To the Editor:
The Bear Creek ecosystem is currently under severe stress. Since the closure of the Bethlehem Steel operation, the creek has been showing signs of rebounding. However, the creek is not having a good year in 2019.
The Country Club Estates development project will create an overwhelming strain primarily on the Schoolhouse Cove watershed area. The construction phase will generate an enormous, unhealthy dose of sediment and erosion runoff, which is anticipated to last for five years.
Although sediment and erosion controls are mandated, these devices are only designed to withstand a 100-year storm. We are now experiencing several 100-year rainfall events each year, and the frequency of 200-year rainfall events and stronger is staggering.
Each of these events will be discharging large volumes of sediment material (muddy water) directly into Schoolhouse Cove, which will then flow into Bear Creek, then to the Patapsco River, and finally will flow into Chesapeake Bay. After the construction phase is completed, Schoolhouse Cove and Bear Creek will be asked to digest large volumes of impervious surface runoff (oils, road salt, chemical fertilizers, etc.) for perpetuity.
Since the project is under the Planned Unit Development (PUD) Program, the Baltimore County Growth Allocation Committee and the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission require that certain goals and parameters must be addressed. In the Citizen’s Guide to the Critical Area Program of Maryland, there is a section titled “Opportunity for Citizen Input.” The section states:
“It is important to note that a growth allocation provides an opportunity for the city or county government to enhance protection of the environment and the neighboring communities. Because the local government is granting the developer something of value (more density for development), it is in a strong position to impose specific conditions that carefully regulate new development and can provide enhanced environmental protection. Citizens can rightfully insist on such conditions.”
This is an excellent opportunity. Let’s insist!