WMCCA Testimony

Testimony on ‘Stoney Springs’ Preliminary Plan - MNCPPC - 12/9/2004
Ginny Barnes, Environmental Chair

The Potomac Subregion is one of two residential "Green Wedges" intended to buffer and create a transition to the agricultural open space we all value so highly. We take a keen interest in the protection of this precious resource because our destiny is linked to it and we share so many of the same problems and threats. Our recent Master Plan process wrestled with the dangers of expanding the sewer envelope to the detriment of the environmental premises on which our zoning depends. The key to the plan before you today is preservation. Does the plan meet the requirements of The Master Plan Of Agriculture and Rural Open Space? We believe it does not.

The use of sand mounds encourages development within the critical mass of active farmland in direct contravention of the Master Plan. Furthermore, the Master Plan calls for the denial of "private use of alternative, individual and community systems in all areas designated for the Rural Density transfer zone." This Preliminary Plan is inconsistent with the MP objective of preventing fragmentation of active farmland. Farming is recognized as a permanent use and "not simply a holding land use to be utilized for future development." The simple fact that sand mounds may be an acceptable alternative to traditional septic systems does not mean that they should override the guidance of the Master Plan. We would ask that the Planning Board defend it’s Master Plan in this case and deny this Preliminary Plan.

Further, the PB needs to take a proactive role in the preservation of our agricultural open space. If a proposed plan does not further the goal of preservation of rural open space, then it should be emphatically denied.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.