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Fairfield endorses county run-off plan

Richard D. L. Fulton

The Fairfield Borough Planning Commission voted unanimously at their October 10 meeting to indicate their support for the adoption of a county-generated storm water management plan.

On a motion by borough Councilman, Carroll Smith, who serves as liaison to the planning commission, and seconded by commission member Ralph Bender, the commission voted to indicate their support of the county‘s proposal to promulgate new rules that would supersede the Monocacy Watershed Plan.

Robert Thaeler, Adams County Office of Planning and Development (ACOPD), stated previously that the county developed a “bare bones” storm water management plan option for the county’s 34 municipalities to consider.

Thaeler stated that state Act 167, enacted in 1978, requires all counties in Pennsylvania to develop a storm water management plan for each watershed in their jurisdiction, but, he said, “The state had never fully funded the program.”

The state subsequently decided it wanted to move away from watershed-based plans and wanted the counties to do county-wide storm water management plans that addressed run-off issues in general.

Thaeler stated at the October 10 borough Planning Commission meeting that the county sought to reduce the impact the Monocacy Plan was having on small property owners, and on developers, as the result of excessive, Monocacy Plan-driven engineering requirements.

The county planner said the county proposal would not significantly change the ratios between water that must be retained on a site to recharge the immediate groundwater supply and treated storm water allowed to be released from a particular site.

The main difference between the existing Monocacy Plan rules and that which the county has proposed primarily changes the permitting process to ease engineering expenses, especially on small property owners looking to build something as simple as a garage.

The county Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on November 2 to receive additional comments. The county will then advertise the county storm water management plan for possible adoption at the commissioners’’ November 23 meeting. Thaeler stated that, once approved by the commissioners, the plan would then go to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their sign-off.

After the county is notified of the DEP’s approval, the municipalities will have six months to adopt a form of the plan applicable to their specific needs.

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