This 27-acre woodland site, the Pulte Home Company’s proposed 302 homes east of 95 and south of Route 198, was not zoned for high-density housing, and its construction is not supported by existing infrastructure. The project would over-crowd existing community amenities — schools, libraries, recreation and religious facilities — and would disrupt neighboring communities with increased traffic, particularly during rush hours. Insufficiently sized egress roads and water and sewer mains would likely have to be widened. Also, increased vehicle traffic would pose a threat to foot traffic in the region, adversely affecting children, those who are mobility challenged and the elderly. Further, high selling prices would make proposed units too costly to help with the housing crisis affecting Ward 2.

Environmentally, the site’s large, impervious construction footprint would result in two major undesirable  features: increased storm–water runoff, often with flooding, and a corresponding decrease in the volume of rainfall available to seep through down through the soil to become groundwater and replenish our streams year–round. Forests are champions at this environmental function; forests 100 or more years old are world champions.

Another, highly desirable ecological function of forests is their superiority at converting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into atmospheric oxygen through photosynthesis, with the carbon then being used for plant growth, which permanently sequesters it out of the atmosphere. This is of major importance in combating human–generated climate change.

Both benefits would cease if the construction were to occur, so cutting down this 27–acre established woodland tract would be a considerable ecological loss. Maintaining the woodland would benefit both current and future inhabitants of Laurel. Therefore, I urge the city to cancel plans for this proposed development and recommend that the city solidify this action by converting the property into public parkland.

Munro Meyersburg