Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blackwater Resort Partially Blocked

The Maryland state Critical Area Commission has blocked the development of 313 acres of the proposed development near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. The project would have built 2,700 homes, a convention center, retail complex, and a golf course on 1,080 acres of land adjacent to the Little Blackwater River. This river flows through the National Wildlife Refuge and eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Runoff from the site could affect the resources of both. The 313 acres blocked by the commission would have held the golf course and retail complex. The developer could still build on the rest of the land, but any revised project would need to go through the local approval process again.

A five-member panel from the Critical Area Commission held hearings on the project and made a recommendation to the full commission. You can read the report here (pdf). The report sets forth the panel's concerns point-by-point and advises rejection. The main objections stem from a lack of data to support the developer's claims regarding impact on pollution, and noncompliance with watershed regulations. The commission's hearings were attended by over 100 people, and the commission received over 4,000 emails on the subject. Most responders opposed the project.