

 

In This Issue

 

Your BQA Board!

 

Steve Donovan, President

Title One & Associates, Inc.

410-758-1831

smd@annapolis.net

 

Mareen Waterman, Vice President

Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty

410-643-5005

mareenwaterman@mris.com 

 

Nick Deoudes

Deoudes-Magafan Realty, Inc.

410-827-5441

ndeoudes@atlanticbb.net 

 

Mike Dahle

Bay Carpets Flooring America

410-820-7288

mdahle@baycarpets.com 

 

Tim Champion

Champion Improvements Inc.

410-643-4886

 improve@atlanticbb.net 

 

Bob Wilson

Mears Point Marina

410-827-8888

bobwilson@mearspoint.com 

 

Cheryl Russell

Delmarva Power

410-758-4127

cheryl.russell@delmarva.com 

  

Gary Hofmann

QAC Sheriff's Department

410-758-0770

sheriff@qac.org 

  

George O'Donnell

ASTECH SECURITY

410-490-7400 

george@astechsecurity.com 

 

Jack Ashley

410-310-0800

jackashley@mris.com

  

Sandra Early 

Administrator  

410-643-6288  

sandra.early@verizon.net 

  

 

 

Mark Your Calendar...

 

County Commissioner's Meeting

Second and Fourth

Tuesday of the month!

Click here for published agendas! 

107 N. Liberty Street
Centreville, MD 21617
  
Planning Commission Meetings
160 Coursevall Drive
Centreville, MD 21617
  
  
 
 
QUEENSTOWN PREMIUM OUTLETS! 

Presidents' Day Sale
Fri - Mon, Feb 13 - 16

Don't miss our annual Presidents' Day Sale! Enjoy extra discounts on top of already low outlet prices. Click on the IN-STORE PROMOTIONS tab above to view store offers and be sure to become a VIP Club Member to receive exclusive coupons!

Military Appreciation

Members of the military, veterans and their families can show their IDs at the on-site Information Center all year long to receive a free VIP Coupon Book.


 

50 Plus Shopper Perks
Join us on Tuesdays for the 50 Plus Shopper Perks.


If you are at least 50 years of age you can take advantage of an added 10% savings on Tuesdays by simply presenting a photo identification with your proof of age to the cashier at participating stores. View a list of participating stores.

Stores for the 50 Plus Shopper Perks continue to grow, so please stop by the Information Center to view our most current list. 

 

MEMBER ASSISTANCE NEEDED!

 

 

BQA is looking for members to sign up to attend Commissioner's Meetings and/or Planning Commission Meetings!

 

If you are interested, please contact Administrator, Sandra Early at

administrator@businessqueenannes.com 

 

Click the logo above for the latest QAC Financial Status Update!! 

 

 

 

BUSINESS Queen Anne's c/o Sandra's Office Support | 405 Victoria Way | Stevensville | MD | 21666