QAC Commissioners Approve “Big Box” Zoning with Unusual Straw Vote

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A Big Box text amendment, which could place large retail development near the corner of 213 and 544, was approved last night by the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners in a highly unusual 3-2 straw vote. The text amendment would expand the square foot restriction for retail development in Suburban Commercial Districts from 65,000 to “unlimited” throughout Queen Anne’s County and allow the landowner near 213 and 544, Pete Sheaffer, to draw a Big Box retailer to the location.

The vote ignored the recommendations of the Queen Anne’s County Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended 4-1 against the amendment back in April because the text is in direct conflict with QAC Comprehensive Plan.

“I’ve never seen a straw vote,” said QAC Commissioner David Dunmyer, who voted against the amendment. “It’s not usually how it works…it was not a planned event.”

It is out of the ordinary to vote on a text amendment during the first public hearing, but Commissioner Steve Arentz apparently believed the amendment could be passed last night. The Spy learned from an anonymous source a week ago that the Commissioners could try to force a vote at the first public hearing and that Commissioner Phil Dumenil, who told the Spy in June he would vote against zoning change, was in play to change his mind and vote for the text amendment.

“It isn’t going to be pretty,” Arentz told Dunmyer during a break in the agenda last night. “But we’re going to vote on it tonight.”

Arentz seemed surprised minutes later when QAC Attorney Pat Thompson said the bill first had to be in writing to be certified — before it could be adopted. Thompson then suggested a straw vote could be taken to help draft the text for the Commissioners meeting [on August 9] when the amendment will be passed and become law.

Voting for the amendment were Commissioners Arentz, Dumenil, and Dave Olds. Voting against were Commissioners David Dunmyer and Bob Simmons.

QAC Conservation Executive Director Jay Falstad said he was disappointed in the vote, and the low number in opposition to the text amendment.

“I’m naturally disappointed because I believe that part of Queen Anne’s County has a lot of unique business opportunities that focus on small town type businesses,” Falstad said. “I don’t believe that a Big Box is consistent with the QAC Comprehensive Plan, the QAC Planning Commission felt the same way…it’s disappointing. QA Conservation did not take a position on this text amendment at this time because we were hopeful that the business community thought this amendment was important enough to come out and stand up on their own. I’m disappointed that the local business community didn’t show up in stronger numbers.”

Falstad did acknowledge that some stakeholders did show up, but it was not enough.

“You’re only talking about a fraction of the number of businesses that will be affected…where were Centreville businesses?” Falstad asked. “The Town of Centreville should have come and spoken out…the Comprehensive Plan says that Centreville should be the primary area of growth in Queen Anne’s County.”

Falstad would not say what action QA Conservation might take at this point, but that he would bring the issue to his board of directors.

“In light of tonight’s vote, naturally I will report back to the board what is going on, and we’ll make a decision on what are next step is going to be,” Falstad said.

The first to speak against the Big Box was Richard Altman, former Executive Director of QAC Conservation, who reiterated that the Planning Commission’s 4-1 negative recommendation against the text amendment was appropriate with Comprehensive Plan and in protecting the small town setting of communities in QAC. Altman also said that the amendment could risk triggering a lawsuit.

“This text amendment ignored the prospect of large suburban commercial facilities throughout the county,” Altman told the Commissioners. “The Planning Commission considered that and decided it was not a good idea because it would threaten the existing small town character of the community. The Planning Commission also made a finding that is was not consistent with the QAC Comprehensive Plan, and that is a very strong finding…the plan has much language that stresses the kind of small town character that the planners and the citizens preferred. If you were to work towards overruling that you will potentially find yourself in an at-risk situation for litigation. I don’t think given the financial condition of the county that it’s a prudent thing to do at this time.”

Also speaking against text amendment was Elizabeth Ruddie of Chester, Md, who said the small farming community in Illinois where she’s from was adversely impacted by Big Box retailers. Ruddie also made note of a multitude of lawsuits against Wal-Mart and the way the retailer treats their employees.

“I saw the impact of a large business like Wal-Mart coming into our small community,” Ruddie said. “The affect of that was to run local businesses out of business. I know there are over a million lawsuits brought against Wal-Mart by women for sexual discrimination and in general I do not think that Wal-Mart treats its employees well.”

Mareen Waterman of Business Queen Anne’s spoke in support of the amendment lamenting that large retailers far from the county were taking business out of the community. Waterman also said that limitations on the size of retail stores were harming the environment.

“Business Queen Anne’s enthusiastically supports this amendment and urges your prompt adoption,” Waterman said. “Limitations on size has been detrimental to our tax base, because it prevents major tenants from locating in our county – thus preventing the smaller stores “[from succeeding] near bigger anchor tenants. For too long here citizens, especially those of low and modest incomes, have been forced to drive out of the county in order to shop at major retailers who offer competitive prices…[citizens] have to spend extra gasoline dollars and create additional carbon footprint and air pollution.”

Barry Griffith of Lane Engineeing, LLC, whose firm represents landowner Pete Sheaffer, insisted that size limitations were hurting jobs in QAC — and that large retailers and small business can co-exist successfully; Griffith used Easton as an example.

“Since this ban on large scale retail…the result has been no new large scale retail [anchors in QAC],” Griffith said. “We have our residents continuing to commute to Annapolis, Middletown, and Easton for the type of price and selection alternatives that these stores offer. We’re spending their time, their gas, their mileage in the car [and] the traffic and the pollution that it all generates to go elsewhere — because we don’t have those opportunities.”

“Easton has a Target, Wal-Mart, and soon to be a Khols,” Griffith said. “Easton is one of the most successful and vibrant downtown locations on the Eastern Shore…those stores are an attraction for commercial activity.”

Landowner Pete Sheaffer echoed Griffith’s comments, but added that development must follow market forces.

“I go down to Easton a lot and I go in small stores and I go in big stores,” Sheaffer said. “Everybody gets along fine…to turn around and say you’ll put the little guys out of business because of the large stores is ridiculous. All you got to do is drive down to Easton, those stores are still flourishing there on the main drag. You have to be able to do what the market dictates, you can’t tell people the size of the store they need to survive.”

But Stan Ruddie, founder of Up Against the Wall, an organization that fought the development of a Wal-Mart on Kent Island a decade ago, disagreed with Griffith’s and Sheaffer’s success stories about Easton.

“When the Wal-Mart in Easton opened, one in five competing businesses ceased operations,” Ruddie said. “I see this as a disaster for a small rural community. The companies that pay people a living wage, like PRS Guitars and Zodiac Boats International, are welcome in the county, and predatory businesses are not.”

Mary Roby of Kent Island said people should be allowed choices.

“I guess I’m in the minority, but I’m in favor of the amendment,” Roby said. “I think the residents of Queen Anne’s County need choices where they shop and where they spend their money. Many people currently go outside the county for shopping services, and they’re not spending one penny of their money in the county. We’re losing an opportunity for revenue, which would help keep our taxes lower.”

Downtown Chestertown Association President Nancy McGuire spoke on behalf of businesses in both Kingstown and Chestertown in opposition to the amendment.

“There is a reason you have limited the size of the buildings. I ask that you remember why that important decision was made. When a change, such as this happens, it changes its neighborhood. The argument for changing either the use or zoning of any adjacent land is that there has been a change in the neighborhood. Before we know it, an area becomes a new Middletown. One parcel after another replicates the first “Big Box.”

“We are stuck with that decision for I have never seen a subdivision nor a shopping center demolished for open land or a use changed for a more fitting one in size or scale. This is highly complicated change. Everything changes from traffic, lifestyles, infrastructure, noise, light pollution and on and on. “Big Box” use of land never follows the neighborhood; the neighborhood is suddenly forced to keep
up with the “Big Box.”

‘This creeping change in neighborhoods is insidious but has a beginning. Someone (or persons) was responsible for that beginning.”

“Towns in Queen Anne’s County, such as Stevensville, Chester, and Centreville began and have been devoted to small independent businesses from local hardware business to Kingstown Southern States. We all know they will adversely feel the affect of a large “Big Box” that, like a vacuum, sucks the life-blood from local independent businesses. We don’t even have to discuss the details of that statement for it has been proven over and over again. The DCA and all local business organizations are doing whatever they can to influence citizens to buy locally, so our local dollars stay locally. The definition of an independent small business is where business decisions and dollars remain local. Large corporations that need such a large footprint drain more than 50% of every dollar from the local economy. We should not be fooled to think otherwise. By necessity these large corporate marketing and product decisions do not have our local welfare in mind.”

QAC Commissioner Phil Dumenil said he changed his mind on the text amendment because he thought the development would be at the intersection and not four tenths of a mile away on Route 544.

In review of a taped interview with the Spy on June 27, Dumenil said, “That would not be one of the areas I would support a box store to be at, so under that pretense I could not support the text amendment.”

Dumenil clarified his position after the vote.

“My opposition to it was that it was actually going to be on that corner,” Dumenil said.

Two sources very familiar with text amendment said Dumenil should have been aware of the exact location of the site before the June 27 interview with the Spy.

Letters to Editor

  1. QAC commissioners for sale…

  2. Mr. Falstad: You mentioned your board- who are the members of your board?
    The website lists officers, but does not list board members. Thank you.

  3. Stellal says:

    Another brilliant visionary decision by the powers that be in OAC.

  4. Thank you Queen Anne’s County Commissioners.

  5. “QAC commissioners for sale…”

    i heard there were very few folks at the hearing Against the passage of the Amendment – so – why were there wrong to pass it? if soooo many voters were soooo upset, where were they? i know QACA was looking for them…

  6. Keith Thompson says:

    I’m guessing that now to compete, this should put the impetus on getting the Chestertown Marina purchase done and getting started on the riverfront development plan.

  7. Steve Payne says:

    Maybe the Voters from Centerville will show up prior to the actuall vote now that this happened.

  8. Confused… Dunmyer and Falstad have both given the Spy information for publication. This is read primarily by Chestertown oriented residents. In the case of a potential big box store, wouldn’t it make more sense to appeal to Chestertown merchants? I am puzzled why Centreville business owners would be called out for no support. Pretty common knowledge that Centreville gravitates to Easton, Kent Island and Annapolis, while Church HIll goes to Dover and Ctown.

    QACA is not well-received in Centreville- they may have board members who live in the 21617 zip, but someone who knows the business owners of Centreville knows that they are hurting very badly from a lack of commercial businesses in the county. The large developments in the Town, Symphony Village and Northbrook, are not going to fight big box, as they drive to them to get what they can’t get anymore after moving. (yes, there are some exceptions, but). The comment I hear each time I talk to residents in both places is that they feel like there is very little here, and that they are always driving somewhere to find what they need. This is the same feeling that most of us who grew up here, and now live and work here, feel.

  9. j Huey Brown says:

    JOBS JOBS JOBS, BAGS BAGS BAGS, If I was incharge of hiring for walmart i would not hire anybody with a 21620 zip code on their application. The rich people who live their are snobs and poor are just to lazy. I’m still going to Dover or Middletown.

  10. @Pete
    President
    Christopher Pupke

    Vice President
    Jim Campbell

    Secretary
    Loretta Walls

    not sure when last updated – and not sure of the rest of the members – tax filings online may give you more info.

  11. Pete:
    How about you provide me with your full name, address and phone number, and I’ll see what I can do.

    -Jay Falstad

  12. Queen Anne’s County, Queen of Sprawl. Why am I not surprised that the longtime allowing of sprawl development (whether residential or commercial) can continue? For awhile, I was hopeful that this deleterious practice would be halted, but I guess that was too much to hope for. New residential and commercial developments rightly belong in or adjacent to established population centers, not at random places out in the countryside where land available for sale is located.

  13. Stellal says:

    Marge, I think what is the height of gall is for this group to go against the reccomendation of their own planning
    And zoning office.Boy, talk about big money.influencing a group of people! On top of all this, for this to be
    Near the approach to Chestertown knowing how Kent County is working hard to maintain the scale of this area.
    What jerks.

  14. It is difficult to keep one’s chin up when there are so many who just don’t “get it”. We are trying so hard to support our independent businesses and our amazing sense of place. This amendment means that we must dedicate ourselves even more deeply to preserve what Chestertown and Kent County is all about. When we drive through our beautiful County and Town, let’s remember it is the citizens of Kent County and Chestertown who have preserved it thus far and that we will continue.

    We talk about a second bridge over our fine River – is it unthinkable to remove the one we have?

  15. Pete S. says:

    Sell out, with me oh yea,
    sell out, with me tonight!
    The WalMart’s gonna give me lots of money
    and everything’s gonna be all right.

  16. @Marge – “New residential and commercial developments rightly belong in or adjacent to established population centers, not at random places out in the countryside where land available for sale is located.”
    *mr shaeffer’s property is adjacent to a neighbor and businesses like liquor stores, a bowling alley, 2 pizza places, a bar, car dealerships/repair shops, a hair salon…just sayin”

    @Stella – “talk about big money.influencing a group of people”
    *like big $ in the form of tax-dollars leaving the hands of the citizens of QA’s? or the big $ leaving the unemployment office? or the big $ going into people’s gas tanks so they can drive out of the area and out of the state to find work? that big $?

    @Stella – “Near the approach to Chestertown knowing how Kent County is working hard to maintain the scale of this area.”
    i gotta say, on this point – if the counties only had one budget, i could see them taking Kent’s feelings into consideration – but, to me, i really believe that Kent can’t change what it does to make QA’s happy and vice versa – the counties have to make decisions regardless of county lines.

    @Nancy – “This amendment means that we must dedicate ourselves even more deeply to preserve what Chestertown and Kent County is all about.”
    *and maybe that is needed – a little more pressure to Kick-it-Up – i think that can be healthy – i look at Rock Hall as a town of Cheerleaders and sometimes, not always, there does seem to be a bit of entitlement-attitude in Chestertown…maybe it is time to dust off the PomPoms –
    i hear people complaining abt Fresh/Greens – i’m not willing to put them under yet – their success just may keep more people around town – may spark more businesses to fill our empty spaces. wouldn’t it be lovely if we really could get everything we need – and want – Kent Co…wo having to go to Walmart and spend our money for the govenrment of De to spend on their citizens?

  17. sorry – i was typing in the dark…

  18. Keith Thompson says:

    Nancy Maguire says “It is difficult to keep one’s chin up when there are so many who just don’t “get it”. We are trying so hard to support our independent businesses and our amazing sense of place. This amendment means that we must dedicate ourselves even more deeply to preserve what Chestertown and Kent County is all about.”

    So I guess now it’s time for the DCA to throw it’s weight behind supporting the town’s best asset; the riverfront spurred by the marina purchase, and make downtown Chestertown an economic destination so folks don’t have to drive to MIddletown or across the bridge.

  19. Carla Massoni says:

    Years ago a young friend and his wife were planning to buy their first home. They looked at properties surrounding the Chestertown area – some in Kent County and some in Queen Anne’s – when they asked my advice I suggested staying in Kent because the planning practices were more in keeping with our rural area. They followed my advice and when the area around them started to develop they were pleased to have a voice and to see plans that remained in scale to the area. Other friends who purchased a lovely old farmhouse and a few acres in QA are now surrounded by development more suitable to an urban area. There will be development – all I hope is that it is in a scale appropriate to our communities. The big box stores will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs as more and more shopping is done over the internet. A small scale operation with internet access and solid employees providing sound advice can accomplish much of what these oversized stores do now. I guess all we can hope for is that when these “dinosaurs” decay and are buried in piles of debris – they may result in a new petroleum age.

  20. I think Carla hit the nail on the head. Big Box stores are dinosaurs, and growth and development such as we have in Queen Anne’s County, with its weak zoning laws, ends up spreading like a cancer.

    When I go to the Chestertown Farmers market, I always meet people who come to Chestertown and the surrounding area because IT IS different….it’s America the way it used to be, and it’s worth fighting for. I always hear comments from people visiting this region, who shop the stores and spend their money, and say that what we have here is unique, and as a result, they keep coming back.

    Rather than go the way of Middletown, or Smyrna, or even Kent Island, how about we try to capitalize on that uniqueness and be different? A big box won’t do anything to help promote the local economy. It might provide a few jobs, but it’ll displace others. More importantly, a big box will lift local money and transfer it to areas outside the State, which doesn’t strike me as being helpful. Big Box stores do not represent progress.

    In the end, this is a business, economic and aesthetic matter. If the local businesses in the area think a big box is helpful to their own economic interests, then they’ll stay on the sidelines. But if we have any hope of preserving the uniqueness of Chestertown, or if “Buy Local” means anything at all, or if you believe the rural areas are worth preserving, it’s time to look around and see what’s happening. It ain’t a pretty picture.

    Jay Falstad
    Executive Director,
    Queen Anne’s Conservation Association
    http://www.QACA.org
    410.739.6570 (c)

  21. i remember when the lights of Smiley,s were the beacon on N213…

    and…we have empty buildings now…the ‘old’ Walgreen’s etc…half of Acme Plaza…

    so development will happen, as Carla said, but wo opportunities for employment, more will empty…wo people having a reason to stay here to earn and spend, more will empty…the Used Book Store by the movies is leaving within weeks…

    i wish i knew more, i wish i had the resources to open a business wo fear…the internet is an issue…i had 2 packages delivered yesterday…

    the more businesses…from Rubble to Redner’s…who are not welcomed here…the more empty buildings, internet shopping and mass exodus to De etc…

  22. Pleased says:

    THANK YOU!!! I may not have to drive 30 mins to Middletown anymore!!

    Just some of my thoughts –
    First, Who says it’s going to be a Wal-Mart? What if its a Bass Pro, a Cabella’s or a large Giant supermarket? Would there still be so much oposition?
    Second, Chestertown is failing without the so called “help from the big box stores”. Half the stores are empty….Yeah things are going real great! How much actual contribution to the local economy do these “locally owned stores” actually give? I dont know anyone who says “Darn, I need a new grill” or “I need a new baby stroller – Let me check out High Street in Chestertown!!”. Come on people. The majority of the public goes to Middletown, Dover or Easton as it is.
    Lastly, to Kent County residents: Stay in your county!!! If you dont like the new “Wal-Mart”, then stay on your side! But reality is – how many of you in oposition will be there on opening day?

  23. Stellal says:

    Rcg. You are on a whole different
    World view than those opposes
    To this amendment. period . maybe
    One day you and yours will realize
    There is more to life than big box
    Shopping. You know. ,think outside
    The big box!
    Big money? Please. …we know
    What is buttering the bread of the
    WAC commission

  24. “Pete:
    How about you provide me with your full name, address and phone number, and I’ll see what I can do.

    -Jay Falstad”

    Jay,

    Why not just answer the question here and enlighten us all? Inquiring minds want to know. This is not secret information is it? Now Im wondering……

  25. Keith Thompson says:

    @Carla & Jay,

    Do you see Chestertown’s likely purchase of the marina and development of the riverfront as appropriate with the scale of maintaining the town and county’s traditional heritage? If it is, why is the community seemingly so resistant to the idea? If not, what alternative other than a struggling to failing status quo is the answer to fighting big box stores in surrounding communities? While one can hope that sometime in the future that big box retail will die off like the dinosaurs, that hope doesn’t do a community any good if it becomes extinct before the dinosaurs die off.

  26. Carla Massoni says:

    FYI, Keith – I believe the development of the waterfront by Washington College and the purchase of the marina by the town are very positive steps. I support “rails to trails” – access to the waterfront – and think the appropriate development of the Stepne property is essential to the long term health of this area. Retail and service oriented businesses will be the outgrowth of these investments. We must build on our historical heritage and the scenic beauty of the region. Solid small businesses will be the result of this investment in the long run. Jobs are jobs whether they come in 2-3’s or by the dozen. Long range planning and research on the successes of other communities will be essential. Sadly many just wish to foster a manufactured war between the interests of our citizens. “i don’t have a boat, so why should I care about preserving the marina for rich people!” You may not have a boat – but your brother-in-law might be a mechanic, or a salesperson with a food service company supplying the restaurants – your nephew a waiter working his way through Chesapeake College – your child in the public school system funded by property taxes. Like it or not we are all in this together.

  27. Catty One says:

    @Pleased…
    I like the way you think. You are dead-on in your comment about the hypocrisy of it all coming from the very vocal NIMBY faction.
    Along your train of thought, didja know, many years ago, during the WalMart flap here, quite a few of the grey haired heads at Heron Point opened up their checkbooks to contribute to the anti-walmart legal expenses.
    Yep.
    Then, when PUMH finally funded their mini-bus to make day trips, one of the first destinations booked for the bus was to go to ……
    The Walmart in Easton.
    And they returned with their bulging shopping bags.

  28. Keith – I am a bit confused. Are we not in a world-wide recession? I think Kent County is going to be OK.
    It won’t, however, should the one thing that sets it apart from the rest of the over-sprawled mid-atlantic
    is ruined. And “pleased”? Oh my, how clueless.

  29. stella…i have said before that i rarely go to bigbox stores…my time is limited and valuable to me. but i know where the money goes and i watch my friends drive out of town every day.

    i have talked with many on both sides and agree to disagree with friends w differing views. i have friends on every econ level…and can honestly say that more folks would like to see more opportunity and options closer to home.
    i have lived and worked and attended school in Queen Anne,s, Kent and Talbot…i was raised in a home surrounded by corn fields…i get it.

    i am not pro~big~box…but i,m not anti~big~box either…how abt pro~compromise…we don,t even know what will come here, yet…

    and if u think that Big $ is the problem, ask mr shaeffer how much he gave to the Stop~FASTC coffers. or ask some of the other wealthy developers and business people how much they give to groups like Chesterwye and Hospice…or ask some of QACA,s donors if they have ever subdivided their land…

    do you remember when Smiley,s was the only business on 213 b4 entering Chestertown? do u remember when the only grocery store in Centreville was a tiny Acme? i do…things change…why not help the change in a positive and productive way…that,s what i would like to see

    is that a bizarre world~view?

  30. Keith Thompson says:

    Carla, thank you for your response. It illustrates a point I was trying to make in another Spy thread (a thread that went horribly awry) in that it’s important to chart your own destiny and clean up your own house rather than waiting on someone else to help you out. If Chestertown can effectively chart it’s own destiny, it doesn’t matter what the commissioners in Queen Anne’s County decide to do or what Middletown decides to do. I think the vote in QAC should be a call to action and instead of focusing attention on what they’re doing, the Chestertown community (elected officials, businesses, and residents) should roll up their sleeves and get to work on maximizing its resources.

    Stella, yes we’re in a recession and please re-read what I just wrote in response to Carla.

  31. Pleased says:

    Stella… “How clueless”?? Evidently you havn’t been to Chestertown in a while. You must close your eyes between the college and Pizza Hut… (Maybe you’re spending your time in Middletown, or Easton?)

  32. Sarah Dean says:

    I’m pretty certain that those in favor of this “big box” store don’t live in developments in the immediate surrounding area. A store of that size is an eyesore and ruins the pristine farm field views so many of us enjoy here. If I wanted my property to essentially back to a WalMart I would have moved to Middletown. Not to mention the increased traffic on 213 (an already annoying road to travel on and/or cross, and potential danger that brings for our children and animals. QAC Commissioners are obviously for sale to the highest bidder and not at all concerned with the “little people.”

  33. Stellal says:

    rcg: you have stated that you are for this amendment. Therefore you are in favor of allowing a big box store in our area. You also say that you just want choice. Well, a big box store moving into this area will take ALL choice away. Such a store would destroy all competition. Such competition is owned by people who live and work here.
    Your neighbors.
    You cannot be all things to all people.

  34. i have seen it work…talbot county works…on all levels…
    the text amendment will not guarantee a Walmart on 544…

  35. Stellal says:

    As I had said a couple days ago, I was disappointed that QACA chose to remain nutral on this amendment.
    They had their reasons, apparently, but I am hopeful now that they will take a more proactive stance.
    I would also like to know: where is the CRA on this? It is fine and well to rely on small busineses to lobby on their own behalf but rather unreasonable as well. In these tough economic times, they need all the advocates they can get!

  36. jonnycage says:

    Is this much ado about nothing? Big box store MAY come to an intersection in the middle of nowhere? Next to a royal farms and several other businesses. Is a big box store an uglier then the furniture silo, the pizza joint, the 300 year old bowling alley, the shut down ford dealership and so on and so on? This store isn’t being proposed in the town square of C’ville or Chestertown. There are no historic emergencies or fallacies that will occur. And it makes me laugh to think that people would think this is the beginning of the end? Do you REALLY think that now we will have a wal-mart, target, best buy, lowes, home depot, pet smart and office depot? Really? Not to worry, kent county is still, and appears to be headed for rural kingdomness for centuries to come. I hardly think someone will find kent county the new development mecca, the residents don’t even like it here that much so I think the secret is safe! Maybe someday, when local politicians are elected that understand business and growth, this may even sound like a good thing for the county?

  37. Steve Payne says:

    I agree with Jonnycage. I don’t believe ther are many bigbox stores just dying to get into a market like ours. Walmart had a plan to try smaller local stores but from what I have seen and heard they are now going to mega stores and urban sites.

    People naturally assume that our special but slow moving town is an economic disaster but that just isn’t true.

    http://www.bls.gov/ro3/urdelmarva.htm

  38. Stellal says:

    Talbot County is way over sprawled, according to every long time resident I know.
    Jonnycage: no, this amendment does not mean that a big box will come but it allows one to come.
    We don’t want to live with that threat.

  39. Joel Brandes says:

    Perhaps if someone put forth a plan, under the parameters of smart growth, to create job opportunities we would not be facing this obimination on the landscape. I have only witnessed Mr. Falstad and QACA opposing reasonable growth that might benefit the working poor. I as many of my neighbors wish to see the beauty of the area maintained. We participated in the QAC comp plan process to that end.
    However, when any proposal comes up that even closely resembles “Smart Growth” it is shot down. It’s great to be wealthy, for that is what we all strive for, how about giving others that chance? The attitude of I’ve got mine and the heck with you is what causes this travesty, because there are no other choices.

  40. This life-long resident sees choice and opportunity and harmony – maybe the only downside is having so many choices, it’s hard to decide where to go first – which store will have the best deal, selection – i did mention the empty Lowe’s building will be housing Kohl;s soon, didn’t i?

    stella – we must agree to disagree – simply and politley – i will never change your mind (not my goal, anyway), and you won’t change mine. i may have only 41 yrs, but all of them have been on the Shore – i have seen the changes – all of them – and i also see the folks around town walking bc they don’t have cars – bc they don’t have jobs – and they can’t travel to work bc they don’t have cars…

    from what i gather, you don’t have to worry abt putting food one the table, neither do i (90% of the time) – but there are people who do – i think you mentioned Universal HealthCare – what about universal basic opportunity?

    ps we came back to Ctown for Very Important family-related reasons so pleeeease suggest that we should have stayed in Talbot.

  41. pleeeease Don,t suggest…darn typing skills ;p

  42. I think someone is missing some math here. Consider that we have one of the largest Wal-Marts in the US in Middletown, a K-Mart in Kent Island, and the usual suspects in Easton…That’s a 35 mile circle give or take a few from the intersection of 213 and 544 (we’ll call it QuackMart). Taking that into consideration, people tend to shop where it’s the most convenient. Given that big box stores all have similar pricing. assume that anyone on our side of the threshold would go to QuackMart. Therefore, you have a theoretical useable radius of 17.5 miles. Now, the question is, are there even enough people to warrant QuackMart within a 17.5 mile radius of that corner?

    I just don’t see it reaching critical mass.

  43. Stellal says:

    I have said time and again…those who
    Look at a landscape of kohls,walmart lowes,yadda
    And wish that for here ,are living in the wrong place .please ,
    Can’t you let this place survive?

  44. QA Resident says:

    Ok, I actually LIVE in QAC. I live near the proposed area. My children attend public school in QAC. I however grew up in KC. Initially we built in QAC b/c we could not find land that we could afford in KC….we looked. At first I was not thrilled with leaving the county that I grew up in. Now, however…could not be happier. Great schools, bigger county, less snobbery..love it! As far as big box goes, no, I do not want to live at Walmart or any other big box store but….we do need options here. KC has nothing to offer except a pretty downtown and cute shops which yes, I do shop in from time to time. When I was very young I remember going “downtown” with my mother (before Drugfair) and shopping for pretty much whatever you needed, kids clothing, womens and mens clothing, fabric, toys, etc etc. I am not saying destroy downtown, it’s great but clearly residents are in need of more than what is offered down there currently. Chestertown wants to be attractive, fine but have you gone past downtown and seen the uninhabited new building where the Black Eyed Susan was, the empty Walgreens, half of each plaza??? Roses I am sorry to say is disgusting. I mean just dirty. I do remember when Leggett left, before Peebles came and you could not buy clothing in town. I do believe there is a way to preserve the history of the area and provide citizens with much needed jobs, products, less traveling…..to name a few. Internet shopping is popular but it is nice to go into the store and see the product before purchasing. I mean you may actually need the item that day. What bothers me is that KC residents that have no ties with QA (no family here, never lived here) have so much to say. Meanwhile they have tons of empty stores in their county looking just trashy. I am not a Walmart fan and do not shop there on any regular basis but there is a need for something….want sheets? Where do you go in either county??? Nowhere in Kent but Roses and forget that. QA has K MART, almost in Annapolis so why go down there besides the fact that on the weekends you cant get to and from Kent Island b/c of beach traffic. So much anger from comments and rudeness towards anyone that doesn’t share the same opinions is really disapointing. I would really love to see a good grocery store…not Whole Foods (although I like it) an affordable store, and one store that offers needed items that cannot be gotten in either county easily. KC needs to focus on getting all of the empty stores filled, downtown and uptown. Maybe a bigger retailer in QA would help that effort just by being here???

  45. Catty One says:

    @Q.A. Resident
    There is much truth in what you say.
    Unfortunately, much of it will also fall on deaf ears.
    I’ve often thought (not aloud, of course, just to myself) living in chestertown is alot like living in one of the Hans Christian Andersen stories. The one about the Emperor’s New Clothes.
    Hence, the example of the Alexander Bldg. downtown on the other thread.
    It’s hard to have a sane discussion going when people post that the QA text amendment will ruin the pristine views of the bowling alley, pizza places, convenience store gas pumps, closed-up car lot, furniture stores, one, er, kinda “boxy” itself, and so forth because it is going to be an eyesore in the neighborhood.
    And the arguments that we should instead be “building on our historical heritage and the scenic beauty of the region”.
    Other than the leisure class we have heard so much from on these threads, is there anybody else here who is putting groceries on the table, or sheets on their bed, from either history or beautiy?

  46. Stellal says:

    Alex..people want cheap cheetos
    In their front yard . Too much of an ordeal to dive 40-minutes.
    This has nothing to do with “class”.
    It has to do with intelligent understanding
    Of an issue.

  47. Pleased says:

    @QA Resident – Thank you for being level headed. You understand there is a need here. You keep your eyes open as you drive through Chestertown (probably on your way to Middletown…) and see the flourishing economic boom that is Chestertown. (That was a joke).

    Maybe we can put a bird feeder on the grounds of the “Wal-Mart” so the nature lovers’ views aren’t disturbed.

  48. @Stellal

    Class or not, if you don’t have enough cheap cheeto fans, the store won’t make it.

  49. Gerry Maynes says:

    Hi, It is interesting that Pleased is looking for stores that that area could not support nor would they consider moving in to the land of sales taxes. When you can open the same store in Tax free Delaware lets say in Smyrna and watch the cars come from Maryland. ( If you build it they will come). I am just guessing Walmart is about the only company that would be interested. But then again they have had real trouble with same store sales, mostly due to cannibalization buy building super centers to close to existing stores. If poor paying dead end jobs with out benefits or even a guarantee of a 40 hour week for full time help floats your boat. All I can say is Shame on You

  50. QA Resident says:

    @Stellal. I do not know where YOU live but you form opinions of other without taking into consideration WHY others feel as they do….I for one do not eat Cheetos, regulary shop in Walmart or any other big box store but I am not so snobby to think that people need options. Yes, driving 40-50 minutes to get to a store is a problem when one has children to drive to sports, school events, etc, etc, etc….I have to work, do not have time to drive almost an hour on a regular basis. I GREW UP HERE, yes a native….not moving but do recognize a need when I see it.

  51. Sorry qa, but you won’t have “options”
    Should a big box dominate the area!

  52. QA Resident says:

    Perhaps you should use your energy in KC getting the empty buildings rented…seems like you have all of the answers!!

  53. Bernadette says:

    Looks like the slow economy is over for at least one lucky person: $250 per billable hour, many hours ahead and paid by bottomless pockets sounds like a great job to me.

  54. Queen Anne’s County deserves to be able to govern itself. I highly doubt that the commissioners are going to take whining voices from Kent County. Let’s also hope that they will ignore the loud, rude voices from Boston, Ohio, Wilmington DE, and New York City. I have no interest in being controlled by Bank of New York retirees and gutless old individuals who don’t count their pennies like my friends and I do. Thank you commissioners for at least attempting to help those on limited incomes.

  55. Sarah Dean says:

    I find it absolutely ridiculous how someone can be so quick to assume that because one enjoys the views and simplicity of having farmland backing to their property, that they are in the “leisure class.” Both my husband and I work very hard to provide for our two children and maintain our house in QAC. Either way, such jabs are irrelevant to the larger issue – the QAC Commissioners are sidestepping the law to amend the text to benefit one person. Which, as the secondary issue, will potentially bring in a Big Box Store to a rural area. This may have a wide range of negative effects including losing tillable farmland, increased traffic, lowering existing merchants’ sales and potentially putting them out of business, as well as taking a substantial portion of the local area’s money spent there and shipping it out somewhere else. Besides, wouldn’t a better solution for all be to utilize the unused spaces in town (or maybe push out the Roses no one goes to) and put in a smaller store(s)to meet some of the needs of the town (sheets, pillows, toys?)?

  56. Keith Thompson says:

    Sarah Dean writes “Besides, wouldn’t a better solution for all be to utilize the unused spaces in town (or maybe push out the Roses no one goes to) and put in a smaller store(s)to meet some of the needs of the town (sheets, pillows, toys?)?”

    This is not intended to be a flame but a simple inquiry…Why hasn’t the business community already utilized the unused spaces in town? Why hasn’t someone already stepped up to put in smaller stores that meet some of the needs of the town? There has to be a reason why its not already being done and once that reason is understood, perhaps we’ll know how to change the status quo to make those things happen.

  57. The loss of tillable farmland isn’t a coherent argument. That area has several subdivisions. Many lots were created from a farm. Perhaps you are famliar with it.Many of us live in residences that were on land that was once a farm. We have little ground to stand upon in the “Save Farmland” issue, as we ourselves benefited from that subdivision by being able to afford the houses we live in.

    A small retail store is not efficient from a business perspective. Companies are not going to stock a wide variety of products and hire at least three shifts of staff for a small operation. Variety and price competiion comes with a larger store.

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