TRAPPE — Don English, an active member of the Trappe community since 1965, is running for election to the Trappe Town Council. He’s previously served on the council numerous times.
English joins a competitive race for the May 11 election. Four candidates are vying for three open seats.
Brian Schmidt, a town planning commission member, has filed as a write-in candidate for the first time. Town Council President Nick Newnam has filed for re-election, as has Commissioner Walter Chase. Norm Fegel has reached his term limit and will not be running.
For the last couple of years, Trappe has been wrapped up in a renewed debate over the 18-year-old Lakeside at Trappe development. Rauch Engineer’s project would bring 2,501 housing-units to the small town of about 1,000 people.
With wastewater discharge a concern, environmental organizations ShoreRivers and Chesapeake Bay Foundation have filed a judicial review in court, seeking to overturn a discharge permit awarded by the state to Rauch Engineering for the development. A number of affidavits have been filed by Trappe residents concerned with the local waterways, the environment and their personal health.
English said he is running as a dedicated member of the community and as a candidate with experience during turbulent times.
“I still have some worthwhile things I can do with the town,” he said in an interview. “Experience is a big thing, and I have been attending planning and council meetings since I got out of office.”
English said the current town council has done a “great job” with the Lakeside at Trappe development, but he would like to get on board and help guide the town the rest of the way. English was was on the town council when plans were first approved for the development back in the early ‘2000s.
“I would like to see Lakeside development materialized,” he said. “It’s taken a long time and has not gotten off the ground yet. I think it’s a good addition to the town. The town needs to grow some.”
Addressing wastewater concerns, including some residents who live near local creeks or close to the spray fields, where 540,000 gallons of treated sewage will be sprayed on crop fields, English said “I put my faith in MDE.”
“MDE issued a permit and the wastewater plants are required to meet those” standards, he said, saying MDE has the “knowledge to issue a permit that ensures the safety of all of those concerned. They are going to guarantee safety with inspections and so forth.”
The town of Trappe has also run into a conundrum with its $3 million debt, mostly because of upgrades to the town’s current wastewater treatment plant. The town has raised water and sewer rates to pay it off, and English said he would keep working to chip away at it.
“It’s just one of those things you have to keep working at to pay it off,” he said.”The development will help pay it off. If you don’t have growth, you don’t have more income.”
English is a Mid-Shore native who was born in Denton. He joined the Marine Corps in 1960, and served until ‘64. He moved to Trappe in 1966, the same year he joined as a volunteer firefighter. He has since served on the board and as treasurer at Trappe Volunteer Fire Company.
English was appointed as a zoning administrator for the town and also volunteered at the planning commission.
In 2000, he decided to run for the town council. He served his first term for eight years, and because of two-consecutive term limits, he did not run again until 2012. He last ran for a council seat in 2017 but lost the election.
English has been in the community for years, and serving the town has been a mainstay in his life.
“I like the town and am concerned about what is going on,” he said, “so anyway I can help the town to make it a better place, I do.”