Eastern Shore Land Conservancy





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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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Reimagining Chesterfield (Carter Farm) Community Meeting

SHARE YOUR DREAMS FOR A VIBRANT Centreville! Residents will want to attend Tuesday's community meeting at theWye River Upper School from 6-8pm as we 'Reimagine Chesterfield (Carter Farm)'! We've enlisted speaker Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute - nationally known as a thought-provoking & leading authority on topics such as the links between health and the built environment, sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation. This is an interactive workshop and community input is wanted. Mr. McMahon has traveled the country/world and will share inspirational examples of effective town development strategies. We hope to see many of you there! More on Mr. McMahon and his credentials may be found here.

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“ESLC Wants to Think Big and Smart with Historic Chesterfield (Carter Farm) in Centreville”

(This is an article and video interview that was published in The Chestertown Spy on May 30, 2016.) If there was a plot of land that combines the importance of history, conservation, land use and the dreams of a new Centreville it undoubtedly would be the Carter Farm on Chesterfield Road. Owned for decades by the late Judge Clayton Carter, the 72-acre property is now actively being considered as a top priority project of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. It is not hard to understand why the ESLC is seriously considering the two sites for both open space and smart growth residential use. The farm and house are located only a few minutes walk from Centreville’s historic downtown but has been zoned to accommodate 132 new homes if entirely built out. As the ESLC’s Center for Towns director, Katie Parks, notes in her interview with the Spy, ESLC is eager to work with a multitude of different community stakeholders to look hard and long at how the site can best be developed over the next few years. If a consensus can be created, ESLC and the greater Centreville community might indeed have the beginnings of a transformational scheme for rural towns on the Mid-Shore. This video is approximately five minutes in length.

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Reimagining Carter Farm, Centreville

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has worked since 1990 to preserve and sustain the communities of the Eastern Shore, and the lands and waters that connect them.  Toward this mission, we have helped protect over 57,000 acres of prime agricultural and natural lands, which in partnership with other conservation efforts means nearly a quarter of our rural lands are protected.  More recently, ESLC launched a program called the Center for Towns that endeavors to provide support and actions that help advance our region’s small towns as strong, vibrant, and well-defined places. From this lens of growing strong small towns, ESLC views the development of the Carter Farm as one of the most important opportunities that exists for growing a vibrant Centreville.  The Carter Farm is an approximately 72 acre site comprised of two parcels in Centreville, Maryland.  The properties, currently zoned for residential development with an approved 138 unit subdivision, include a mix of open field and forested land in the Critical Area. After nearly two decades of interest, ESLC has secured a six-month option to purchase the properties.  Our goal during the next six-months is to allow for a community visioning and transparent public process, creation of a set of criteria and performance standards for future development, and development of a master plan that incorporates protection of natural features while supporting development that is consistent with the scale, pace and character of Centreville. In addition to public input, we will work with renowned design and development professionals, to generate ideas and innovations that can help make this project design a valuable asset for the Centreville community. While we are working towards a more determinant vision, we will be considering long-term impacts for Centreville, connection and value to the full community, connectivity and transportation, environmental protection, and public access.  Preliminary ideas include leveraging

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Happy Earth Day 2016!

Happy Earth Day! While it's pretty much Earth Day every day for all of us at Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and everyone else working for environmental groups and casues throughout the world, April 22nd does indeed serve as a unique opportunity to raise awareness about our natural environment and resources. Did you know that in addition to Earth Day, it's also National Environmental Education Week? It started last Sunday and runs through tomorrow, April 23rd. National Environmental Education Week encourages and celebrates environmental learning through events and projects across the country. Events are led by formal and informal educators from various disciplines and include participants aged 1-100. As you may already know, ESLC practices environmental education year-round through its Sassafras Environmental Education Center, or SEEC, at Turner's Creek in Kennedyville, MD (Kent County). At SEEC, a child can master paddling a canoe while learning about John Smith, local watermen, and estuarine ecology. Activities such as digging potatoes from the garden and delivering them to the Kent County Food Bank provides a lesson in community awareness, soil ecology, and empathy. We want every child to deeply appreciate the need to live compatibly in the natural environment. To help achieve that, each year our educators provide every 2nd- to 10th-grade KCPS student with outdoor experiences that build upon and supplement the Maryland Environmental Literacy standards they are mastering in the classroom. With the creation of our Shore Talks series, ESLC is now helping to provide an environmental education classroom for adults, too! By pairing experts from their respective fields with classrooms where they did not exist, residents can continue to learn about our Shore and the environment in which we must coexist with nature. Topics include oyster aquaculture, the health and history of the Chesapeake Bay, and the migration of Monarch Butterflies, among others. So, on this Earth Day, take a minute to

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Easton Town Council to Consider a 13 Acre Annexation

(The following information is courtesy of Talbot Preservation Alliance)   Easton Town Council to Consider a 13 Acre Annexation The Town Council will consider the Orion Property annexation request Monday, April 18 at 7:15 p.m., at 14 S. Harrison Street that will add commercial development on St. Michaels Rd (Rt 33) adjoining the Waterside Village shopping center. The owners of the annexation parcel want commercial zoning for the 13 acre property.  But they won't identify any commercial project that they - or a future developer - want to bring to our town. If the annexation is approved the property could be utilized to expand the Waterside Village shopping center. The attorney promoting the annexation has stated that "major retail like a large Home Depot or grocery store" could be developed on the site through Easton's "planned unit development" process. What is the Impact of Already Approved Development? Easton has already approved: Almost a quarter million square feet of new retail space adjoining the proposed annexation parcel, most of which has not yet been built Easton Village, directly across St. Michaels Road from the annexation parcel, will triple its current size to 250 dwelling units. A new 60 unit apartment building just inside the Route 33 entrance to BJ's Questions the Town Council Must Answer Given its certain consequences, annexation should not be approved until the proponents provide, and agree to, a specific plan for how to develop the property. The citizens and the Town Council must evaluate: What will be the traffic impact of more Route 33 commercial development, how can it be mitigated, and who will pay for the mitigation? Will new development be of a type leading to more closures of stores, and empty spaces, in our many existing shopping areas? How will more commercial development conform with Easton's Comprehensive Plan which states "Easton has significantly more commercial development than a community of our population would

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ESLC attends Climate Preparedness conference in Baltimore

Seventeen of ESLC’s town, county, and regional partners attended the Local Solutions to Climate Preparedness conference in Baltimore this week. Each of the members of this group, which began meeting regularly in March, received sponsorships to attend as part of a collaboration between ESLC’s Coastal Resilience Program and Antioch University’s Center for Climate Preparedness & Community Resilience. The conference covered tools, strategies, and examples for communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change including sea level rise. The Eastern Shore contingent enjoyed a private dinner where they had an opportunity to talk about our region’s needs and challenges with representatives from NOAA and EPA. Funding support for the sponsorships was generously provided by the Town Creek Foundation.

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ESLC awarded for excellence in organizational leadership by Maryland Historical Trust!

On March 16th in Annapolis, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) celebrated the state's best efforts in historic preservation during the 41st Maryland Preservation Awards. The MHT Board of Trustees recognized outstanding education, restoration and revitalization projects, as well as organizational leadership. ESLC proudly accepted MHT's award for 'Outstanding Organizational Leadership' - one of only 11 projects/groups to be awarded. (Pictured, from left to right: ESLC Center for Towns Director Katie Parks; Easton Town Councilmember Pete Lesher; ESLC Board President Benjamin Tilghman; ESLC Board Member Dave Harp; Maryland State Senator Addie Eckardt; and ESLC Executive Director Rob Etgen) "In addition to protecting land with archeological sites and cultural landscapes, this conservation organization has expanded its programs to include planning in historic towns and recently rehabilitated a historic industrial building as its headquarters." -MHT

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ESLC Heads to 2016 Legislative Session

Along with colder temperatures and the fade of holiday lights, every January brings a new legislative session in Annapolis. State employees, politicians, lobbyists, advocates, and policy staff from groups across Maryland converge in an effort to advance the issues and beliefs they believe to be the most pressing. ESLC’s Policy Manger Josh Hastings and Program Assistant Rachel Roman were there when the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 13th and have since been active, traversing across the Bay Bridge for the meetings that apply to our mission. Consistent with the overall purpose of land conservation, ESLC works within the following policy and advocacy parameters: Support water and land use policies that encourage stronger rural communities, protect rural landscapes, and increase public access. Additionally, ESLC promotes policies that lead towards a cleaner Chesapeake Bay and that build resilience towards and support adaption to the effects of climate change on the Eastern Shore landscape. Support economic development efforts for the Eastern Shore that strengthen the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industries, and that direct and deepen investment in small towns. ESLC supports residential and commercial development focused in towns and infrastructure to support sustainable growth. Support transportation policies that result in the most sustainable land use patterns for the Eastern Shore. Promote policies that make travel safer and easier and that emphasize multimodal options. Support energy policies that promote long-term, locally generated, renewable energy that adds to the rural, independent character of the Eastern Shore and that has the smallest impact upon the landscape. Governor Hogan submitted his budget on January 20th, and since that time ESLC has had time to analyze and react accordingly. While the good news is that $20 million more dollars are allocated towards land protection measures than in last year’s budget, the proposal still takes approximately $43 million from Program Open Space – Maryland’s

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Bird Walk with Jared Parks

March 5, 2016 - March 5, 2016 Eastern Shore Conservation Center Map and Directions | Register Description:Date: Saturday, 3.5.16 Time: 9am – 12pm Location: Queenstown, MD Join ESLC Land Protection Specialist and lifelong birder Jared Parks for a walk through woods and former ag lands that have been restored to native habitat. $10/person. Questions? Contact Carin at 410.690.4603, ext. 171 or cstarr at eslc.org Register

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LTE Regarding Talbot Comprehensive Plan

December 17, 2015 Letter to the Editor Comprehensive plans are extraordinarily important documents that can have great influence as to how an area changes. Talbot County is a truly special place that deserves the best possible update to its comprehensive plan; one that lays out clear growth strategies, recognizes the unique quality of life contained here, and inspires a new generation of residents to thrive. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) supports growth that adds vibrancy to our towns and villages, while preserving our rural landscapes. After spending 25 years headquartered in Queen Anne’s County, ESLC recently relocated to Easton and opened the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. This $7.6 million dollar historic rehabilitation project is not just a beautiful non-profit campus bringing dozens of full-time jobs to Talbot County; it is the type of positive growth that previous comprehensive plans have stated as goals to strive for. Talbot County does not deserve a comprehensive plan that is unclear, inconsistent, and leaves important decisions about growth to be made without clearer parameters or definitions. Concepts like “workforce housing” are great, as long as the “work” is near the housing and the infrastructure supports it. Before a final comprehensive plan adoption takes place, citizens should feel comfortable knowing they have a plan that takes their input into consideration and provides them with clarity in regards to growth-area specifics, sewer extension, quality of life issues, and traffic and safety concerns. The plan should reflect the integrity of previous plans while continuing to promote the qualities that have made Talbot County the beautiful and prosperous place it is today.   Josh Hastings, Policy Manager Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

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