Recently, College Township held a public hearing with a follow-up discussion in its regular meeting. Unfortunately, it appears the sound bite that came out of that meeting makes it sound like there is only concern about removing the land from potential development — a 5-10 minute segment of a 2.5-hour-plus discussion. As elected officials, we are required to acknowledge, discuss and assess all viewpoints on a matter, even less popular ones.
The township has a long history of partnering in regional conservation/stewardship efforts. Council ultimately requested ClearWater discuss the following with the property owners:
▪ Extension of the beneficial reuse project into and/or across the property — a regional initiative for the other side of water stewardship.
▪ Inclusion of a small public access element — a recent writer cited Central Park. The key difference is that there currently is no public access planned yet public funds are significantly involved.
▪ Inclusion of language to allow stormwater projects in support of our Chesapeake Bay requirements — specific language required to accomplish a stated goal of the Initiative.
▪ Consideration of allowing a small portion of the land to be developed in the future for potential workforce housing — a stated regional concern.
College Township will be picking the discussion up again at its Thursday meeting. We look forward to ClearWater/the property owners’ responses as well as comments from the citizens of the township. The conscientious discussion now occurring is what makes this region the special place it is.
Rich Francke, College Township
The writer is chair of the College Township Council.