What is it that is said… oh yes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” And so it is with the boosters that ascribe global relief from traffic woes to the construction of a Potomac bridge and highway through Montgomery‘s Ag Reserve. More pavement, sprawled from population centers is truly geared to open corridors of farmland and open space to development. Studies have concluded, time and again, that this proposed boondoggle does nothing to relieve metropolitan Washington gridlock and yet its boosters continue to trumpet it as a priority.
Take note: MCA and partners will hold fast the line against this boondoogle. And our reasons are sound and compelling.
Maryland loses an average of 20,000 acres of farmland annually... 20,000 acres! In Montgomery County, planners and representatives saw this disaster coming and did something proactively in 1980 with the establishment of the Functional Master Plan for the Preservation of Agriculture and Open Space - downzoning and protecting roughly a third of the County, roughly 100,000 acres.
Why? It's really quite simple:
Managed growth vs conventional development (sprawl) = Savings in cost in both human and natural resources.
Taxes and other revenues from residential development do not cover all the public services residents demand. The county needs a balance of land uses, including farms and open space, to reduce overall infrastructure costs and provide sufficient revenue to pay for these services. Otherwise, as more residential development occurs in existing subdivisions, services will be stretched thinner or cut—or property taxes will have to be raised. Put simply, agricultural land and open space pay more in local tax revenues than they receive back in services.
The Reserve provides for local food and fiber production, employing over 10,000 residents, contributing over 300 million dollars to the local economy.
Protected open space and well-managed farms provide for clean air shed and high quality water resources.
No shortage of past updates on this issue Click here to read through those.