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Town has water for the future but not enough

(10/4) Emmitsburg has enough water to grow, but not enough to grow as much as area property owners might like.

During the Sept. 19, Emmitsburg Planning and Zoning Commissioner workshop, the commissioners reviewed a draft water resources management plan, a piece of the town’s master plan that the commission is in the process of updating.

Chris Jakubiak of Jakubiak and Associates is writing the new plan for the commission. He told them that the draft master plan propose development in excess of the available water resources.

“You might want to zero in on a land use plan you can serve from available supplies and supplies the town manager thinks are reasonable to be brought on line in the near future,” Jakubiak said.

Using Jakubiak’s estimates, which he says are optimistic, the town has 219 connections remaining and about 610 new connections it can expect when two new wells come on line. The total of 829 connections falls far short of the 1930 that could be required to meet the development demands of all the possible infill properties and properties that could be annexed into Emmitsburg.

These numbers are optimistic because Jakubiak used the Maryland number of 250 gallons of water a day per dwelling unit while the town uses 300 gallons for its actual allocation.

“There’s a 20 percent buffer on every gallon of water we allocated,” said Town Manager Dave Haller.

Because of the shortage between capacity and possible demand, Jakubiak said that the commission needs to make decisions on which properties to annex that won’t leave the town in a water deficit. When the master plan gets updated in six years or so, if the town’s water capacity has increased, then additional properties can be planned for annexation at that time

“Some of these outlying properties we don’t foresee being able to service now,” Haller said. “Six years from now, I may be standing here…telling you we have another 1000 taps available.”

He recommended three criteria for considering properties to bring into town: 1) Does it smooth out the town boundary? 2) Does the property bring something extra to the town? 3) Does it improve the town’s commercial tax base?

One property Jakubiak recommended being annexed was the Frailey property southwest of town.

“That parcel as we’ve discussed before has a number of transportation benefits that can help alleviate congestion in the community and I’m not talking here again about the bypass,” Jakubiak said. He was referring to general improvements to town traffic the development’s road network would bring.

Another parcel on Irishtown Road he recommends for annexation because it is nearly an enclave within the town.

As for the other potential properties, Jakubiak said, “…without water and serve my suggestion is not to show a committement to develop in those areas.”

Some of this future demand could be alleviated when the town begins digging two new deep wells in the spring.

“We are starting the process and accumulating resources to bring on other water resources,” Haller said. “That water is three years away.”

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