Board of County Commissioners Actions: Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Commissioners' Vice-President William J. Wivell presided over this meeting.
Georgene Charles, Founder and General Chairman of the Battlefield Illumination event, along with Charles Brown of Rest Haven Cemetery, Antietam Battlefield Superintendent John Howard and Judi Quelland of Valley Studio brought an update on plans for this year's event to the Board. This is the 18th annual Illumination, which places 23,110 luminaries on the battlefield, one for each soldier killed in that battle. Calendars featuring Quelland's photography were presented to the Commissioners. Charles said that community volunteers and sponsorship make the event successful and thanked the County for its annual support in terms of traffic control measures. Tom Riford of the Convention and Visitors bureau said the event is the largest illumination in the country, and presented the group with a check for $1,500 in additional funding to assist this year's event. Howard said that the event is funded in part by donations from visitors to the Battlefield.
Agricultural Land Conservation Planner Eric Seifarth and Peter Vorac of Mid-Maryland Land Trust brought the Stanley and Sally Jo Bowser Donated Conservation Easement before the Board. The Bowser's donated an easement consisting of 118.25 acres on McFarland Road near the County's Western border. The Washington County Commissioners support land preservation and entered into an agreement with the Mid-Maryland Land Trust to work cooperatively to acquire donated easements, to work cooperatively to bring in additional grants and foundation funding sources to support the Land Preservation Program in acquiring purchased easements, and to work cooperatively in landowner outreach and county-wide community outreach meetings. Mid-Maryland Land Trust, Maryland Environmental Trust and Citizens for Protection of Washington County have assisted in the preservation effort, culminating in the first Donated Easement, by the Bowsers. Vorac told the Board that the family gave up 8 development rights to make the donation.
Each week the Board of County Commissioners sets aside time to hear from citizens of Washington County on matters of importance to the community.
Nick Williams of the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) commented on the donated easement and MET's relationship with the state Department of Natural Resources in assisting preservation in Washington County. Williams said that IRS regulations are allowing for greater tax breaks for donated easements.