For those of us who were born here, left here, came back here, come here, still here, please read and get involved.
We all have in common our love for this county and its rural, agricultural, and water oriented nature with an abundance of wildlife. Its two rivers and the Chesapeake Bay form almost an island with route 301 on its Northeastern border. Traveling from the Chesapeake Bay through Queen Anne’s county via 301 to Cecil county or Middletown DE, it is the most green, undeveloped, and bucolic stretch of 301.
But that’s about to change.
A developer owns approximately 400 acres, mostly farmland, more with partners’ involvement, bordering route 301 and 291 on both the northeast and the northwest sides of 301.
On the northeast side, it includes a major expansion of Millington with hotels, shops, restaurants, new homes, medical facilities (an elementary school, upgraded water and sewer perhaps?) et cetera. This could be good for Millington, providing services, jobs and amenities to encourage families to come here/stay here.
However, on the northwest side, the FIRST to be developed, there are to be two warehouse distribution centers totaling 500,000 ft, each on separate 20 acre parcels bordering Mills Branch Creek (our back property line, along with 5 acres of wooded wetlands), which flows into the Chester River. The creek is bordered on each side by an important forested wildlife habitat. Air, water, noise pollution and traffic are significant concerns.
According to the developer, the warehouses will be in full LEED compliance. How does this mesh with great numbers of tractor trailers (possibly 66 bays per warehouse), spewing diesel fumes and particulate matter in a sensitive area?
Currently, warehouse height is limited to 45′. LRK planners in Philadelphia has recommended the height be increased to 60′ “due to state of the art advancements in robotics and vertical storage capacity”. How does this mesh with jobs for people? What is the ratio of people to robots?
There is a meeting on May 4th with the Planning Commission requesting a text amendment to raise the height of these warehouses from 45′ to 60′. This size and height is way out of scale for both the size of the property and the nature of Kent County. The 291 overpass and each of the traffic circles and the service road parallel to 301 are not built to accommodate the increased truck traffic, creating significant safety issues. And, if approved, it will become precedent for another distribution center, possibly in the planning stage on the northeast side of 301 in the “mixed use” zoned area which includes warehouses. Once that “precedent” door opens, it will be hard to close it to further development of that type.
I am not opposed to development, but keep it controlled and in scale with the surrounding properties, the people who live here, the nature of Kent County and the environment.
If the above concerns you, please contact your County Commissioners and express your views. The meeting is 1:30 PM at 400 High street in Chestertown on Thursday May 4th and is open to the public.