Chesapeake Non-Profit Plans to Pave our Beautiful Forest and Put Up a Parking Lot. We Say: Hold Your Bulldozers.

Planned development on forested land will destroy an acre of forest on the banks of the South River near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

I walked out my door this morning and watched a beautiful red fox dart behind my car and into the woods across the street.  In the early morning when I walk my dog, I often hear the screech owl calling from the trees.  I also see an occasional bald eagle fly and land in those trees as well. 

I live across the street from the Quiet Waters Retreat on Forest Hill Drive and have always felt blessed to live in this quiet corner of the neighborhood with Winter water views and nature sounds.  My family often camps on our deck to capture the ambiance of this gem. 

I remember when Mary Parker lived at across the street on her 19-acre forest and walked her dog to the mailbox and waved.  We got to know Doug, the caretaker of the grounds who took my family around on his amphibious vehicle through the meadows and into Loden Pond.  When Mary moved to Florida and Doug left the property, I was worried about the outcome of this precious land. 

I rejoiced to hear that the County purchased it with Quiet Waters Park, and that a nature organization, the Chesapeake Conservancy, was going to lease out the land and use the existing structures.  It was a relief to think that a group such as this would appreciate the natural beauty and take care of it for future generations to come.

Fast forward several years through some storms and covid. The structures were destroyed on the property, and people are now working from home all over our country. 

I attended the public meeting on October 31st, 2022 at the Blue Heron Room to meet my new neighbors from the Chesapeake Conservancy and hear about their plans to conserve this precious jewel. 

I thought a humble structure using the existing footprints was the plan, but I was taken aback.  I saw the blueprints of this huge two-story building blocking the view and removing the trees where my fox, owl, and eagle live.  I felt sick to my stomach hearing about two parking lots accommodating 30 cars on each end of the meadow.  I also heard about the road cut across Concert Hill by the Quiet Waters dog park.

I was stunned and saddened. 

Joel Dunn, President & CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy, the mastermind behind this plan, says he envisioned a place for environmentalists to meet and form a think tank to better the environment. 

We do not need to destroy the environment to better it. 

An office park such as this could be placed in so many more appropriate places:  Downtown Annapolis, Truman Parkway, Chinquapin Round Road, the new Crownsville development.  Furthermore, people work from home now more than ever. This forest-destroying conglomerate is unnecessary. 

How did our county representatives, like councilwoman Lisa Rodvien, (who every environmentally conscious voter I know voted for) let these plans get this far? 

I couldn’t help remember County Executive Steuart Pittman’s remarks when he announced his initial run for election in his Barn:

We should be stewards of our land and leave it better than it was for future generations.

As a resident of Hillsmere adjacent to the Forest Hill entry and a person who uses Quiet Waters Park on a regular basis, I am concerned about the building process:  the destruction of the road that I live on, the noise and air pollution of trucks driving and idling in front of my and my neighbors’ houses, the destruction of the forest, the destruction of the South River and the Bay with the run-off with the digging and building of this monstrosity, the tapping into our community’s sewage system that we have paid for…..the list goes on. 

And after the completion of the project, I am concerned about the commuters driving up my road to commute to their office building and the transformation of my neighborhood and Quiet Waters Park with an office building constructed in the middle of our quiet, natural environment.  I am concerned about the weddings and fundraising events coming up my hill so that the Chesapeake Conservancy can raise money for their organization in their giant building. 

This project was not well-thought out with the community and environment in mind. I would hope that local philanthropists James and Sylvia Earl who donated multi-millions to the Chesapeake Conservancy to build what is now being called “The Earl Center” and our county representatives would not support this as well.

I pulled up the mission and vision up from the Chesapeake Conservancy website, and I realize that they are not following their own motto. 

Chesapeake Conservancy Mission:  To conserve and restore the natural and cultural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

Our Vision:  We believe the Chesapeake is a national treasure that should be healthy, accessible to everyone, and its watershed a place where people and wildlife thrive.

Hold your bulldozers.

NOTICE:  Second Public Meeting regarding Quiet Waters Retreat to be held February, 13, 2023.

There has been much community discussion about the ASTM standards, Due Consulting and recently acquired Retreat at Quiet Waters Park and the plan for the Earl Conservation Center to be located on that property.  As such, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Recreation and Parks have scheduled a second public meeting on the topic for: 

Monday, February 13th from 6:00-8:00pm.  

The meeting will be held at the Blue Heron Room. (Picture below).

Also: The Community Informational Public Meeting is January 20, Friday, 6PM at the Bay Ridge Christian Church, 1071 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis, MD. All are welcome to come and learn and discuss plans.

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