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Volume 14, Issue 13 ~ March 30 - April 5, 2006

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to [email protected]. or submit your letters on line, click here

The Right Way to Improve Water Views

Dear Bay Weekly:

I am writing in response to the letter from Jami Young in the March 2 issue of Bay Weekly endorsing the removal of trees to obtain a water view. Clearing waterfront land, with the sole purpose of obtaining a view of the water, has devastating effects on our waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. This practice decimates wildlife habitat, reduces the ability of the land to infiltrate stormwater runoff, creates erosion problems, and serves no one in the long run. There are ways, however, that homeowners can work together with their local planning office so each can achieve their individual goals.

Under a Buffer Management Plan approved by the local planning office, homeowners can oftentimes achieve views of the water through careful pruning and by planting low-lying shrubs in strategic locations. Maintaining healthy trees and infiltrating stormwater runoff on individual lots may seem like small steps, but when multiplied by the thousands of properties along our shorelines, the potential benefits to water quality and wildlife habitat are proven and significant.

Homeowners, and the Chesapeake Bay, are much better off working in conjunction with their local governments. It is also to the financial benefit of homeowners to do so. In 2005, Anne Arundel County alone issued citations to 107 individuals for violations of the County’s Critical Area regulations. The county issued each of these violators a fine of at least $1,000. Although some of these fines were reduced in court, in every case the court upheld the county’s mitigation requirement to replace cleared trees at a 3-to-1 ratio.

The vast majority of these landowners cares deeply about the land and the water and tries to limit any adverse effects their actions might cause. The Critical Area Commission remains committed to assisting these landowners and to educating everyone about the requirements of the law. We are also strongly committed to continued enforcement of the law and vigorously prosecuting those who violate it.

—Martin G. Madden:

Chairman, Maryland Critical Area Commission

Mega-Mansions: Uncontrolled Zoning Blight

Dear Bay Weekly:

You ask in your March 9 editorial [Royalty Arrives in Chesapeake Country, Vol. xiv, No. 10]: “Are you seeing what we’re seeing”? The answer from this nearly life long resident is yes.

I find it particularly offensive to see these obscene mega-mansions along the waterfront where they have nearly destroyed the ambiance and tranquility of many a beach community. I think perhaps the “wannabe kings and queens” are just your rootless people who have happened to recently discover the Bay. It’s more attitude they convey than class; they have no idea what the Chesapeake or Bay living is all about.

I sometimes drive through my old neighborhood on the Mayo peninsula, where my family and I enjoyed our summer home from 1947 on. It’s sad to see what looks like uncontrolled zoning blight. I don’t begrudge someone if they want to live in some 5,000-square-foot building. It’s just too bad they have chosen an area that has (or had) so much character and charm.

—Michael Landrum, Chesapeake Beach.

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