June 2019

FOUR SEASONS DRRA UPDATE
According to Mike Irons of K. Hovnanian...

"At the end of May, Four Seasons filed an appeal on the Commissioner's decision on the DRRA tolling.

The appeal will be heard before the Board of Zoning appeals likely this Summer. Since this will be another Public Hearing, we will need the support of BQA and the business community again to come to the hearing and speak in support of Four Seasons. 
 
The community is making good progress with about 30 homes under construction.   We have delivered 6 homes to date and have an additional 29 under contract."

BQA will stay on top of this and will pass along the date of the public hearing when that information is available!

COUNTY ECONOMIC STUDIES
In May, there were economic studies received by the Queen Anne's County Economic Development Commission. The studies were performed by Chmura. According to their website...

"Chmura's unique approach to economic analysis is part science, skill, and experience, and part art, innovation, and creativity. Helping our clients convert data into actionable intelligence is the key to our success. In all of our project engagements, we aim to produce the kind of information that supports confident decisions and enables the realization of bold goals."

Find links to the Economic Overview and Real Time Intelligence here:




BAY BRIDGE TRAFFIC STORY
Opponents of new Bay Bridge pushing for alternatives

By Jeremy Cox
Bay Journal

As Maryland officials prepare to take a critical step toward deciding how people will cross the Chesapeake Bay for decades to come, they face growing criticism that the effort is bypassing options that don't involve building a new multibillion-dollar bridge.

Maryland's Bay Bridge consists of two adjacent spans between Annapolis and Kent Island: a two-lane bridge constructed in 1952, which serves as the eastbound route, and a three-lane westbound span that opened in 1973.

After more than two years of study, the Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the 4-mile structures, plans to release a narrowed-down list of possible routes for a potential third span in the coming months.

The $5 million analysis is expected to name a "preferred corridor alternative" by December 2020. Under the most sanguine timeline, a new bridge would still entail a decade or more of planning and construction before it could open, planners say.

As the study nears its next stage, many environmentalists and smart growth advocates are questioning the necessity of a third bridge. They want the state to explore alternatives, such as expanding mass transit or launching a ferry service.

"Given how much money is involved and the time frame for the construction of a new bridge, there needs to be consideration of other options," said Kimberly Golden Brandt, director of Smart Growth Maryland.
Based on what is publicly known about the study, though, some observers doubt that the state is doing that.

State wants additional capacity, access
Earlier this year, the MDTA released a report on the Purpose and Need  for a third Bay crossing in Maryland, stating that the study's aim is to "consider corridors for providing additional capacity and access across the Chesapeake Bay." Transportation planners presented a "no-build" option but only to show how congested the existing spans will become by 2040 unless another bridge is built.
An MDTA spokesman declined to comment or make anyone within the department available for an interview for this report.

But at a recent meeting about the crossing study, a top official with the Maryland Department of Transportation threw cold water on suggestions that a ferry, a rail service or buses could alleviate the Bay Bridge's traffic woes.

No fewer than six studies were conducted between 2000-07 to look at the possibility of connecting the Eastern and Western shores via a ferry service, said Heather Murphy, MDOT's planning director.
The ferry option that would remove the most traffic from the bridge - a low-speed ferry shuttling between Chesapeake Beach and Cambridge - only managed a cut of 917 vehicles, less than 1% of the peak summer season congestion. Talk of a ferry system needs to be "decoupled from that of a third bridge," a governor-appointed ferry committee concluded in 2007.

"They didn't see how that would relieve enough traffic off the Bay Bridge," Murphy said.

Transit options
A rapid transit bus service or rail system could siphon off about 1,250 vehicles from the bridge's eastbound lanes during busy summer weekends, she said, citing a 2007 MDTA report. But that would still represent only about a 1% traffic reduction and come with a price tag ranging from $400 million for bus service between Annapolis and Kent Island to nearly $30 billion for a heavy rail system extending from Washington, D.C., to Ocean City.

"You really need a lot more density than we have" to make a mass transit option work economically, Murphy said. "Yeah, you could take some of the traffic of the Bay Bridge and put it on mass transit, but it would be nowhere near the numbers we would need and at a very high cost."

Murphy was the opening speaker at an April 18 workshop run by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, with sweeping views overlooking the two bridge spans. She isn't involved in the MDTA crossing study beyond "keep[ing] tabs on it," she said later.

Lindsey Mendelson, who tracks transportation issues for the Maryland Sierra Club, listened to the presentation with growing dismay. "I was pretty upset by that portion," she said.

The studies Murphy cited were nearly two decades old in some cases and no longer reflect current traffic patterns or technologies, Mendelson said. The ferry and transit studies, as Mendelson sees it, rely too heavily on how much traffic they can divert off the bridge. What about, for example, the environmental benefits?

"That's problematic because we're living in a time when transportation is the No. 1 source of carbon pollution in Maryland and the No. 1 source of climate change emission in the country," she said.
Heaviest congestion

While bridge traffic is light or moderate during most periods, it is racking up the heaviest congestion scores possible during typical weekday afternoon rush-hours and summer weekends, according to MDTA statistics.

The annual number of vehicles using the bridge has remained steady over the last decade at around 26 million - a phenomenon many planners attribute to the Great Recession.

With one recent analysis projecting 14-mile backups at the Bay Bridge by 2040, though, the public debate has largely shifted away from whether a third span should be built to where it should be built.
The issue has become a flash point on both sides of the Bay.

In rural Kent County on the Eastern Shore, "No Bridge" yard signs have begun sprouting outside people's homes and on the edges of cornfields. Meanwhile, a state senator from the Western Shore's Anne Arundel County unsuccessfully pushed fellow lawmakers to grant the county veto power over a third span - a power currently given to the nine counties across the Bay.

In February, a map showing 14 potential crossing sites  leaked onto social media. It depicted bridges vaulting across the Bay as far north as Harford-Cecil counties and as far south as St. Mary's-Somerset. The MDTA and Federal Highway Administration created the map but labeled it as "pre-decisional" and "deliberative."

Fresh cost estimates
The new study is set to project fresh cost estimates for a third bridge, a figure expected to range well into the billions of dollars. What if that money was invested in an alternative to road construction? asks Jay Falstad, executive director of the Queen Anne's Conservation Association.

"We don't feel these alternatives have been explored in any meaningful way, and it would just be ridiculous to add a costly third span without exploring these alternatives," he said.

About 8 million visitors flock to Ocean City during the summer. Falstad suggested staggering their check-in and checkout times to spread out the traffic that currently piles up on the weekends.

During a separate presentation at the conference, Dan Nataf, a pollster at Anne Arundel Community College, said surveys show that at least two-thirds of the county's residents support expanding the existing bridges or bus service across the Bay. But just 31% would support a higher toll fee to cover the cost.

"I'll tell you why everything you want to do that costs any money isn't politically feasible," he joked.
A bridge won't just be expensive; it will take years, if not decades, to build. By then, the combined effects of sea level rise and sinking land might have put the approaches to the new bridge underwater, Brandt said.

She hopes that the state's analysis - and ensuing public debate - includes the impact of a new bridge on the land and communities inland from the Bay's shoreline.

"There's so much discussion about the bridge, but what does the bridge connect to?" she asked. "Are you building new roads or expanding existing roads to accommodate the bridge traffic? So, the impacts obviously go far beyond the bridge."

Critics say a new bridge may be self-defeating. Building new lanes to ease current congestion may encourage more people to drive, creating "induced demand" that quickly snarls traffic once again.

When a panel of transportation experts was asked about induced demand at the conservancy workshop, one replied that it has already happened on the Bay Bridge. In 1985, more than 13 million vehicles were crossing the spans annually, and jams were starting to get on drivers' nerves.

Steve Cohoon, Queen Anne's public facilities planner, said Gov. William Donald Shaefer responded with a litany of congestion fixes under the banner "Reach the Beach." The annual number of vehicles crossing the spans doubled by 2005.

[Editor's note: The story does not mention the ultimate need to replace the existing bridges because of their age and physical condition. https://marylandreporter.com/2016/09/07/opinion-expanding-the-bay-bridge-is-a-responsible-thing-to-do/]



MEMBER BENEFIT











If you are a paid member in good standing, and provide us a camera ready ad about a local business opportunity or service- as space allows, we will rotate your ads for FREE in this monthly newsletter - just like the ad above.  Simply email your ad to administrator@businessqueenannes.com

 
BQA MEMBERSHIP, SUPPORT & SPONSORSHIP
WHY do you need to JOIN, SUPPORT, SPONSOR BQA?

BQA keeps you INFORMED on issues facing economic development, jobs and opportunities right here IN QAC, so the 86% of County residents who spend too much time commuting out of the County and across the bridge every day can actually "LIVE, WORK & PLAY" right here in QAC!! 

If you know a business that would be a great asset as a member, please 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
WHO DO YOU KNOW THAT SHOULD BE A MEMBER OF BQA?
What company or local business do you know that should be a BQA member? 

SIGN UP FOR CITIZEN'S ALERT
Have you signed up for the County's Citizen's Alert yet?

Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for our Emergency Alert Program. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.

You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how.

Click on the logo below to sign up!

 
MEMBERS INVITED!

BUSINESS Queen Anne's would like to invite all members (and even member guests!) to attend our monthly board meetings typically held the last Wednesday of the month at Mear's Point Marina. (Please contact the office at administrator@businessqueenannes.com to verify)

Occasionally, we have County reps visit and give us updates. At the last board meeting it was decided that the next time we have speakers at the board meetings we will give our members ample notice in case they would like to attend...we want you to be in the know!

If you have a speaker that you would like to connect with and you think that Business Queen Anne's could help make that happen, please let us know.

THE BQA BOARD IS TAKING A FEW MONTHS OFF BUT WILL MEET AGAIN ON AUGUST 28TH!!
 
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
(Same link above takes you to agendas for the Planning Commission too.) 

Visit the County's New Website to sign up for notices!
  

Your BQA Board!
 
Steve Donovan, President
Title One & Associates, Inc.
410-758-1831
 
Nick Deoudes
Deoudes-Magafan Realty, Inc.
410-827-5441
 
Mike Dahle
MCDLLC
410-820-7288

Gary Hofmann
QAC Sheriff's Department
410-758-0770

George O'Donnell
410-490-7400 
Barry Waterman
Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty
410-643-5005
Sandra Early 
Administrator  
410-739-4716

 
 
BQA wants you to get involved!

 
We are the only organization to consistently and publicly support  property rights and beneficial development projects in Queen Anne's County! If the growth of our County interests you at any level, you should be a part of this prominent group!
 
Become a member! 
Join the board! 



BQA is looking to grow membership and our Executive elite board and we are in search of Woman Business owners in the County...are you the woman for the job?
 
We are also 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


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