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Sewer allocation plan approved

Chris Patterson

After months of debate among developers, residents, prospective residents and town commissioners in Emmitsburg, a plan to distribute building permits has been approved.

As part of a settlement agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Town of Emmitsburg will limit residential sewer connections to 20 per year.

The settlement is necessary due to multiple sewer spills in 2003 that led to fines and restrictions placed on the town by the environmental agency. Through negotiations with the state, the town was able to get the fines decreased.

At a workshop Monday, the board approved an ordinance to repeal the current moratorium on issuing zoning certificates, which are required for each home.

The board replaced the moratorium with a temporary plan to allocate connections to the town's sanitary sewer system and approved a consent order with the state.

The plan will remain in effect until the town has made improvements to the sewer system that will comply with the order.

Each September ­ as long as the sewer problems exist - anyone requiring a sewer system connection would be required to file an application with the town. The town staff would then determine the number of applications for "buildable lots" there are and will ration sewer connections proportionate to each request.

A "buildable lot" means the lot owner has either completed water and sewer connections, and curb, gutter and road paving to the property, or has put up enough money to pay for the town to do that work if the builder defaults on completing the work.

The ordinance specifies Sept. 15 as the date connections will be available for purchase. Any allocated connections not purchased by Nov. 15 will be considered forfeited.

Developers for Southgate and Brookfield developments are already in the process of appealing the restrictions.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government