Port Towns victory shows progressive activism works

pg_cab.jpgGrassroots action works. It takes perseverance and patience, but it works.

 Activists and allies in the Port Towns surrounding historic Bladensburg, on the Anacostia in Prince George’s County, have fought for almost two years against a proposed “concrete batching plant” endangering residential areas and community health. They won. See how they did it here.



 

Grassroots action works. It takes perseverance and patience, but it works.

 Activists and allies in the Port Towns surrounding historic Bladensburg, on the Anacostia in Prince George’s County, have fought for almost two years against a proposed “concrete batching plant” in the community’s old core, where residential and commercial – and industrial – uses have been grandfathered in for generations. Not this time.

This past Monday’s win – from a Prince George’s County Council that (bad idea) convenes as a District Council with a history of rubber-stamping the pro-developer rulings of the county’s Planning Board – shows that elected officials can’t feel safely insulatedrockwell_town_meeting_that_ain't_right.jpg from democratic activism once they have taken the machine route into office.

It takes patience. But grassroots action works. Here is the news release from the Port Towns Environmental Action organization that with allies from neighboring communities (such as Progressive Cheverly) showed that democratic activism can win.


PORT TOWNS ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION

United for a Safe, Healthy, and Fair Community

PRESS RELEASE

 

Prince George’s County District Council Denies Application to Build Concrete Batching Plant in Downtown Bladensburg

 

Upper Marlboro, MD, March 25, 2019 --- Today the Prince George’s County Council sitting as the District Council voted (10-0) to deny the Ernest Maier Inc. special exception application SE-4792 to construct a concrete batching plant on the site of its currently operating concrete block plant in downtown Bladensburg.  

 The District Council’s decision to deny the special exception application comes after more than two years of community opposition to the proposed plant. A large number of elected officials, residents, business and nonprofit leaders have spoken out against the plant in community forums, online, in 24 hours of testimony before the Prince George’s Zoning Hearing Examiner (ZHE) and during two appeal hearings before the District Council taking exception to the ZHE’s decision to approve the application. 

 The decision came following the February 11, 2019 oral argument hearing before the District Council on the appeal filed by Port Towns Environmental Action (PTEA) attorney, David C. Blitzer, Esq. and attended by community leaders of the Port Towns and surrounding communities.  PTEA filed its second appeal on September 21, 2018 in response to the Zoning Hearing Examiner’s (Joyce Nichols) decision to approve the Ernest Maier, Inc. (EMCO) application for a Special Exception (SE-4792).  The PTEA and the opposition laid out a clear and compelling rationale that demonstrates the multitude of problems with the application for the approval of the plant by the ZHE.  

EM_block_plant.jpgPaul Howe, spokesperson for PTEA, noted that, “The oral arguments presented by David Blitzer clearly presented the provisions in the code that are intended to prevent developers from skirting requirements to protect surrounding properties.” 

“The District Council’s decision took into account the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the Port Towns community,” said Howe. “Our community and surrounding towns already bear a disproportionate share of industrial pollutants and further contamination from another plant would have added to the degradation of both human and environmental health.”

 A report by the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health, “Environmental Justice Plan 2025”, identified Bladensburg as an area that bears an already disproportionate amount of environmental burdens. The area already has four concrete/asphalt plants within close proximity.

Above: the existing block plant that would be expanded in the proposal


Port Towns Environmental Action (PTEA) is a coalition fostering environmental and social justice in the Port Towns communities of Prince George’s County while promoting local sustainable practices that create equitable, healthy, and safe communities.  www.JoinPTEA.org  Facebook: @JoinPTEA, JoinPTEA@gmail.com, PTEA, P.O. Box 713, Bladensburg, MD 20710.