On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Board of Commissioners held a follow-up work session on the Bill 2020-06 School Allocation Policy Amendments. School Allocation Policy objectives include creating predictability in enrollment growth, encouraging a mix of commercial and residential uses in the development district and opportunity zones, and promoting affordable and workforce housing. Available housing falls short of the predicted needs for younger people, families, single parents, and others with limited income.

The major components of proposed amendments to the School Allocation Policy include:

  1. Student yield factor is applied directly to development projects for greater accuracy in estimated student population growth;
  2. A sunset provision for project on the school allocation waiting list; and
  3. Priority Development Project allocations apply to eligible projects in the Priority Funding Area.

Department of Planning and Growth Development staff presented an overview of feedback from Commissioners, the Planning Commission, Board of Education, and the community. Staff summarized comments from those who favored changes and addressed concerns that were raised from those who are not in favor of the changes.

Commissioners proposed changes and offered additional feedback for consideration, and the Board provided consensus to review the suggestions and return for a follow-up work session on amendments to the policy.The work session was continued to the next Commissioner Meeting to address questions from the Commissioners.

Open Session Briefings

  • Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna Abney presented an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. The public is encouraged to get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. A drive-through testing site is available every Tuesday at Regency Furniture Stadium, and appointments are required in advance by scheduling online. Residents should also get their annual flu shot, and the Department of Health is hosting a free flu shot clinic on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on urging the community to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance during the holiday season, and continuing to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid out-of-state travel and large gatherings of family and friends.
  • Department of Planning and Growth Management provided highlights on the Historic Preservation Program, its role in community revitalization including the Pomonkey Survey District, and preservation of historic villages Benedict, Port Tobacco, and Hughesville. Historical markers are being prepared for Pomonkey Village and the Blue Jay Motel.

Work Session

County Commissioners participated in a follow up work session on the Charles County MS4 Permit for the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program Financial Assurance Plan. The Department of Planning and Growth Management provided a summary of public comments that were received, hosted a webinar to address their concerns, and extended the public comment period be extended through Nov. 27 to receive public input. Commissioners approved the resolution for the plan and directed staff to submit it to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Approval Items

Commissioners also approved the following items:

  • A budget amendment increase of $3,978,530 to carry over unspent fiscal 2020 funds to the fiscal 2021 budget. The funds have been encumbered to pay vendors for vehicle and other capital purchases that were unable to be delivered until fiscal 2021 due to delays related to COVID-19.
  • A budget amendment increase of $37,800 to upgrade EnerGov, the county’s online permitting system and adjust the credit card processing fee budget based on activity.

Recognitions

Next Commissioners Session: December 8, 2020 (held virtually)

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.


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