The Village of Bellevue is one of twenty-two unincorporated villages within Talbot County (Map 1). Bellevue, a historically African American community, grew initially around employment provided by the W.H. Valliant Packing Co., which operated a large seafood and vegetable cannery and packing house in Bellevue from 1899 to 1946. Subsequently, the W.A. Turner and Sons Packing Co. and the Bellevue Seafood Co. operated in Bellevue from 1945 to 1996 and 1964 to 1998, respectively. These two seafood processing facilities were owned and operated by the Turner family and represented the only two African American owned seafood packing houses on the Eastern Shore. As late as the 1970’s, W.A. Turner and Sons Packing Company and the Bellevue Seafood Company employed up to 70 crab pickers and oyster/clam shuckers.


Today, Bellevue is comprised of approximately 70 residential dwellings, a Methodist Church, and a public landing. The County owned and maintained public landing is the second-largest in Talbot County and also accommodates the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry.

In 2016, Talbot County received a Maryland Working Waterfront Enhancement Grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support the protection and revitalization of working waterfront communities and the retention of maritime-related businesses. The program also recognizes that historic waterfront uses may need to expand to recognize the new or changing demographic, market and environmental shifts affecting historic communities. To this end, the program provides local planning assistance to support traditional maritime uses and the protection of property for public access and maritime-related services. The program also supports the exploration of opportunities for maritime heritage tourism, recreation, natural resources conservation and hazard mitigation within the traditional culture of the historic community


Although Bellevue is no longer a center of maritime commerce, the village’s significant African American maritime heritage is still evident and an important historical context that should continue to shape its future. Bellevue hosted two African American owned seafood operations (Bellevue Seafood and W.A. Turner and Sons), a rarity on the Eastern Shore. Family members, employees and their descendants are still active in the community and the Bellevue United Methodist Church continues to be the keeper of much of the community’s African American history and heritage.

Early Settlement

The modern day community of Bellevue evolved from its early history as a landing for the OxfordBellevue Ferry in 1683. Since then, Bellevue has hosted water dependent business including: a wharf for the Choptank Steamboat Company; the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic Railroad Company (from at least 1906 until at least 1921); W. H. Valliant Seafood and Packing (established in 1895); W.A. Turner and Sons (established in1945); .and Bellevue Seafood (established 1964). Today, Bellevue still serves as a landing for the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, but is now a predominantly residential community with a community park and boat landing operated by Talbot County.


This plan is based upon direct community involvement through the efforts of a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), two public meetings, a community survey, and additional small group and individual meetings.

The CAC represented a broad range of interests in Bellevue and was appointed by the County Council to identify issues and opportunities and to help vet and refine the plan’s recommendations.

Community Meetings

Two public meetings were conducted. The first community meeting in August of 2016 served as a brainstorming session to review the range of community issues to be addressed by the plan and to brainstorm ideas about how best to address those issues. The second community meeting was to further review the resulting draft goals and strategies for incorporation into the draft plan.

Community Survey

Throughout July and August of 2016, the Department of Planning and Zoning conducted a survey of residents in the Village of Bellevue regarding their most pressing concerns and recommendations for improvements in the village. Thirty-six residents participated in the community survey. The results and recommendations are documented in Appendix 1 and are incorporated directly into the recommendations for the plan.

Additional Stakeholder Outreach

Throughout the planning process, County staff and consultants reached out to meet with and discuss specific issues and concerns, including meetings on the following topics:


As part of the CAC meetings, public meetings, and through a community survey, Bellevue residents were asked to express opinions about the desired character of the community and about values that were important to them, such as what they enjoyed about living in Bellevue, what would make Bellevue a better community, and potential threats to the quality of life in Bellevue. Based on the responses to these efforts, the following statements reflect the desired vision and key goals for Bellevue, which form the basis for the development of the Bellevue Village Master Plan.


As part of the CAC meetings, public meetings, and through a community survey, Bellevue residents were asked to express opinions about the desired character of the community and about values that were important to them, such as what they enjoyed about living in Bellevue, what would make Bellevue a better community, and potential threats to the quality of life in Bellevue. Based on the responses to these efforts, the following statements reflect the desired vision and key goals for Bellevue, which form the basis for the development of the Bellevue Village Master Plan.

Sketch of former Valliant Packing Plant
(courtesy of St. Luke UMC)

Shared values

Bellevue’s residents share a strong sense of community, roots, and place, and regard it as a peaceful, beautiful, and historic village. They value visual and physical access to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, quiet days and nights, safety, and walkability. New people, homes and businesses will soon add to Bellevue’s numbers and strength as a community. As a ferry landing and gateway to the Bay Hundred, residents want to put Bellevue’s best foot forward and continue to be a welcoming place, but they also ask for respect from visitors and those who are passing through.

Taking action

Maintaining these values requires continuous planning, the cultivation of personal connections within Bellevue, with property owners and county leaders, and information-sharing and dialogue. Building Bellevue as a community also requires periodic events and gatherings that offer fun and reflection on Bellevue’s shared heritage and village life. By undertaking these activities, Bellevue’s residents will continue to build their ability to work together to maintain and enhance Bellevue’s quality of life.

Hopes for change

Bellevue’s roads and waterfront park especially require more thought and care, as do the redevelopment of buildable lots and preservation of existing homes in the original village. Residents would like to see modest commercial development that offers local employment and services. They value the spaces that allow gatherings and performances indoors and out, especially St. Luke United Methodist Church, and would support improvements in such spaces. Bellevue is a community that is naturally supportive of all phases of community life from young families to retirees — but only so far as residents, local organizations, and county government can help one another to enjoy the benefits of both access to K-12 education and aging in place. Bellevue’s residents want development that protects the Chesapeake Bay to the maximum extent possible, while allowing the village to flourish.

How this plan will help Bellevue

This plan offers thoughts on how to achieve improvements that support Bellevue’s values and hopes for the future. Implementation of the master plan will rely on a continued dialogue and partnership between the County and Bellevue’s residents. The residents and Talbot County’s leaders, aided by the Talbot County Department of Planning and Zoning, will need to monitor, adapt, communicate, and celebrate the fruits of this planning, now and in the years to come.


With the overriding vision of keeping Bellevue as a peaceful, beautiful, and historic village, the following five goals are intended to address the community issues while providing for modest economic development and achieving the community vision:

Land Use and Community Character

Preserve the character defining features of Bellevue’s original village fabric.

Working Waterfront

Preserve and improve the existing working waterfront assets for complementary and appropriately-scaled water-dependent businesses and commercial access while being sensitive to the concerns of adjoining neighbors.

Recreation and Public Access

Increase access to Bellevue Landing for nearby residents while reducing the ongoing community impacts from traffic, noise, litter, and overflow parking


Improve safety and neighborhood quality by balancing the transportation needs of all users while maintaining character-defining features of the community.


Develop a community-based organizational structure to help facilitate the collaborative development of community-based projects and maintenance responsibilities.

The following strategies are organized according to the five goals. Each strategy includes a discussion of its rationale and a set of recommended actions needed to implement that strategy. Potential funding sources identified in the implementation notes have been added to reflect current programs that are either open, or have a high probability of continuing into the following fiscal year.


The plan includes recommendations to address the following issues as identified by the CAC and at the initial August 2016 community meeting:

Shoreline between Bellevue Landing
and Bellevue Gardens

Vacant Lots adjacent to former
Bellevue Seafood

Bellevue Gardens

Preserving Working Waterfront Assets Along Tar Creek and at Bellevue Landing

barge access is under consideration along with dredging on Tar Creek to maintain access to the Former Turner & Sons property, which is the only commercial land with waterfront access on Tar Creek.

Bellevue Gardens

redevelopment of the recorded subdivision (1955) has raised concerns about potential community impacts associated with views to the Tred Avon river, generation of traffic on local streets, and the impact of new home construction on the character of the community

Water Access at Bellevue Landing

– including pedestrian access, how to support working watermen that use the landing to access the Chesapeake Bay and the dawn to dusk hours of operation.

Manage Recreational Users

the landing is very popular for recreation (ferry users, bicycling, fishing, boating) and traffic backs up on weekends in season. Conflicts over the amount of trailer space available and the overflow, especially on peak weekends, causes problems on Bellevue Road. High vehicular operating speeds traveling in both directions where speed limits change from 25 to 50 mph are also a serious concern of local residents

Street Maintenance

the County only maintains roads originally accepted into the County system as public roads, leaving the community to maintain the remaining private streets. There is no organizational structure that is conducive to road maintenance funding or implementation. Upgrading private streets to a level that would allow them to be accepted into the County system would be very challenging.

Vacant Homes

an increasing number of vacant houses has raised concerns about deferred maintenance and upkeep.

Increased Development Pressure on Lot Consolidation

as Bellevue Gardens is built out, more attention to the community may likely come from real estate interests, resulting in more pressure for lot consolidation, tear downs, and new construction of large homes on multiple lots in Historic Bellevue.