Decision Draws Near
on the town's immediate growth plans may be
made on Monday.
of commissioners will hear more information
on a proposed Managed and Sustainable Growth
Plan (MSGP) for the town when it meets at
7:30 p.m. in the Sleep Inn conference room.
If a decision is made, it should be at least
a month before an ordinance is drafted and
passed incorporating those mandates.
plan isn't the only item the board will
tackle at its first meeting of 2004. The
commissioners are slated to discuss raising
water and sewer hookup fees, the impact fees
charged for new development, and whether to
pursue an ordinance man-dating sprinkler
systems in new homes. They also will
consider revising the town'ssidewalk policy
to make it easier for the town to force
residents to fix damaged areas in front of
the MSGP, discussed by town leaders for
months, is the item that should draw the
greatest interest. The number of zoning
certificates, the town's equivalent of a
building permit, issued annually in
Emmitsburg has grown from 10 in 1999 and
2000 to 60 last year.
advocates claim the town has grown too fast
and should place stringent limits on growth.
But developers building in the town argue
that there were no warnings about potential
restrictions when they started their
projects, so they should be allowed to
proceed naturally. They've been joined by
people who have contracted homes which may
not get built on schedule if a growth plan
is the key reason the plan is being
considered. Because of infiltration and
inflow problems, the town's treatment plant
was overwhelmed at times in 2003, causing
untreated sewage to be spilled. Those
breaches likely will draw fines from the
Maryland Department of the Environment.
certificates issued in Emmitsburg
officials hope the fines will be reduced if
they take steps to alleviate the problem. A
sewer line thought to be the' entry point
for much of the system's wild-water should
be replaced this year, and restricting
growth to limit the amount of wastewater
entering the system would enhance that
discussion has involved limiting the number
of zoning certificates issued by the town.
In recent weeks, however, the plan's focus
has shifted to the number of sewer hookups
Michael Lucas, the town planner, has
evaluated the existing infrastructure to
determine how much extra wastewater the town
can accept safely. He won't reveal his
determinations before Monday's meeting, but
he said he'll propose drafting a
capital-improvement plan to replace
"antiquated" sewer-collection lines.
sewer system reaches certain performance
levels, sewer hookup restrictions can be
eased or eliminated.
assessing the system, Mr. Lucas said he
considered infiltration and inflow
statistics from the wastewater plant in
2003, including the number of times it
exceeded its design capacity and the amounts
involved during those episodes. He also
tried to determine the risk of future spills
given the state of the system.
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