Dayton Rural Preservation Society

Supporting the preservation of rural farmland in HoCo, Md

Councilmember Sigaty Challenges Dayton Residents...

First up:  Councilmember Sigaty sends this response to Dayton resident, Jim Nichols

From:  mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov

Sent:   Friday, Nov 3, 2017 at 10:35 AM 

Subject: FW: CB60-2017 and Dayton property


Good Morning Mr. Nickel,

 

I have shared with the public at several of our meetings that the work represented by your enclosed photo was a conservation practice. Clearly you don’t believe me, so I’m sharing with you and the many others who have had the opportunity to see your photos my recent communication with the District Manager of the Howard Soil Conservation District.

 

Hopefully you will find David Plummer’s description of the activities at the Orndorff’s farm informative.

 

Mary Kay Sigaty

 

Howard County Council

District 4

3430 Court House Drive

Ellicott City, MD 21043

410-313-2001

 

From: David Plummer    dplummer@howardcountymd.gov

Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 9:00 AM
To: "Sigaty, Mary Kay" mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov
Subject: RE: CB60-2017 and Dayton property

 

Good Morning Mary Kay,


What an engaged citizenry you have! It appears that someone took the time to fly a drone over Mr. Orndorf’s farm to capture photos of this beautiful conservation practice.  This is actually a better photo of this practice than we can usually get from the ground (we haven’t been able to afford a drone yet for the office).  This practice is called a Water and Sediment Control Basin or WASCOB for short, and yes it is an approved NRCS standard conservation practice. 

 

If you look closely at the second photo, which looks like an aerial from Google Earth or similar program, you will see the gullying that was occurring in this section of field due to the slopes (the crooked line running down the middle of the field).  The fact that this shows up on an aerial photo indicates that it was a pretty significant problem.  This gullying means that sediment was being transported downstream on a regular basis.  I believe the majority of this area was simply planted to grass in an attempt to stabilize it, as opposed to crops.  Geotextile material is used on a variety of conservation and stabilization projects.

 

The goal of the WASCOB is to prevent this gully erosion, create a level area that can be productively farmed, and reduce the runoff to the equivalent of forest land cover.  Lofty goals, but we are always trying to design and implement projects that will help protect our local waters and the Chesapeake Bay.  

 

I don’t see any correlation between this conservation practice and CB60-2017?  We help landowners with conservation practices like this all the time, and it has nothing to do with mulch or compost.  Thanks for sharing this with me, I hope you have a great day! - David

 

David C. Plummer, District Manager

Howard Soil Conservation District

14735 Frederick Road

Cooksville, MD 21723

410-313-0680; www.howardscd.org


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: Sigaty, Mary Kay
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2017 6:47 AM
To: Plummer, David dplummer@howardcountymd.gov
Subject: FW: CB60-2017 and Dayton property

 

Good Morning David,

 

I need a little help—Can you or one of your folks tell whether the work shown in the photo included below is in keeping with the conservation plan that you helped Bob create? If so, could you describe what we are seeing?

 

Thanks…..MK

 

Mary Kay Sigaty

Howard County Council Member

District 4

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From: James Nickel
Date: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 7:44 PM
To: CouncilMail CouncilMail@howardcountymd.gov
Cc: Allan Kittleman akittleman@howardcountymd.gov, Val Lazdins vlazdins@howardcountymd.gov
Subject: CB60-2017 and Dayton property

 

Council Members,

 

Please see the attached aerial photo, i.e., JBRK property Dayton.jpg.

You can see at the edges of the fresh dirt what appears to be an application of Geotextile Fabric. Frequently used for roadway or driveway stabilization or leachate containment. On top of that is a white material, possibly crushed stone. That is hardly conducive to farming. Is that allowed on Howard County Preservation property? It even looks as if some crop was destroyed to accomplish this effort.

See also the attached photo, i.e., Prior to Fill.jpeg. That same section of property has been used for crop production. It may be this section of property is being prepared for some commercial operation not currently allowed under Howard County regulations.

 

Is this what Mr. Kittleman has intended with CB60-2017?

 

Best Regards,

Jim Nickel

Dayton, MD

Dayton Resident, Dave Banwarth, responds to Councilmember Sigaty:

Sent:   Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 3:19 PM 

From:   David M Banwarth   

To:   Sigaty, Mary Kay     mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov

Subject:   Re: FW: CB60-2017 and Dayton property


Ms. Sigaty,


In your comments to Mr. Nickel that you shared, you referred to whether to "believe" your assurances regarding CB60.  And, while I do appreciate the additional information you provided, I respectfully find it very hard to rely on your assurances in the face of the photos of what is actually happening. 


Lets review the facts and photos:


1.  Erich Bonner and Oak Ridge Farm, 2700 Woodbine Road, Woodbine

Oak Ridge Farm continues to operate, despite being in violation of CB20, as shown in the photo and assurances of enforcement under the proposed legislation. Further, Oak Ridge Farm appears to only need 1-2 acres of the 4.2 acre total site in order to operate this high volume industrial mulching operation.  Do you see any balled specimen trees for sale on this "tree farm"?  No. Instead, you see heavily compacted earth, supposedly "farming" we are told, of which tree farm mulch manufacturing would be an accessory use?  Unbelievable, but yet this continues every day (under Mr. Kittleman's administration) while you both say regulations will be enforced and size limits will prevent industrial mulch sites in residential areas.  Yet, we see that regulations are not enforced and that even a 1-2 acre site operates as an Industrial Mulch Manufacturing site.  Should I believe your assurances regarding enforcement, or should I believe the current photo of what is actually happening?  Should I believe that 1 or 2 acres cannot support an Industrial Mulch site (with all the associated hazards and nuisances and truck traffic)?  Or, should I believe what is actually happening?

2. JBRK Property, Dayton

Mr. Orndorff filed a pre-submission plan to construct an industrial mulch manufacturing plant on his farm 3 years ago.  We adjoining residents received official notifications of that filing.  To date, we residents have not received any official notification that the submission has been rescinded or cancelled.  That submission plan designated a location for primary development of the industrial mulch manufacturing operation (red square rectangular area in this photo).

It appears to be the same location as where this new base pad is recently constructed, seemingly of heavily compacted aggregate.  Is this coincidental?  Which are we to believe?  Your assurances, or the actual photos and official documents?

Mr Plummer states "The goal of the (water and sediment control basin) is to ... create a level area that can be productively farmed...". 


Now, you present Mr Plummer's statement that the newly created "level area" of compacted aggregate materials is going to be productively farmed"?  Again, I will believe the photo instead.  It's obviously no longer "green and growing" or tillable/farm-able, as it previously was despite assurances otherwise.

Unfortunately, this all doesn't look good for residents' health and safety because of your and Mr. Fox's and Mr. Kittleman's proposal, known as CB60.  You should withdraw this terrible proposed legislation until the State completes it's ongoing study of the health and safety effects of commercial mulch and compost manufacturing.  Commercial NWWR mulch manufacturing does not belong in residential proximity - it belongs in M1/M2 only.  And even there, with proper safeguards against air and water pollution.

NWWR mulch and grinding manufacturing on Ag Pres lands in particular is an abomination of the original program intent, payed for with taxpayer funds.  The Ag Pres Program's intentions were set out as follows:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0ahUKEwju8964hqPXAhVI72MKHYWDCo0QFgg4MAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcc.howardcountymd.gov%2FLinkClick.aspx%3Ffileticket%3DyyD5fww7APM%253D%26portalid%3D0&usg=AOvVaw37L3HbG_6E06Ygq_JSrMLX

"Farming."  "... shall not include the acceptance or disposal of land clearing debris or rubble that originates offsite..."  What could be clearer than that?

Please withdraw CB60 now to protect resident's health and safety.

David Banwarth

Dayton, MD

And to bring it all together, attorney Tom Bundy who is well-versed in this subject matter and how the Howard County Council will bring future litigation against the county if the approve Council Bill 60, also responds:

Sent:   Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 5:28 PM

From:    Thomas Bundy

To:    Sigaty, Mary Kay <mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov>, "Kittleman, Allan" <AKittleman@howardcountymd.gov>, CouncilMail <CouncilMail@howardcountymd.gov>, "Lazdins, Valdis" <vlazdins@howardcountymd.gov>, "Gowan, Amy" <agowan@howardcountymd.gov>, "Plummer, David" <dplummer@howardcountymd.gov>

Subject:   RE: FW: CB60-2017 and Dayton property


Councilwoman Sigtay,

 

Thank you for your longtime service to Howard County.  I have received many emails relating to industrial mulching on Ag Preserve against which so many of my fellow Howard County citizens advocate passionately. I read the email chain today after seeing your name pop up in my inbox.  I was interested to see an email response from our government leaders.  Thank you for sharing.

 

As a lawyer who has defended government entities in the past in litigation arising from contamination claims – claims that carcinogenic materials deposited in ground soil later resulted in clusters of severe illnesses and the deaths of innocent people (including children) because the government looked away in the name of business or dismissed it as “crazy” environmentalists zealots –  I can attest the issues advocated in support of preventing industrial mulching on Ag Preserve are not only real, but also involve incredibly dire consequences if ignored or not appropriately remediated.

 

Mr. Banwarth’s response to Mr. Plummer’s email seems very compelling, particularly given Mr. Plummer focuses his discussion more on the second photo of the gully and failed to address several critical points from Mr. Nickel’s initial email – principal of which seems to be that the appearance of crushed stone together with the Geotextile Fabric would negate any credible contention the land is being prep for farming.  It appears Mr. Nickel’s point is that the use of Geotextile Fabric combined with gravel or crushed stone is designed principally to create a surface on which vehicles and equipment can travel in high traffic areas (even if this process has a possible tangential benefit of erosion control).  This use seems more in lined with a mulching operation.  Moreover, noticeably absent from Mr. Plummer’s response to your request for assistance based on the fact that Mr. Plummer (or his team) helped create a conservation plan for Bob (presumably at the location being photographed) is a statement that Mr. Plummer’s plan design in fact included the Water and Sediment Control Basin and gullying system he alleges appears to be represented in the photographs.  I hope you share Mr. Plummer’s response to Mr. Banwarth’s email too.

 

Of course, you suggest, without naming, in your email that “many others” share Mr. Plummer’s view. But without specifics, against the backdrop of Mr. Banwarth’s email tying together the significant and compelling photographic evidence, your complaints that Mr. Nickel “doesn’t believe me” quite literally poses the age old adage:  Who are we going to believe you or our lying eyes?  This position seems untenable at best, particularly where you have health and welfare concerns on one side and profits on the other.

 

I would like to remind you of wise words from a dedicated Howard County public servant who said (in advance of seeking re-election): “I think that as I look at the work that we do, we don’t always agree, but we’re not afraid to tell each other what we think, to challenge each other’s ideas, and then to work really hard to come up with the best solutions that we can, hoping that we are in fact moving Howard County forward in ways that benefit each and every person here.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-sigaty-council-announcement-story.html

 

Is CB60 truly the best solution that we can hope to move Howard County forward in ways that benefits each and every person here?  

 

Thank you for your consideration and service.  Enjoy your weekend.

 

Respectfully,

 

Thomas Bundy / Partner / 240-786-4998

Sent:   Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 3:27 PM

From:  Fernandes, Gregg

To:  "Sigaty, Mary Kay" <mksigaty@howardcountymd.gov>, "Kittleman, Allan" <AKittleman@howardcountymd.gov>, CouncilMail <CouncilMail@howardcountymd.gov>, "Lazdins, Valdis" <vlazdins@howardcountymd.gov>, "Gowan, Amy" <agowan@howardcountymd.gov>, "Plummer, David" <dplummer@howardcountymd.gov>

Subject:     RE: FW: CB60-2017 and Dayton property


Ms. Sigaty and the rest of the council, I would like to second Mr. Banwarth’s final statement.  Please withdraw CB60 now to protect resident's health and safety.  Mr. Kittleman made express assurances that he would prevent these types of operations in residential neighborhoods in HoCo.  Anyone who has experienced the traffic generated by Mr. Orndorff’s efforts in Dayton can attest to what a commercial operation will look like.  I bike on these roads, my children’s school buses drive these roads, they were not meant for commercial trucks.

 

Gregg Fernandes, Dayton MD