On Tuesday, May 24, the Department of Emergency Services; Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism; Economic Development Department; Department of Community Services; and Department of Planning and Growth Management staff provided an update on Goal 5: Quality of Life of the Commissioners’ Goals and Objectives.

Highlights included the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 and public safety radio system; Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program; recreation offerings; parks and amenities, including the new Gilbert Run boardwalk and two synthetic multi-purpose athletic fields; sales tax from lodging, restaurants, and recreation and amusement; agritourism updates; Housing Authority’s request for additional mainstream vouchers; housing stability efforts, homeownership program, and settlement expense loan program; and the Affordable Housing Workgroup.

Open Session Briefings

  • Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney and Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an update on COVID-19 in Charles County.
    • There are a variety of vaccination clinics in the community, which include mobile pop-up clinics, schools, congregate living facilities, churches, and vaccines for the homebound. Residents can make their own vaccination appointments and walk-ins are accepted. For a list of county vaccination clinics and testing sites, visit the Department of Health’s website.
    • There is a COVID-19 testing site at the Regency Furniture Stadium (11765 St. Linus Drive, Waldorf) daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a list of pharmacies and other vaccination clinics and testing sites available, visit the State of Maryland’s website.
    • Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on the schools’ COVID-19 contact tracing process, weekly screening program, and case statistics.
    • Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which include continuing to support the Department of Health’s outreach efforts.
  • Department of Planning and Growth Management Deputy Director Jason Groth and Planner III Ben Yeckley provided a presentation on Bill 2022-06 Adequate Public Facilities 2022 Manual Update to Traffic Section. County Commissioners approved to the introduction of the bill and scheduled a work session on Tuesday, June 7 prior to a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, June 29 at 6 p.m. in a hybrid format.  

Update
Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney provided an update on the activities of the Department of Health. The Department of Health is continuing to monitor COVID-19 data and providing vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 in different regions of the county. The department has experienced a decline in staffing over the last few years and is actively recruiting for many positions such as behavioral health clinicians and nurses.

Normal operations continue for many of the clinics including reproductive health, HIV testing, and dental. Improvements are being made to office spaces such as WIC and the Behavioral Health suite to make them more welcoming spaces. Despite the continued challenges with the Maryland Department of Health’s network security incident, the Division of Environmental Health is conducting many of its routine operations including inspections of food establishments, septic systems, beaches, and public pools.

The Chronic Disease Program is busy working with local dental practices to screen for obesity in children and adults, providing inclusive programming for people of all abilities, distributing local produce boxes to community organizations and food pantries, developing a local food security committee, providing evidence-based programming include the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Living Well Chronic Disease Self Management Program, implementing the Healthy Heart Ambassador Program in conjunction with faith-based and community organizations, distributing blood pressure monitors, and offering free cooking and movement classes.

Chief of Capital Services John Stevens, Senior Project Manager Brian Kagarise, and Department of Planning and Growth Management Deputy Director Jason Groth provided an update on Western Parkway Phase 3 road improvements from Pierce Road to U.S. Route 301. Phase 3A-1 and Phase 3A-2 are complete, Phase 3A-3 is in the design phase and 95 percent complete, and Phase B is also in the design phase and is 90 percent complete.

Approval Items

Commissioners also approved:

Recognition

County Commissioners recognized county staff for the 2022 National Association of Counties Achievement Award in the Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation Category for the “Deep Roots & Many Branches: The African American Experience in Charles County” documentary series. The National Association of Counties Achievement Award recognizes innovative county government programs. Watch the award-winning documentary series here: https://bit.ly/3KTPRR7.

County Commissioners also recognized Charles County Government Television staff for being a two-time recognized winner at the 43rd Annual Telly Awards. The Telly Awards showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens which honors excellence in video and television.  The “Blue Jay Motel” video is the silver Telly Award winner in Non-Broadcast – History.  The Village of Pomonkey” video is a bronze Telly award winner for Non-broadcast – Documentary. More information on these awards here.

Discussion

County Commissioners discussed House Bill 1433 State Highways-Designations- Piscataway Highway. Bill sponsors were seeking Maryland Route 210 to be renamed Piscataway Highway, but Maryland Department of Transportation’s letter interprets the bill as a designation. A designation does not change mailing addresses, Google Maps, emergency, other government mapping systems, and other legal or real estate documents.

New Business

Commissioner Gilbert “BJ” Bowling, III (District 1) proposed revisiting a revitalizing community effort, such as a Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. County Commissioners recommended considering equity as a part of this effort and requested county staff to research similar programs in other jurisdictions.

Wednesday, May 25

Public Hearings

County Commissioners provided a public hearing on Zoning Map Amendment 21-01 NRP Holdings, LLC Moreland Properties. County Commissioners approved the amendment.

County Commissioner provided a public hearing on Amendment to the 2016 Charles County Comprehensive Plan Septic Tier Map. The public record will remain open until July 23.

Viewing option of meetings: Click Here

Next Commissioners Session: June 7, 2022 


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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