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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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Talbot County Tag

NextStep190 concerns Talbot County residents

(From The Star Democrat March 3rd article "The process of change" by Connie Connolly) It’s both the product and the process of NextStep190 that concerns Talbot County residents. A process designed to involve Talbot County residents in revising Chapter 190 of the county code seems not to have caught the attention of some who now are concerned the revision product will hit them in their wallets, their lifestyles, their freedom — or all three. Whether in or out of the loop, a large group of residents is fired up. They have shared their gripes, questions and concerns with each other on social media since mid-February. “I don’t like this whole being told what to do,” one county resident said. Her views have struck a chord with 1,300 Talbot countians who have joined Talbot County Citizens Against NextStep 190, the Facebook page launched on Feb. 11. Complaints about how and when meetings were scheduled, and how they were promoted, is a recurring theme on the Facebook page. But communicating with the public is a key component of the process, according to County Planner Mary Kay Verdery. At the start of the Talbot County Planning Commission’s meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21, Verdery summarized how her office has gotten the word out about the NextStep190 process, “a project to update Talbot County’s Zoning, Subdivision, and Land Development Ordinance,” according to the website nextstep190.com. She told the commission that once the initial meetings to coordinate staff were completed, “just under 30 public participation and 20 public attendance (to observe work sessions) meetings” were held. Verdery said meetings were advertised on the NextStep190 website and in the newspaper, through email blasts and with postcard mailings. “We’ve taken multiple steps to make sure the public was aware of these meetings,” Verdery said. “We’ve had many meetings since we started.” One member of the Facebook group had his own

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232 acres in Talbot County permanently protected

The Maryland Environmental Trust, partnering with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, has permanently protected 232 acres of farm and forest land along Maryland Route 33, known as the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway. Gannon Family LLC granted a conservation easement on what is locally called “Lee Haven Farm,” forever protecting the prime agricultural land and scenic views. The Board of Public Works approved the easement Dec. 6. “We are grateful to keep this land a productive part of the local economy and to protect the scenic view on the Eastern Shore,” Maryland Environmental Trust Director Bill Leahy said. The easement is located in Talbot County immediately outside the town of Easton. It consists of about 100 acres of farmland and 125 acres of forest. The southernmost portion of the property is along the headwaters of Dixon Creek. “We have placed conservation easements on other Talbot County properties and are pleased to have worked with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Maryland Environmental Trust to preserve a large part of Lee Haven,” Greg Gannon, an owner of Gannon Family LLC, said. Gannon Family LLC donated the land for conservation. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Conservation Easement Program Manager Jared Parks said the land currently is listed in Easton’s greenbelt. The forest section is habitat for the Delmarva fox squirrel, which is no longer endangered but is still a species of concern, and “it’s got a lot of great farm land,” Parks said. “It is a great easement and it is in an area that we want to see preserved as greenbelt, stay active in farming and open,” Parks said. Farming can still happen on the land, but under the easement no commercial, industrial or residential development is allowed, and that provision literally lasts forever and follows the land, not the owner. “That allows them to continue to own it, farm it, do

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Where to opt outside on the Shore

Sure the weather is getting colder, but that doesn't mean we can't still reap the benefits of traversing our local lands, whether it be on a hike, bike, or whatever it is that gets you outside! We created the following list of trails and open spaces as a handy reminder to get out and take a walk in nature during this holiday season. These places are all located in the Mid and Upper Shore counties where ESLC currently serves.         Cecil County - Turkey Point Lighthouse http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/central/elknecklighthouse.aspx Kent County - SEEC @ Turner's Creek Park  http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/sassafras.aspx Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge https://www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_neck/ Queen Anne’s County - Wye Island State Park http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/wyeisland.aspx Tuckahoe State Park http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/tuckahoe.aspx Adkins Arboretum http://www.adkinsarboretum.org/ Caroline County - Lynch Preserve https://www.eslc.org/land-preservation/preserves/ Talbot County - Pickering Creek http://pickeringcreek.audubon.org/ Dorchester County - Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater/ *Note: Keywallace Trail is closed certain dates for deer management, be sure to check dates before hiking and wear boots. We would like to encourage people to share their photos with ESLC via Facebook and Instagram at @eshorelandc

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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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