The owner of a farm near the intersection of Rts 50 and 213 in Wye Mills has applied to change the zoning on the property from Ag to Light Industrial Highway. Their goal would be to then construct an industrial complex on the site to house businesses and research centers. The sewerage would either be spray irrigated or tied into Ches. Coll. system which is directly discharged into the headwaters of the Wye East River. This proposal was given an unfavorable recommendation from the Co Planning Commission as it was inconsistent with the most recent Comprehensive Plan and was largely viewed as uneccessary as there were other similarly suited complexes in the County that are currently vacant.
Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy’s 2010 report card found the highest pollution inputs in the headwaters of the systems monitored. This strongly suggests that the land use decisions are the primary driver for water quality in our local rivers. The headwaters of this system (Wye East) is particularly impaired as the result of several permitted point source discharges, storm water effluent and agricultural impacts.
The Wye River is a poorly flushing water body in that it is a deep river with relatively little freshwater inputs in the form of streams. This compounds the problem as pollutants that enter the system tend to remain in the system for extended periods of time, therefore, their impacts have a more profound effects.
In the current situation we are facing with the TMDL process, we should be making smart decisions on land use practices by not putting concentrated development (such as those proposed in this zoning change), in the sensitive headwaters of fragile and impaired waterways. Additionally, the QAC Comprehensive Plan is opposed to a change in zoning in the Wye Mills area and this document is a compilation of the citizen voice of QAC.
The deadline for comment submission is June 14 (the next Commissioners meeting date). Your Miles-Wye Riverkeeper has submitted comments opposing this zoning change. The Talbot County Council sent a letter in opposition to the proposed change and sent its town manager, Sandy Coyman, to deliver oral testimony as such. We encourage interested citizens to make their views known.
For people interested in submitting comments, the easiest avenue is to use is the email address: [email protected] and it will go to all five in the group as well as the County Administrator in one click.
Thank you for speaking up!
Tom Leigh, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper
23 North Harrison Street
Easton, MD 21601