Scott Smolen Blog

April 26, 2022

3 Easy DIY Home Maintenance Ideas for Spring

Home maintenance may not be the most exciting thing to do, but it’s still important! In fact, many people don’t think about home maintenance until something goes wrong. That’s why we’ve compiled these three easy DIY home maintenance ideas that will help you keep your home running smoothly all season long, so you can get back to enjoying what matters most—your family and friends!

1)  Change your HVAC filters

HVAC filters can be a forgotten part of your home. If you neglect them, you might notice a drop in your heating and cooling efficiency. Changing your HVAC filters on a regular basis is essential to keeping air quality high and maintaining efficient operations in your system. Check with your HVAC provider to find out when they suggest changing yours! An easy way to remember when it’s time to change your filter is to write it down in a calendar or set an alert on your phone. It’s easier than ever these days!

2)  Fill in cracks around your windows & doors

It’s really easy to fill in air gaps around windows and doors. Fill them with caulk or foam weather stripping and you’ll find your energy bills start to come down as a result. What’s more, if you’re not already an energy-efficient homeowner, caulking your doors and windows will help make your home more comfortable (and attractive!) by sealing out drafts that can chill your rooms and make you feel cold even in springtime warmth.

3)  Clean out your gutters

It’s important to not only clean your gutters, but also check their condition. Look at your gutters and downspouts to see if they’re clogged with debris such as twigs or leaves that can lead to water backup. If you see any signs of damage, it might be time to replace them. A few contractors who are experienced in roofing services are still offering free inspections during April and May—to get on their schedule, call now! 

Posted in Home Improvements
March 27, 2022

Is this the Right Time to Buy?

This is a question that we are getting more and more frequently.  We have all seen the increased values in homes over the last 2 years.  In the Maryland suburbs we have seen the average sales price increase from $444,836 in Quarter one of 2019 to $532,034 in Quarter four of 2021.  That is an increase of nearly 20%. 👇🏼


The answer to this question is not the same for everyone.  The first thing that you have to ask yourself is how long you plan on owning the home you are thinking about purchasing.  Life can always throw a curveball at any of us, but if you are planning to own your next home (not necessarily living in it) for at least 3 years or more, then it probably is a good time to pull the trigger and purchase.  Although mortgage interest rates have started to move up, they are still at historically low levels.  This is a great time to grab a FIXED rate mortgage and take advantage of the cheap money that is still available.  This fixed mortgage will keep your payment the same (with the exception of any changes in taxes or insurance) and give you peace of mind.  

If you believe that you will not be owning your next home for at least the next 3 years, then it probably would make sense to wait and rent for the time being.  The property values likely will dip a bit over the short term and you do not want to get having to sell before they rebound.  With the inflation that we are seeing in the market, you should be prepared to see your rent increase over the next couple of years.  If you are able to lock in a 2-3 year lease, then it likely will prove to be advantageous.  

We all saw property values fall in 2008 when the real estate bubble popped.  There are several different factors surrounding the current rise in property values that should stop that from happening again.  The main difference is the amount of cash that Buyers have been using as their down payments when they have been purchasing their homes.  Prior to 2008, there were more exotic loans where many Buyers were using little to cash for their down payments.  This helped to create the mess we went through back in 2008.  This is not the case today.  We are more likely to see a more normal correction.  

Over the long run, real estate has consistently proven to be a solid investment.  In spite of the market dropping dramatically in 2008, it did rebound.  The chart below shows the average sales price for the Maryland suburbs over the last 10 years.  As you can see, the average price in Quarter one of 2011 was $296,768.  The average price in Quarter four of 2021 is now $532,034.  That is an increase of approximately 79% in ten years.  This data supports the fact that buying real estate as a long term investment tends to be a very solid investment over time. 👇🏼



Every individual circumstance has varying factors.  If you would like to discuss the possibility of buying or selling your home, please feel free to reach out to us anytime for a free, no obligation consultation.  We would be happy to do anything we can to help you with your decision process. 

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 10, 2020

Your Two-Step Guide to Selling and Showing a Home During the Coronavirus

Are you planning on listing your home during the COVID-19 pandemic? This two-step guide will help you to get your home ready to sell while keeping it clean and disinfected between showings with potential buyers. Whether you hire a professional maid service to assist you in disinfecting your house or you conduct virtual real estate showings to reduce the number of in-person visits to your home, the following resources will help you to sell your home as safely as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.


1. Get Ready to List Your Home

When it comes to preparing your home for sale, there’s a lot more you need to do than simply clean up. It’s crucial that you practice due diligence and declutter, clean from top to bottom, depersonalize and have a plan for keeping your home spotless. 


Should You Sell Your Home During COVID-19? 6 Factors to Consider

Do These 11 Things Before Putting Your Home on the Market

5 Decluttering Tips to Use Before Selling Your Home

Spring Cleaning During COVID-19: What's Safe to Donate or Resell

Work with Expert Real Estate Agent Scott Smolen

2. Keep Your Home Free of the Coronavirus

Safety is the name of the game right now, and this means limiting in-person showings, offering virtual viewings, and maintaining a solid cleaning routine at all times.


Best Practices When Selling or Buying Homes During COVID-19

How to Make a Virtual Tour of Your Home

An Experienced Videographer Can Provide a Top-Notch Video of Your Home

How to Clean Common Surfaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Top Reviewed Disinfectant Sprays of 2020

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Doormats During COVID-19

COVID-19 Safety Products You Can Make at Home


If you’re selling your house during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll need to take a few extra safety precautions to eliminate harmful germs from your home — as this will help to keep you, your family, and any prospective buyers safe from the coronavirus. With these helpful resources and a great real estate agent to assist you, however, you’ll sell your house in no time while also keeping you and your home safe throughout the entire process. 


- Curtis Fisher



Posted in Selling Your Home
Dec. 1, 2020

What You Should Know About Buying During Covid-19

What You Should Know About
Buying a Home During COVID-19


In most places, real estate and moving services are considered “essential.” That’s great news if you’re in the market for a new house. Although these services are essential, it doesn’t mean the pandemic hasn’t affected them. In fact, buying a house in the age of coronavirus is a new experience. Here’s what you should expect before, during, and after closing a real estate deal.

Buying a Home Remotely — Is it Possible?

Before the pandemic, buying a home remotely was sometimes the only option for families moving across the country! These days, the process of buying your dream house might look pretty similar to planning a cross-country move, even if you’re staying in the same town.


     A skilled and experienced realtor like Scott Smolen can walk you through every step of the home-purchasing process.

     Learn the ins and outs of shopping for a mortgage.

     More than ever, it’s crucial to narrow down your needs and wants in a new home, so you can weed out the homes that don’t fit your list.

     These days, listings may include 3D walkthroughs, and agents may provide or video chat tours to show homes.

     FaceTime is one of the best tools for video chatting, but if you and your agent don’t both have iPhones, you’ll have to use alternatives like these.

     Many real estate agents also have the ability to live stream open houses.


Moving During a Pandemic

 After falling in love with a house and closing the deal, you’ve probably seen first-hand that the pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of buying a home. For most people, the pandemic has also changed the logistics of moving.


     Even under normal conditions, it’s recommended that you schedule a moving company at least eight weeks in advance.

     If you’re working with professional movers, you can keep everyone safe by providing hand-washing supplies (or hand sanitizer) and wearing a mask.

     If you’re especially concerned with social distancing, there are plenty of DIY ways to move.


Additional Resources


Many people hold off on buying homes during times of uncertainty, and the pandemic is no different. It’s not a bad call to buy a home now if your finances are stable and you have reliable income. However, there’s no telling how long the pandemic will affect the economy. These homeowner resources can help if you face tougher times in the future.


     Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief Options

     True or False: Refinancing During COVID-19

     List of Banks Offering Relief to Customers Affected by COVID-19


Buying a home during the pandemic is doable, but it will require you to be more flexible than usual. Video showings and virtual closings might take some getting used to, but the process of buying a house still requires the same basic steps regardless of what’s going on in the world.

Are you ready to find your dream home? Let expert Scott Smolen help you along the way. Call us today! 301-651-1261


- Katie Conroy

Posted in Buying a Home
March 24, 2020

Do You Want a Healthier Home? These 3 Projects Are the Place to Start

By: Curtis Fisher

Everyone wants their family to be as healthy as possible. To that end, you cook homemade meals, get active as a family, and promote healthy lifestyle choices. But have you thought about how your home is affecting your family’s health? We’re not just talking about whether your kids have a backyard to play in or the food that stocks your fridge. Your home itself also has a direct impact on your family’s well-being. Want to learn more? Here are three things that could be hurting your family’s health at home and what you can do to change them.

1. Poor Kitchen Ventilation

Foodies know that gas ranges are better, but if you’re cooking on a gas stove-top without proper ventilation, you could be releasing toxic fumes into your home. Gas appliances produce carbon monoxide that can be fatal at high levels. Cooks with electric stoves aren’t in the clear either. No matter what type of appliance you’re using, the very act of cooking releases fumes and particulate matter into the air.

Keep your air clean while cooking by installing a range hood vent. You can choose between ducted and ductless range hoods, but keep in mind that ductless range hoods only recirculate air, not vent it outdoors. Range hood installation runs $200-$500 plus the cost of your new range hood, but prices increase considerably if you need to install ductwork.

There are a lot of little things you can do to create a healthier home for your family, from opening the windows for a few minutes every day to choosing non-toxic cleaning products. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not getting so caught up in the details that you overlook the big things affecting your family’s health. From what covers your walls and floors to the gases and fumes that enter your home, make sure you’re paying attention to the ways your house helps — or harms — your health.

2. Your Flooring

Everyone has opinions on which type of flooring is best. However, if you’re choosing your flooring based on how it feels underfoot or how easy it is to clean, you may be paying attention to the wrong things.

The truth is, flooring has a big impact on indoor air quality, and some popular flooring options get less-than-stellar scores. Engineered flooring materials like vinyl are made with synthetic materials and adhesives that off-gas volatile organic compounds into your home. Carpet is guilty of this too, in addition to trapping dust mites, dander, pollen, mold, and other pollutants that taint the air you breathe.

When it comes to flooring, the best choices are natural materials like solid hardwood. While hardwood floors are more expensive than other options, their durability means you’ll enjoy your floors for years to come. Hardwood flooring plus installation averages $6-$22 per square foot depending on wood type, although you may pay more if you need sub-floor repairs.

3. Lead Paint

Older homes are filled with history and charm. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes also filled with lead paint. Lead paint was used in some homes built before 1978 and still appears in homes built after lead paint was banned from time to time. It’s possible to encapsulate lead paint that’s in good condition, but lead paint that’s chipping, flaking, or cracking requires abatement to stop it from becoming a health hazard. 

Photo by deborah cortelazzi on Unsplash


Posted in Home Improvements
March 9, 2020

3 of the Best Home Upgrades for Remodeling Your Way to Better Health


Your Way to Better Health

Spending time at home is one of the most enjoyable parts of home-ownership. Unfortunately, many household hazards can impact your family’s health. The good news is that there are upgrades that can not only increase your home’s value but also boost your overall wellness.

Remodeling Projects You Can Easily DIY

While some upgrade projects turn out best when executed by professionals, don’t discount DIY remodeling projects, either. Of course, from a ladder to quality paintbrushes to a decent set of screwdrivers, you will need a few robust tools to handle everything on your DIY list. Ladders, especially, need to be lightweight, adjustable, and easy to maneuver, which makes a telescoping ladder an ideal addition to your collection. Once you have the right equipment, making improvements like putting on a new coat of paint that’s free of VOCs and other toxins can boost your interior air quality at home. Swapping out light fixtures is another simple fix that can have you feeling brighter in no time. For more intensive projects, however, we recommend hiring a professional.

Replacing Carpet with Hardwood or Laminate

Carpet has become less popular as a whole-house flooring material in recent years. And that may be because carpet fibers can harbor many allergens and dust. The manufacturing process also means harsh chemical emissions when you install new carpeting. For many households, ripping out the carpet and replacing it with hardwood or laminate is a smart solution. However, going the DIY route means exposing you and your family to lots of dust, pollen, toxic odors, and other unhealthy elements. Instead, hire a professional to remove the carpet and install your new flooring. Look up tradespeople who offer carpet removal and flooring installation services in a complete package to save on the upgrade.

Installing a Whole-House Air Purifier

If your home’s HVAC system runs year-round, you may only be adding to the allergens and debris in the air. One solution is to install a whole-house air purifier with HEPA filtration. The EPA calls this “source control,” noting that reducing or eliminating sources of toxins is often more effective at improving indoor air quality than other methods. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 for a filtration unit, which you’ll need to have installed. Obtaining quotes from multiple professionals can help you get an idea of what’s average for your area. Be sure to ask about filtration levels, as HEPA is preferable, and ask to see the company’s licensing documents, too.

Stopping Drafts (and Removing Lead) with New Windows

Homeowners looking to make their homes more energy efficient may already be contemplating window replacement. But older homes — such as those built before 1978 — are more likely to have lead, which is another reason to replace windows. Plus, removing the draftiness and condensation (which contributes to the potential for mold growth) from your home is one way to improve your overall health.

Replacement windows can cost anywhere from $800 to $8,000 to install. Finding a reliable and experienced professional to handle your window installation is essential. And if your home is older or was built in a specific style, you’ll need an expert hand to maintain its value and appearance. Ask about the installer’s range of experience, as well as how they handle removing windows containing asbestos paint.

Ensuring your family’s wellness can be a challenge. But by making improvements to your home, you may experience fewer allergies, less dust, and even a brighter outlook. And with the help of trustworthy professionals, you don’t have to stress about the process or the result.


Curtis Fisher |

Photo via Rawpixel


Posted in Home Improvements
April 19, 2019

Top Landscaping Trends That Boost the Value of Your Property - By Peter Goldberg




Real estate agents emphasize the importance of the three Ls. No, we're not talking about location, rather landscaping, landscaping, landscaping! Making sure your landscaping and exterior portions of your home are in top condition is the best way to get a better price of your Maryland home. There are plenty of ways to upgrade your yard, but some will go further than others when attracting that perfect buyer. Those homeowners who pay attention to current trends will show their home is updated and modern.


Multiuse Areas

Creating an outdoor space is an important landscaping trend this year. Potential buyers want to see the yard can accommodate a quick game of catch as well as enough space to barbecue and sit out and enjoy the sunshine. Hardscaped areas pull double duty as a place to chat with friends and neighbors as well as enjoy dinner underneath the stars. Landscaping that is both beautiful to look at from afar, as well as approachable with integrated pathways, is also essential. Making your outdoor areas multifunctioning is a huge bonus when it comes to getting the best price for your home.


Keep It Private



While you don't need to shield your entire backyard from view, some portions should be more private than others. Consider planting quick-growing plants, such as American holly, that will create a natural boundary. Other options for privacy include building a pergola or installing a large sun shade that will keep homeowners cool as well as secluded.


Low Maintenance Technology

Homeowners want to spend more time outdoors, but they don't want to spend that time working outside. Installing smart technology items to keep the landscaping low-maintenance is an essential part of modernizing a home. Sprinkler systems, automatic timers, and drip irrigation can make a big statement during a home tour. Most A large majority of Maryland homeowners mow their lawns once every week or every other week, so that’s what you want if you want to keep up with how the Joneses are mowing.


Go Native

Another part of keeping your landscaping low-maintenance is to add more native plants. These plants thrive in Maryland's climate and help support the local environment. Area pollinators like honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are more apt to visit a garden full of native blooms. Plants such as cardinal flower and blue mist need less watering and attention than others and make the yard more attractive.


Light It Up



Chances are prospective buyers will return to see your home in the evening. Outdoor lighting will give your house a sense of ambiance and safety. It expands your outside living space, serves as a deterrent to burglars and enables you to use the patio well into the evening. Consider LED lights, which are much more energy efficient.


Adding a fire feature is a top trend that continues to stay strong. Fire pits are warm and inviting and can boost the property value. If you don’t want to mess with wood and ashes, many DIY tabletop fire installations can help create a soft glow without the mess and smoke.


Creating an outdoor space that is both beautiful and welcoming is an essential part of making sure your home is ready to go on the market. Keeping up with current trends will help modernize your home and draw in serious home buyers. Consider these top landscaping trends that boost the value of your property when selling your home this year.


Peter Goldberg is a gardening and landscaping writer and outdoors aficionado. He likes to fire up the grill to cook for family and friends, as well as using his organically grown garden produce to create mouth-watering meals.


Oct. 8, 2018

Crofton Area High School Boundaries

Do you know where the new

Crofton High School Boundaries Are?


This is a question that is posed to me on a frequent basis.  The answer is that nobody knows yet because they have not been established.  However you can be part of the redistricting / feeder patterns for the process. 

The committee consists of two representatives each from every potentially impacted school: Arundel and South River high schools; Arundel and Crofton middle schools; and Crofton, Crofton Meadows, Crofton Woods, Nantucket, and Piney Orchard elementary schools.  The fact that a school is represented on the committee does not necessarily mean that the school’s attendance area or feeder pattern will change.


Make sure YOUR voice is heard - these meetings are open to the public


Information Regarding

the School Redistricting Process


Anne Arundel County

Public Schools Redistricting Timeline



Posted in Community News
Sept. 6, 2018

Why Has Piney Orchard Become a Prime Location for Residence?

Piney Orchard is beautiful. This is not just because it is the largest planned community in the whole of Maryland, but because it seems to have something good to offer everyone. Here you will not see much vacant land for sale because there are various available housing types for people to stay. This community is safe and comfortable and it is soon having some of the most attractive properties in the real estate market. Although houses are a little pricey, staying there would make you realise it is worth every single dollar. Are you also wondering why Piney Orchard is fast becoming a prime location for residence? Take a close look at the following reasons.

1.      - Real Estate

Piney Orchard is the largest planned community in Maryland, having over 3900 housing units, of numerous sizes and specifications. It records over 8000 residents and more seem to be coming by the day. The real estate industry is booming, with offers for rentals, selling and buying of apartments and homes on the rise. This is a planned community; having land for sale is highly controlled. The community has a variety of houses to suit the needs of people. Ranging from small room apartments to large luxurious homes, serving different kind of deals. It has something for you, whether you are looking to be a tenant or an agent.

2.     - Terrain

Constellation Real estate Group handled a restoration project in the 40s and 50s replacing the initial wetlands by building five large ponds. The restoration project included planting numerous trees, and shrubs that are native to the area. This took place until the 90s when the project was recorded successful and Piney Orchard Nature Preserve was officially opened. The fact that this location was planned makes it a beauty to behold. In 2018, the community blossoms with beautiful green spaces all year and clean fresh air with a clear sky. This location serves as a haven for residents providing walking and bike trails for those who wish to promote fitness.

3.     - Proximity and access to major cities

One of the major reasons this community thrives so well is because it offers an easy access to big cities such as Washington DC, Baltimore and N.S.A’s Forte Meade.  This enables residents to stay there and work in the nearby cities. Easy access is provided through MARC train that moves to Washington DC and Baltimore. Piney Orchard is also close to BWI airport and several other employment centres. This makes the community ideal for residents and easily accessible for visitors to want to live in.

4.     - Amenities

Planning is an integral part of humanity because it brings an order and meaning to so much. Piney Orchard is planned to be a beautiful residential community, this is evident by the presence of beautiful amenities required for a community to flourish. Some of these amenities include schools, public transport systems, recreational centres, orchard community centre, Parks, shopping centres, clubhouse and lots more. This community is perfect for residency, especially for families looking for a suitable neighbourhood to raise children. The community is designed to have something for everyone- a place to play for children, lots of fun for teenagers and a place to work for adults.


In 2005, Constellation handed over day-to-day supervision of Piney Orchard to the association of residents known as Piney Orchard Community Association (POCA). They have the sole responsibility of maintaining security the aesthetic quality of the community and have never failed to meet up to expectations. They organise community social events and encourage communal living. Where would you rather live?


Nov. 29, 2017

Maglev Meeting Summary from October 2017

As many in this area are aware, there is a study underway for the feasibility of a Maglev high speed train system between Baltimore and Washington DC with 1 proposed stop at BWI airport.  Personally, I do not see the need for this type of system in general.  I have been watching this as it could dramatically impact home property values in Odenton, Bowie, Crofton and Gambrills area.

However if this train is considered, it seems to me that a stop at Fort Meade / NSA would make logistical sense.  Otherwise, this train basically does very little to help ease the stress on the roads from commuters.  That being said, the more and more I have looked at it, the less and less likely I believe it will actually become a reality in my lifetime regardless.  Below is the published notes from the October 2017 meeting if you have some additional interest in the proposals which are currently being floated around.

Transcript for Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Environmental Study
Project Process & Information Video
October 2017

Slide 1
Welcome and thank you for your interest in the proposed Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Project.
Though we’re early in the process, the team encourages YOU to get involved with the environmental study. Your feedback has a REAL potential to make this project better.

Slide 2
The project team has heard your expressed concerns loud and clear, and we are listening to you. Our staff is available to discuss the project and study process with you. There will be multiple opportunities to communicate with the Project Team, whether it’s through public meetings, submitting comment cards, speaking over the phone, emailing, or posting comments to the website. We encourage you to provide your comments, speak with our staff, and visit the project website to view updated project information and responses to frequently asked questions.

Slide 3
Right now, the federal project is a grant studying the feasibility of a superconducting magnetic levitation (or ESSEE maglev) train. Engineers and planners are currently finalizing technical specifications and weighing the benefits and impacts of a proposed high-speed train service between Baltimore and Washington, DC. S-CMAGLEV trains are now the fastest in the world, with cruising speeds more than 300 miles an hour.

Slide 4
Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail (or BWRR) is a private company that is proposing to construct the SCMAGLEV system between Baltimore and Washington DC. Their proposal would provide an approximate 15-minute service between the new Baltimore and Washington stations, and would run on a new, dedicated guideway – partially through tunnel and partially elevated – with no surface-level intersections with existing roadways or other railroads.

Slide 5
Congress authorized funding to *study* magnetic levitation projects in 2005’s ‘Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act’. The Federal Railroad Administration (or FRA) awarded $27.8 Million to the Maryland Department of Transportation (or MDOT) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (or EIS) for BWRR’s proposal.
Please note, though, that no one has yet set aside money for construction.

Slide 6
At this stage, it is too early to determine if or how the project will affect any landowners because a final alignment has not been determined.
A goal of the proposed project is to maximize the use of existing rights-of-way intended for transportation uses and to minimize impacts to local communities and environmental resources. FRA and MDOT will have additional details on these factors as the project progresses and with completion of the alternatives analysis. Some alternative alignments will be eliminated from further study, and those alignments that are retained are likely to continue to evolve to minimize impacts on communities and environmental resources. Property owners can get a better idea of potential right-of-way impacts by examining maps of the alternative alignments posted on the project website ( and at public meetings. It is important to note, however, that FRA will likely adjust and refine alignments based on public and stakeholder input during the study process.

Slide 7
Safety is of paramount importance. The safety and security for areas adjacent to the train facilities, as well as
on-board trains and at train facilities, will be evaluated as part of preliminary design and documented in the
EIS through coordination with relevant agencies, stakeholders, and technical experts. The Project Team will
research and document safety issues and best practices related to personal safety and security for passengers,
as well as address the safety and security of operating superconducting magnetic levitation trains under
various conditions and environmental factors, such as snow events and during times of poor conductor
visibility. The Project Team will also research and plan for potential threats such as terrorist attacks, fires,
explosions, and severe weather events.

Slide 8
The project includes three proposed stations: in Washington, DC, at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and in
Baltimore City. The system would require one maintenance facility, support facilities such as ventilation shafts
along the route, and new electric substations.

Slide 9
The project team is led by FRA. Working for FRA at the state level is MDOT. MDOT serves as the grantee and
oversees the work being performed by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation or MEDCO, and the
Maryland Transit Administration or MTA, a transportation business unit of MDOT.
MEDCO is coordinating the engineering and design efforts being developed by the Private Project Sponsor
BWRR. MDOT-MTA is overseeing the NEPA compliance and EIS process, which is being conducted by the
Environmental Consultant AECOM.

Slide 10
The Alternatives Report will be published in the winter/spring of 2018, followed by the Draft EIS and
corresponding public hearing in fall of 2018. Once comments on the Draft EIS have been addressed, the Final
EIS and Record of Decision will be published in the Winter of 2019. Comments from the public and agencies
are welcomed and encouraged throughout the process.

Slide 11
The study area for the evaluation of potential environmental effects extends 40 miles from downtown
Washington, DC, north to downtown Baltimore, and from the I-95 corridor east to central Anne Arundel and
Prince George’s Counties, a distance of about 10 miles. The Study Area was developed by the Study Team to
define the area where SCMAGLEV could be implemented and the surrounding areas that could be affected by
the construction and operation of the proposed system.

Slide 12
In addition to neighborhoods and communities, the study area contains a number of important natural and
cultural resources. Most of the land in the study area is privately owned, but large federal, state and
institutional properties are located throughout the corridor.

Slide 13
There are many Parks located throughout the study area, some are large Federal and State lands, while others
are smaller community parks. The study team recognizes the importance and sensitivity of these parks and will
work to avoid, minimize and mitigate potential impacts as part of the study process.

Slide 14
Many key environmental considerations will be studied as part of this project such as environmental justice,
noise and vibration effects, electromagnetic fields, safety, and construction.

Slide 15
FRA and MDOT are coordinating with more than two dozen resource agencies to evaluate potential impacts to
natural resources and ensure ecosystems within the study area continue to thrive.
For each alternative alignment retained for detailed study, the team identifies these resources and evaluates
the nature and extent of the potential impacts.
Where possible, alignments are shifted to avoid or minimize impacts.

Slide 16
The proposed project is being studied with federal funds. Therefore, its potential environmental effects must
be evaluated and compared to a No-Build option, and comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (or
NEPA) review process.

Slide 17
On large projects like SCMAGLEV, NEPA studies are a multi-year process involving many steps, many agencies
at all levels of government, and many opportunities for public input. The goal of NEPA is to identify the
potential negative effects of the project, study alternatives that do the least possible harm, consider a ‘nobuild’
option when the adverse impacts could possibly outweigh project benefits, and throughout the process,
provide the public with the opportunity to provide input.
The results of this NEPA study will be published in an Environmental Impact Statement (or EIS) and available
for public review and comment. Federal, state, and local regulatory agencies will review the EIS and associated
public comments as part of the decision-making process.
Correspondence and feedback from citizens, residents, and other project stakeholders is encouraged
throughout the NEPA process and can be done a variety of ways. Perhaps the simplest way is through our
project website and email address. Please visit or email us at

Slide 18
NEPA is also an umbrella law that encourages integrated compliance with other environmental laws. Because
this project is funded by the Federal Government, it must comply with the NEPA process and all corresponding
environmental laws and approvals.

Slide 19
The NEPA process consists of five steps, requiring significant coordination between the project team, public
stakeholders, elected officials, and governmental regulatory agencies.

Slide 20
Step 1 consists of initiating the NEPA process by publishing a Notice of Intent, submitting a draft Purpose and
Need, holding agency and public scoping meetings, developing initial preliminary project alternatives, and
accepting comments from the public during a 30-day comment period. For this project, the Notice of Intent
was published on November 25, 2016.

Slide 21
Step 2 consists of collecting data on existing conditions and screening potential alternatives. The alternatives
that do not meet the project purpose, sufficiently address needs, or contain fatal flaws or disproportionately
high impacts or costs are screened out and dropped.

Slide 22
In Step 3, the project team analyzes the remaining alternatives, and publishes an Alternatives Report.

Slide 23
In Step 4, the team determines a preliminary preferred alternative based on the analysis, publishes a Draft EIS,
holds public hearings, and accepts comments from the public for 45 days.

Slide 24
In Step 5, the team publishes the Final EIS, accepts comments from the public for 30 days, reviews the
comments, and publishes a Record of Decision.
The project team welcomes and encourages public and regulatory input throughout the entire NEPA process
and will review all comments received from citizens, residents, and other project stakeholders, and incorporate
the suggestions that will contribute to a successful outcome.

Slide 25
Thank you for participating in the SC Maglev project. For the most up to date information or to provide
comments and questions, please visit our website at You can also email the project team

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