Thursday, June 28, 2007

County Helps Conserve Crownsville

This week, the County Council voted to turn over 192 surplus lots in Herald Harbor, comprising about 10 acres of floodplain, steep slopes, and sensitive area, to the Crownsville Conservancy.

The action represents a huge success for the community and the Conservancy, as "enterprising"/unscrupulous developers have made a cottage industry out of finding "unbuildable" lots throughout the county, hiring a good land use attorney, and denuding/filling/grading some of the most sensitive lands in our watersheds. Because the sellers are often under the impression that these lots can't be built on, developers can flip these lots for pennies on the dollar (minus the legal fees to steamroll the Board of Appeals).

Other communities would do well to find out if their infill lots are on the County's surplus list and work to have them placed in permanent conservation as well.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sturgeon Makes First Cameo in Three Decades

According the the Bay Journal, a waterman working off Tilghman Island recently caught a pregnant, 7-foot, 170-pound Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus). The last time a sturgeon carrying eggs had been caught was in 1972.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

County Wins Naval Academy Farm

Initial word is that the County has been successful in its bid to lease the former Naval Academy Dairy Farm. Good news for the community and the County.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

How About that Ethics Code?

A number of recent cases merit a review of the County's Ethics Code.

Article 7, Title 5 focuses on "conflicts of interest." Of particular interest is the subsection below:

§ 7-5-105. Representation by former employees.

(a) Generally. A former employee may not assist or represent a party other than the County in a case, contract, or other specific matter for compensation if the matter involves the County and:

(1) the former employee participated significantly in the matter as an employee; or

(2) the former employee had information not generally available to the public when the former employee undertook the assistance or representation.

(b) Waiver. On application, the Ethics Commission may waive the prohibition of this section if it determines that the County's interests will not be adversely affected by the assistance or representation and may attach to the waiver any conditions that it determines are in the County's best interest.

(1985 Code, Art. 9, § 5-105) (Bill No. 38-03)

State Code reference – State Government Article, § 15-504(d).


Council Circumvents Community on the Annapolis Neck

At last Monday's County Council meeting, Councilman Cohen's colleagues failed to give him the votes to update the zoning on a property in his district. In fact, they deliberately lined up against it. The zoning change, the product of long negotiations between the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation and the developer, the Samaras family, would have converted a 6 acre parcel on Forest drive from 2 acres of commercial frontage with 4 acres of residential in the rear to 6 acres of commercial with more forest cover, better stormwater management, and architectural oversight by the community.

Now, some are claiming that the Council Members who blocked the change conducted a backroom deal with an adjacent property owner who has failed to negotiate with community groups.

Left from the Capital's account is the sudden (and ominous) reappearance of former Zoning Director Joe Rutter, a close acquaintance of the property owner in question. There's no way we've heard the last of this sordid situation.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Return of the Dead Zone

Today's Capital reports that there are several indications that the Bay's "dead zones", areas of low or no oxygen caused by nutrient pollution, have returned.

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