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Northgate seeks drier entrance
Residents tell town of flooding problems

Ingrid Mezo

During an Emmitsburg town meeting last week, a dozen Northgate subdivision residents asked town officials to consider supplying an additional entrance to their development.

The current entrance to the subdivision is in a floodplain, and floods three times a year on average, blocking residents from leaving the development and emergency personnel from coming in, homeowners association president Sabrina Paxton-Daily told officials on Jan. 18.

‘‘This entrance is a safety hazard now, so were hoping that there is going to be an option that will give is a solution quickly," Paxton-Daily said.

The Northgate subdivision sits next to the Emmit Ridge subdivision, which was never completed. About 40 lots remain undeveloped in Emmit Ridge, Town Manager David Haller said. A planned entrance into the Emmit Ridge subdivision would have allowed Northgate residents a second means of entering and exiting their subdivision, but was never constructed.

Completion of the development in the near future is unlikely because of the town’s restrictions on residential water and sewer taps.

While flooding at the entrance has been a problem for years, residents of the development have not asked the board for help until recently.

‘‘I had brought the issue before the streets committee in December, and I had originally brought the issue up last spring," Paxton-Daily said. ‘‘It just really bothered me that there is no way to get out in an emergency."

Town officials agreed to look into ways to help resolve the problem by building another entrance, but made no promises of financial assistance.

‘‘The town can view this as a project worth pursuing," Commissioner Bill O’Neil said.

The fastest solution to the problem would be to rebuild the Northgate entrance on land owned by the homeowners association outside the floodplain, and shut down the current entrance, Haller said.

‘‘It’s going to be very difficult to get the State Highway Administration to approve two entrances less than 100 feet apart," Haller said. ‘‘I think to have a solution to this problem in less than five years, you’re going to have to deal with property already part of the subdivision."

Mayor James Hoover directed town staff to come back with a cost estimate for building another entrance into the Northgate community.

‘‘I hope the names of this commission will not go down in history as those who failed to prevent deaths," Northgate resident William Steele said.

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