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Fifth County Signs on to Regional Land Use Agreement


Photo by Ryan Ewing

ESLC Staffers John Seward, Kris George, Amy Owsley and Rob Etgen

celebrate outside Council Chambers following the 3-2 vote by the Talbot

County Council to adopt Eastern Shore 2010.



Talbot County Votes to Adopt Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement

Easton, Maryland February 28, 2008 – Talbot County became the fifth county to sign a newly updated regional agreement aimed at strengthening land protection efforts on the Eastern Shore. This agreement, led by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), sets forward four broad conservation goals for the region together to strive toward achieving by 2010.  The Talbot County Commissioners signed the updated Eastern Shore 2010 agreement with a 3-2 vote.

Last year, representatives from ESLC presented the updated agreement to the six counties of the middle and upper shore , which are Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties. This agreement, originally launched and signed onto by all six counties in 2002, was strengthened last year by ESLC in response to increased growth pressure facing the Shore in the next few decades. Kent, Caroline, Cecil and Queen Anne’s all voted to adopt the revised agreement last spring.  Talbot’s first vote on the issue in 2007 was a 2-2 rejection of the plan. ESLC brought the plan back to Talbot County this week to ask the Council to reconsider.


In discussion prior to the vote, Councilman Thomas Duncan encouraged the county to take a leadership role by supporting Eastern Shore 2010.


“We’ve got to step up to the plate and show leadership to get this plan to move forward,” he said. “There is more need for this agreement now than there was in 2002.”


Councilman Corey Pack echoed a similar sentiment.


“It is heading in the right direction for the Eastern Shore,” Pack said. In addition to Duncan and Pack, Councilman Dierk Bartlett also cast a supporting vote.


Councilman Foster expressed concern that the towns governments had not been more intensively brought into the process.  Both Councilmen Foster and Harrison voted against signing the agreement. 


“We appreciate the leadership that Talbot County is taking by adopting this important agreement and thank all of the council members for their thoughtful consideration of these important issues,” said ESLC’s Executive Director, Rob Etgen. “We have an opportunity to move the Eastern Shore to the head of the class when it comes to planning and land conservation and this is an important step in the right direction.”


The updated Eastern Shore 2010 agreement calls for; reaching regional goals in land protection, strengthening the farming, fishing, and forestry industries, creating a plan for workforce housing, managing the amount and type of new development, and creating a regional transportation plan, by 2010. According to the Maryland Department of Planning, about 160,000 new residents will make the Eastern Shore their home in the next 25 years – adding more than 70,000 new houses and consuming approximately 262,000 acres of farms and forests.


The agreement specifically proposes that local counties; provide a minimum amount of funds for land protection, implement their economic development plans supporting the farming, fishing and forestry industries, direct 80 percent of new growth to villages and towns, set a maximum annual growth rate, create a plan for workforce housing, and suggest alternatives to another Bay Bridge, including a public transportation plan.


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