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No water. No growth.

(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 said.

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 somewhat.

“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
Unallocated capacity                  70,500 gallons per day or 235 taps
- Taps sold since 2005                                                  39 taps
- Taps needs to serve infill                                             513 taps
Deficit to meet obligations                                              - 317 taps
+ Taps from Well 7                                                        277 taps
+ Preliminary taps from Well J                                          183 taps
TAPS REMAINING FOR GROWTH:                                      143 taps

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government