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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Developing Prince George's; a letter to the Council

Ms. Redis Floyd
Clerk of the Council for
Prince George’s County, MD
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772 18 February 2009

Re: OPPOSITION to Zoning Change for Meyers Property/Subregion 6 SMA

Dear Ms. Floyd,

I submit this letter in OPPOSITION to the proposed zoning change from R-A to C-S-C within the sub region 6 sectional map amendment for the 43 acre Meyers property. I request that the original zoning be retained. The current residential 2 acre development is in keeping with the rural nature of the greater context in which this parcel is located.

The context of the property falls with in a National Register Historic District (PG79-63) eligibility nomination area as defined in a survey and study produced by M-NCPP in June of 1990. The complete disregard for both the rural tier designation as well as the destruction of a national historic registry area is beyond comprehension except to add yet one more strip mall to eventually connect with endless strip malls of Charles County. Prince George’s will not be enhanced by this commercialization but rather made poorer by the loss of ecosystem services which once gone are irreplaceable.

The “Woodland” historic district within which this property falls is a last chance in Upper Marlboro to have both open space and historic memory of those events in the past that provided the foundation for our future. A community with no past has no definition and no future, but is rather loose upon the whims of the moment adrift without connection to those fundamental concepts and efforts which define quality of life.

The proposed Woodland Historic District (PG79-63) includes land on both sides of Old Crain Highway and Marlboro Pike extending for approximately 2.5 miles including Old Crain Highway a designated historic highway which will be completely subsumed and destroyed by this project. Homes range from ca. 1780 to the present in a text book presentation of the complete history of this county. Included but not limited to are architectural styles ranging from a Federal style plantation house to Greek revival plantation home, to Gothic and Queen Anne style buildings right up to the present vernacular. All told there are approximately 80 plus historic buildings in this 2 mile stretch of uniqueness that will be negatively impacted and forever altered by the proposed strip mall. In addition the probability of slave quarters and graves not yet located are by necessity within the historic district waiting to be studied and recognized and added to our common past.

If the proposed destruction of history is not enough, the concept of the rural tier and the protection of the Patuxent as well as the ecosystem services which we all take for granted and assume are free, must stop before it is too late. The decision to have a rural tier was a wise decision and arbitrary encroachment does a disservice to the idea of countywide planning. Ecosystem services range from informing such as the historic nature discussed above to regulation and supporting services such as erosion control into the Patuxent, storm water management, carbon cycle management, climate change, clean air and clean water management and processes. Open space and the plants found on the open spaces provide these services for free. But once lost they cannot be replaced as noted so long ago in Aldo Leopold’s seminal warning to those who think in short horizons of even shorter gain.

I am well aware as a property owner the immediate return on investment that the first exception will get. I am equally aware that if this goes through I will be compelled to work to aggregate my property with my neighbors and begin seeking equal remedy through rezoning asking for equal consideration of rezoning as my residence will ultimately be untenable facing the rear of a shopping mall and that then the best use of my land would perhaps be a professional office park. The snowball effect will destroy the unique character of this land and the natural area it supports. The idea that one of us should prosper and the others then be denied an equal opportunity to rezone violates all sense of fairness and equality. I am prepared for residential development as I am prepared to seek rezoning for commercialization of my property should this proposal goes through. Once the train leaves the station it is unreasonable to expect some of us to loose property value opportunity when another neighbor has been granted such an exception, so it becomes a matter of all or none.

I note further that property exists along Route 301 currently which could be used for enhanced commercial siting and that the need for yet another strip mall does not on the face of it offer a compelling need except for the benefit of the current property owner. The additional traffic which because of the wonderfully thought out idea of a centralized trash collection station would make Old Crain Highway a major alternative use road, and the strip mall would simply add to the impossibility of safely driving through the community. In the end this project will benefit the current owner and the developer leaving the rest of us with long term negative impacts to deal with. There is no way of saving what we have and allowing this concept to go forward, so the question is the public good and public value versus short term short sighted market choices.

In closing I am opposed to this project which is in violation of the spirit of the master plan and of the county plans for a new Prince George’s. I am asking respectfully to keep the present zoning, to preserve the historic nature, to honor your own plans, and to enhance our already diminishing ecosystem infrastructure. Do not continue to enable short term exceptions to the planning process but support fully your vision of a common good for every citizen on equal footing.


John Peter Thompson
4400 Old Crain Highway
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301 952 1933

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