Charles County
Comprehensive Plan

An egret stands sentinal in Mattawoman Creek. Photo copyright Krista Schlyer/iLCPA great egret stands sentinel in Mattawoman Creek, Charles County, Maryland. Photo © Krista Schlyer/iLCP

Charles County 2015 Draft Comprehensive Plan Falls Short: Doesn't Adequately Protect Charles County and its Waterways

"While farming can and is expected to continue in the near future,
the long range land use over time can be replaced by rural residential housing
on large lots as the dominant use."
(draft Charles County Comprehensive Plan, p. 3-13)

In 2013, three years after CBF and a coalition of partner groups, citizens, and business owners stopped a potentially disastrous road project in Charles County called the Cross County Connector (CCC), special interests put forth a plan proposal that would allow sprawling growth and resurrect the Cross County Connector. Despite overwhelming public opposition, damaging elements of that plan remain under consideration.

On October 5, 2015, the Charles County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the 2015 Draft Plan.

Three key elements that were strongly supported by the public and that are critical to maintaining Charles County’s natural resources and quality of life did not make it into the current Draft Plan. We must ensure that these elements are included in this Draft Plan:

  • Protect our waterways with stronger zoning for the Mattawoman watershed and other stream valleys.
  • Include Nanjemoy in the Priority Preservation Area. Nanjemoy is home to thousands of acres of forestland that contribute to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Designate Bryans Road as a village rather than an urban growth center. An urban Bryans Road is reliant on the Cross County Connector, which has been removed from the draft plan.

Several other changes to the current Draft Plan would result in additional protections to Charles County natural resources and advance sustainable growth in the County:

  • Eliminate the Employment, Business, and Industrial Park designations applied to land surrounding Maryland Airport and on the forested Indian Head tech park site. This land is remote, forested, and highly sensitive and should be prioritized for protection rather than development.
  • Eliminate the over-sized Development District that promotes sprawl development in western Waldorf and detracts from redevelopment efforts that will revitalize existing communities.
  • Determine how much growth the county can sustain fiscally and environmentally, and plan accordingly. The plan envisions the county growing by 75,000 new residents and allowing 32,000 new homes to be built by the year 2040—a 51 percent increase in residents and a 59 percent increase in housing units.


Charles County residents suffer from some of the longest commute times in Maryland. Schools are overcrowded. Forests have been disappearing to development at an alarming rate. Residents of Charles County understand there needs to be a change in how the county grows.

A recent poll conducted by 1000 Friends of Maryland found:

  • nearly two-thirds
    of residents believe the county is growing too fast;
  • 71 percent
    oppose the CCC;
  • 93 percent
    of the community said that if they were writing the plan, protecting local waterways like the Mattawoman and Port Tobacco would be a high priority.


State agencies have panned the plan. In an unprecedented letter from 14 cabinet secretaries and agency leaders, the state's Smart Growth Subcabinet stated that the draft plan "largely ignores the county's wealth of natural resources, productive farmland and a prior focus on improving existing communities."

The state continues:

"Millions of dollars in state financial resources for land preservation, community revitalization and infrastructure improvements have been provided to support the county's past planning efforts. That level of support from the state is now jeopardized by a plan that moves the county in an unsustainable direction."

From the Bay Daily Blog


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