This letter was sent to the county commissioners with a copy to the newspaper for print. It has been edited for space and content.
I am writing in protest of the plan to develop the Kopec Tree farm, as a member of the Chester River Beach community. I received a letter from the Sanitary District, meaning that my property will be directly affected by this housing development.
The letter I received is a bit confusing. I believe the issue currently before the Board is removing the five conditions from the 2006 Comprehensive Plan in order to develop up to 14 lots, as it is stated in the letter, "The current amendment application seeks to remove all five conditions in order to allow for up to 14 lots (a minor subdivisions of 7 lots on each existing parcel)," although I have heard it said that it is just one condition under consideration. I will voice my opposition to removing all of these conditions, in case it is all of them that are to be removed.
First, I am concerned regarding the proposal made to the Board that if the conditions were removed that up to 100 units could be built on these 14 lots. I know that Mr. Waterman stated that they are considering just seven units but that is not set in stone. I don't agree with removing this condition as it would place an undue amount of environmental impact to sewerage and water output, even with just seven houses, much less 100 apartment units or condos.
As to condition two, we do not have enough stormwater management as it is, so removing this condition and then building more houses would again put too much strain on existing stormwater management. I live next to one of the pump houses, and I can confirm that there are a multitude of issues with our sewage system already. When we have a storm, the County is out here constantly maintaining the system, and it is sometimes weeks before they can get it back to normal operation.
I appreciate their hard work, but we need to upgrade the system as it already is, and not add more strain to the already overtaxed sewers. I live at the edge of the floodplain and if there was more water, we would be inside the floodplain, thus causing our homeowner's insurance to go up, and we would have standing water in our yard, where currently it is dry.
Another concern that was brought up at the meeting is that due to the 15% impervious cover, there would not be any modifications done to the ground other than the houses, meaning that no sidewalks, paved driveways, pools, etc. would be allowed on the properties. I believe that if there were to be variances to install the sidewalks it would increase the amount of sewage since there would be less ground to absorb water.
The original proposal in 2006 estimated an output of 2,500 gallons a day. That proposal was tabled and later withdrawn. The current proposal calls for over 3,000 gallons per day. Mr. Waterman stated there was much more water on the land now than in 2006, and he admitted that it would continue to increase.
What is his plan for the increase in water output in the future? If the land is going to continue to become swampier, the people who buy these houses will have issues with flooding and standing water. It won't just be the houses that are here now. Would these houses be elevated to avoid these issues? I don't think it is responsible or ethical to build houses right next to a wetland, especially if that wetland is growing and will eventually encroach on the land where houses will be built.
I know progress is inevitable and all that, but it must be responsible, and I don't think that this development would be a positive one for the neighborhood. Many in the community feel the same, and in fact I haven't yet heard a single voice of support for it.
I beg you to allow more time for public comment, as many were unaware of this proposal until this week and many more didn't know until after the meeting. I also think that our HOA should have received the letter at the very least, since this will affect the entire community, and not just the houses that received a letter. I don't believe there has been much transparency with this proposal and that worries me.
Chester River Beach