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Growth Plan Tabled Until Sewer Fixed

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

(2/2/04) The board of commissioners' prolonged effort to draft a plan to control growth while the town's sewer system is repaired will drag on to a fifth month.

That decision was made after members of the town's business community, completely silent during the previous four months of public debate over different plans, vociferously protested the moratorium plan that would halt all residential, commercial and industrial growth for an indefinite period.

The meeting ended with plans tabled and an edict for Mike Lucas, the town's planner, to draft a "moratorium" that wouldn't prohibit any potential commercial or industrial growth in the town. In doing so, the commissioners ignored claims from Mr. Lucas and John Clapp, the town's attorney, that a "partial moratorium" was an oxymoron.

Dan Reaver, who owns Emmitsburg Glass Co. and is developing East End Industrial Park in the town, and W. Dale Hess Jr., who owns the Sleep Inn and land around it, each said they were working on deals that could bring new stores or businesses tothe town in the next few years.

Mr. Reaver said he plans to construct a new building to accommodate the growth of his company. The current building will be sold to WE Delauter & Son, a Thurmont excavation company that has outgrown its location. Overall, he said he had three lots under contract that would add .100 jobs in Emmitsburg.

Mr. Hess said he's in negotiations with at least two clients, including Dollar General, a discount retailer.

Bob Mort, an Emmitsburg businessman for about 40 years, said he didn't want the, board to stop businesses from coming in "and the whole town comes to a standstill."

Each board member agreed that they didn't want to see business development hampered. Thecommissioners were careful provide the means for comma cial and industrial growth crafting a managed growth ph but business interests wE included in the blanket moratc um they were considering.

"We're cutting off our bre and butter," complained Path Boyle, the board's preside

until development began, and paying $75,000 to the town for sewer repair.

Michael Lucas, Emmitsburg's planner, said the $75,000 covers the estimated construction cost for the part of the Little Run sewer line running through the Bollingers' property. The line is scheduled to be replaced this year.

Commissioner Joyce Rosen-steel and Mayor Jim Hoover were concerned about when the property would be developed and its impact on the sewer system if the town failed to enact a managed growth plan or moratorium. The Bollingers essentially accepted a moratorium on their property, agreeing that the land will not be developed until the town goes 180 consecutive days without exceeding the design capacity at its wastewater treatment plant.

In case the town imposed a moratorium, the Bollingers had asked to be exempt from townod to three years.

Mr. Elder, the lone dissenter on the board, said he thought it was a good project but couldn't support it given the problems the town has with its sewer system.

Commissioner Cliff Sweeney, however, reasoned that the Bollingers "most likely won't be building any houses until we get the sewer lines fixed anyway." Mr.

taxes while it was in effect for a Boyle said annexation opponents period of up to five years. At the were off base when they claimed mayor's behest, the developers the town got nothing out of the accepted a reduction of that peri- deal, pointed to the money provided for sewer-line repairs and upgrading Irishtown Road.

If COPE opts to try to take the matter before the voters, it will have 45 days from when the annexation resolution is passed to gather valid signatures from 20 percent of the town's 1,020 registered voters. The resolution is expected to be ready for the board's March 1 meeting.

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