Frederick News Post
(7/5) A first draft of the town's comprehensive plan is set for public hearing in September, following nearly three years of discussions. Staff changes and disagreements about land use and
available water resources have slowed planners' efforts to update the plan.
Planning commissioners learned in June 2007 of a state-mandated water resources prohibition against towns planning more development than their water supply can support. That was after they already
had voted on some aspects of the plan including future land use north of town.
Commissioners were forced earlier this year to return much of the northern area to its original low-density residential, conservation and commercial designations; this land can only be annexed and
developed when more water becomes available.
The town gets its water from six wells and Rainbow Lake. The state Department of the Environment has approved a seventh well, which is not yet in use, and the town is investigating an additional
well. Emmitsburg also has a water agreement with Mount St. Mary's University, but town commissioners voted not to include this supply in the water resources plan.
The draft plan limits future development in town to 496 equivalent dwelling units. An EDU is as much development as can be served by 300 gallons of water per day, the amount Emmitsburg allocates
for each residential tap. This limit can be adjusted as new water supplies are brought on line over the next few years.
Comp plan discussions have also included several possibilities for a commuter bypass to the north or west of town. In February, however, the commission decided to drop the bypass from the plan
until they see more cooperation and potential for funding from the state of Maryland and local and state governments in Pennsylvania.
Towns must update their comprehensive plans every six years to address needs foreseeable in the next 20 years. Emmitsburg's current draft addresses town needs through 2030.
Jakubiak and Associates, the planning firm helping the town with its comp plan update, will make final changes to the plan draft and make it available for public review within the next week or
two. Residents and state agencies will have at least 60 days to review the plan before the hearing, scheduled for Sept. 22.
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