We've all seen the results of -- for want of a better term -- dumb development. Whole properties are denuded, the natural topography destroyed, and thoughtless housing construction and siting result in maximum negative impacts. Ensuring smart development requires knowledge, creativity and tenacity. Sometimes even small changes can have a major impact on how the development will affect the natural resources on and off the site and the existing neighborhood. It is a continuing challenge to force positive changes in site plans, but it can be done. Surrounding neighbors with on-the-ground knowledge of the site and the potential impacts of a developer's plan continue to be a major resource in the protection of environmental resources. We applaud the work of neighbors surrounding the proposed developments of Congressional Forest Estates, the Greenbriar preserve properties, the Thompson Farm, and the Haines Corporation developments in Glen Hills as they push for site plan changes that will lessen the negative impacts of those developments.
Although the impacts of specific local development plans are important, there are many issues emerging at the State level that could have enormous impacts on the entire Potomac subregion. Of critical importance is the possibility of a second Potomac River bridge crossing through Potomac. As Tina Brown from Solutions Not Sprawl described at our April meeting, a variety of legislative proposals appeared during this legislative session that could have increased the possibility of a bridge, including the establishment of a Regional Transportation Authority and the Private Public Transportation Act.
Last week there more ominous signs. In the midst of budget cuts and property tax increases, Governor Erlich pledged $400,000 to match money Virginia has already committed to study a bridge crossing upstream from the American Legion bridge. Erlich also announced he is directing an additional $19.1 million to the Intercounty Connector, a road that, if one connects the dots, leads directly to a future bridge crossing.
Guest speakers for the upcoming May 14th WMCCA meeting will be the District 15 representatives to the Maryland General Assembly: State Senator Garagiola, and District Representatives Jean Cryor, Kathleen Dumais, and Brian Feldman. All except Jean Cryor are serving their first terms in the Assembly so they have never appeared before our membership. We have asked that they provide an overview of the 2003 legislative session. This meeting will provide the community with an opportunity to hear the legislators views on a variety of issues, including a second bridge. It will also provide participants an opportunity to express their views to the legislators. All are welcome to attend.
Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.