Emmitsburg commissioner wants policy on growth
(11/17) The Town of Emmitsburg is one step closer to
adopting a policy to control growth.
Commissioner Bill O’Neil has put together the town’s
first adequate public facilities ordinance, a growth policy that uses a formula
to ensure that roads, schools, water, sewer, emergency services and parks are
adequate before development can move forward.
‘‘We’re trying to have a policy in place as the town
grows," O’Neil said. ‘‘There will be a formula in place that developers and
residents will have to share."
That means that if a builder puts up the money toward
new roads or parks to help the development pass the growth policy, those costs
will be added into the price of the new homes. ‘‘That’s fair since they’re [new
residents] the ones placing the extra burden on the community," O’Neil said.
The town’s Board of Commissioners has referred the
policy to planning consultants for recommendations. It will than be looked over
by the town attorney before going to public hearing.
‘‘We’ve already been encouraging the public to give us
comments," O’Neil said.
The proposed ordinance is drafted after the county’s
growth policy with a few additions. Unlike the county’s ordinance, parks and
emergency services (police, fire and rescue) must be sufficient in Emmitsburg
to handle growth.
‘‘It’s modeled after Frederick County’s, but tailored
more for municipalities," O’Neil said.
The towns of Thurmont, Walkersville, Mount Airy,
Brunswick and Myersville have growth ordinances, and the City of Frederick is
in the midst of drafting its own.
For sometime, the county has been pushing all 12
municipalities to adopt policies to control growth. County commissioners have
been concerned that with less money coming from the state for such services as
school construction, the financial burden on the county is heavy.
Commission President John ‘‘Lennie" Thompson Jr. (R),
who has always pushed for tighter controls on growth, supports O’Neil’s
efforts, but is concerned that the town’s board of commissioners will weaken
‘‘I wish him well in his efforts, but I think he will
find in the end that the mayor and councilmen will pander to developers and the
thing will be watered down," Thompson said.
When the board met earlier this month, members made no
changes to his original draft, O’Neil said.
O’Neil is not a new supporter of growth controls. He is
one of the founding members of the community activist group known as Citizens
Organized to Preserve Emmitsburg. Its mission is to ensure that infrastructure
is in place to support development.
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