(2/7) No water. No growth. It’s as simple,
and as complex, as that for Emmitsburg.
On the surface, it seems simple because if
the town can’t serve a property with water and sewer, then the town shouldn’t
okay it. The complexity comes from the fact that some properties have had
zoning (and with it, implied water and sewer service) for years and were not
built; and on the commercial side, projections seem to outstrip the reality for
commercial growth in town.
However, for the state to accept the
town’s revised master plan, the town can’t plan on allocating more water for
future growth than is currently available.
Emmitsburg Town Manager Dave Haller
recently updated the town planning and zoning commission on just how much
available water the town has.
“The only thing I have to bring you are
some facts. I don’t have any silver bullets, or as my friend Larry said, golden
carrots, and I’ll try to give you some tools to make your decisions,” Haller
The town has two wells that it will be
bringing into service. Both of these wells will be treated at a new treatment
plant in Emmit Gardens. The new plant will be designed to resemble a home so
that it fits in better with the community.
“At a minimum you’re three years out to
put that plant on line,” Haller said. “If there are any delays related to
finance or whatever, it could go to five but more likely three years.”
Even with the two new wells, the town will
have an excess of approximately 143 taps to allocate. Haller said that he is
hoping that the Maryland Department of the Environment will allow a higher
water allocation for well J, which would increase the number of taps available
“There’s a little flexibility, but there’s
not a lot,” Haller said. “Basically, it (state law) says that you can’t approve
anything that you can’t serve.”
This means that there is very little new
growth the planning and zoning commission could approve. For the most part, any
new development through annexation would also have to bring its own water
source that could serve the proposed development.
The planning and zoning commission will
hold a special meeting on Feb. 12 to discuss how these water limitations will
affect growth decisions that the commission had already made.
Emmitsburg Water Capacity
Existing water capacity:
463,000 gallons per day
- Allocated usage in 2005:
327,000 gallons per day
- 20 percent buffer
65,500 gallons per day
70,500 gallons per day or 235 taps
- Taps sold since 2005
- Taps needs to serve infill
Deficit to meet obligations
- 317 taps
+ Taps from Well 7
+ Preliminary taps from Well J
TAPS REMAINING FOR GROWTH:
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