June 27, 2017
Elizabeth Hewlett, Chair, Prince George's County Planning Board
Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, 4th floor – Office of Planning Board
Upper Marlboro , MD 20772
Request Public Hearing on Special Exception SE-4792Concrete Batching Plant in Bladensburg, MD
Dear Chairman Hewlett and Members of the Prince George’s County Planning Board:
On behalf of Progressive Cheverly we request that the Planning Board hold a public hearing on Ernest Maier’s application for a Special Exception (SE-4792) and two variances to build a concrete batching plant in Bladensburg. We strongly urge the Planning Board to allow the public to voice their concerns, many of which the staff report does not address, before accepting the staff’s recommendation.
Progressive Cheverly is a grassroots organization made up of Cheverly residents that for twelve years has worked to address a broad range of social justice and environmental issues at all levels of government. Beginning in 2005, Progressive Cheverly worked for many years with the Cedar Heights Civic Association, the Town of Cheverly, and other surrounding communities to oppose the approval of a Special Exception to build a concrete batching plant in the industrial area on Sheriff Road. Ultimately, we lost. The application was approved although to date it has not been built. Many of the same issues we raised relate to the Ernest Maier’s application. Only this time we hope that our county officials will realize that allowing the building of the concrete batching plant further compromises the environmental problems that already exist in Bladensburg. Specifically, we believe that building the plant will result in poorer air quality, additional water pollution, more noise, and increased truck traffic that will negatively impact the health and wellbeing of not only Bladensburg residents but all the surrounding communities.
There is no question that a public hearing is critically important for you as decision-makers and for the public to understand what an additional plant of this nature will mean to health and safety of the immediate residents, to the many school children who attend schools in the immediate area, and to pedestrians and drivers who currently use Bladensburg Road and nearby roads. This is already an area that has too much traffic. What does it mean to add 80 additional heavy trucks to this mix? What is the cumulative impact for the residents with the addition of another industrial plant that spews more concrete dust in the air. What will this pollution mean for the Bladensburg Waterfront? How does a concrete batching plant help improve the environment for the residents and businesses in Bladensburg and nearby communities?
We are very concerned about how the proposed concrete batching plant will impact public health. The staff technical report concludes that the current concrete block plant on the site “has not adversely affected the health, safety or welfare of residents or workers in the area.” Yet, staff Technical Report provides no evidence supporting this conclusion. In fact, residents near the plant site complain about the concrete dust in the air. The historic African American Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church right next to the plant regularly has to sweep concrete dust from the front of the church before services. And Brendon Quinn, owner of Ernest Maier, freely admits that debris from the plant has been flowing for years into the Moss Run stream adding to the pollution of the Anacostia River. These conditions clearly jeopardize the health of Bladensburg residents, workers and nearby communities, not to mention the pollution that has been dumped into the nearby streams. A health impact assessment should be done to provide a fair and unbiased look at the impact of the current operations and potential impacts of the proposed concrete batching facility and the associated truck traffic.
It is imperative that the Planning Board look not just at the plant in isolation from the community. Only a hearing will help bring to light these issues. For the reasons stated above, we hope you will hold a public hearing on the Special Exception application for concrete batching plant submitted by Earnest Maier. If you have any questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-322-5272.
Madeleine Golde for Progressive Cheverly
Co-Chairs: Sonya Gross and Norman Oslik