Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

Planning Commission Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
September 16, 2004


Agenda Items:


Request to amend resolution 90-2: Section XI - a resolution to enlarge the boundaries of the Town of Emmitsburg, MD by the annexation of 10.026 acres, more or less, by Dan Reaver, Emmitsburg Glass Company - Recommendation to the Mayor and Board of Commissioners.


Mr. Lucas reviewed item 11 which states that the developer of the property shall be responsible for a pro-rata share of the construction of a bridge over Flat Run. He noted that Dan Reaver purchased the property in order to relocate his company, Emmitsburg Glass. Mr. Lucas noted that the 1998 Comprehensive Plan shows a collector road running from approximately Route 140 and Harney Road to the south to Creamery Road. This road would require a bridge across Flat Run. Mr. Lucas stated that Mr. Reaver felt the cost would make it prohibitive to develop the property given the construction costs, environmental concerns, and the open time line.


Chairman Staiger asked if there was a staff recommendation. Mr. Lucas replied that there were several issues. The Comprehensive Plan does call for this (road & bridge) but doesn't state who should be responsible. Further, he noted, that there was no dedicated right of way for a road on the properties adjacent to Rte 140. The property would have to be taken by Eminent Domain, which would be fairly difficult to do. It was staff's opinion that, in order to develop a parcel of property that was 10 acres, the cost of construction of the bridge might render the property undevelopable.


Chairman Staiger asked if there was a dedicated right of way at the southern portion of the proposed collector road. Mr. Lucas responded that 44 acres south of Flat Run and adjacent to the property in question were platted as a subdivision and did show the proposed collector road going through that property to where it met with the property in question. The town office has a copy of this plat. The 44 acre property is not with in the town limits.


Mr. Lind and Mr. Henry asked why this requirement had been part of the annexation agreement. Mr. Reaver commented that he felt the condition may have been placed to prevent George Stark Ford from relocating to the property circa 1990.
Mr. Henry asked if there were any plans for a bridge or a road at this time. Mr. Lucas responded not to staff's knowledge, although it does exist on the Comprehensive Plan. There is enough room on the property to build a road to collector status. The question is the cost of the bridge.

Chairman Staiger asked if the Town had placed the provision on the annexation agreement. Mr. Lucas responded, "Evidently, yes."

Chairman Staiger asked if the 44 acre parcel had the same requirement. Mr. Lucas said it did not.

Chairman Staiger asked if any other property along the proposed road from Creamery Road to Rte 140 had this requirement. Mr. Lucas responded, "No."

Public Comment:

Mr. Dave Martin asked about the sequence of annexations. Mr. Lucas responded that the property in question would have been the last property annexed. Mr. Martin asked what annexation was before that. Mr. Lucas said he did not know. Mr. Martin said it seemed to be an advantage to have a collector road there. Mr. Lucas replied that there was no reason not to have a collector road there - the question was whether Mr. Reaver should be the only one to pay for it (the bridge). Ms. Hope Mahoney stated that she did not feel this was a fair situation and that any cost should be shared.

Commissioner Dianne Walbrecker joined the meeting. Chairman Staiger reviewed the meeting's progress.

Commissioner Wahlbrecker asked Mr. Lucas who would pay for the construction of the collector road and the bridge. Mr. Lucas responded that the property in question had been annexed into the Town. The 44 acres to the north of the property in question and south of Flat Run had a subdivision plat showing the collector road which would normally be the responsibility of developers to pay for. The plat for that property shows the road ending in a dead end, cul-de-sac prior to Flat Run. There was no right-of-way to continue a collector road to the north of Flat Run up to Rte 140. The cost of the bridge would depend on whether it was built in the town or the county.

Chairman Staiger stated that he had no problems with the road or the bridge. The problem was that the owner of the property in question was the only one who bore any burden for the cost.

Commissioner Walbrecker asked if at some point 20 years from now the residents of Emmitsburg are going to have to pay for that bridge. Mr. Lucas responded only if they wanted a bridge there. Mr. Lucas confirmed that all of the property in question was within the growth boundary of the Town. He stated that the critical question is that since the construction of the bridge is open-ended and the cost of the bridge can't be determined, this restriction rendered the property undevelopable.

Commissioner Walbrecker asked if there were any cost estimates for the bridge construction. Mr. Lucas said this would require an engineering study. Mr. Henry commented that with the difficulty in getting a permit to cross Willow Run with a sewer/water line (it took eight months to get one permit), he doubted you would even be able to build a bridge there. Commissioner Walbrecker stated that this may be a point she hadn't considered.

Chairman Staiger stated that Mr. Reaver had no need for this collector road since he already had road frontage on Creamery Road. Mr. Lucas agreed that the road and bridge do give an advantage to Mr. Reaver since there would be no reason to go out to Rte 140. Given this situation Chairman Staiger stated he did not feel this was a legitimate requirement for this property. Mr. Lucas again stated it was Mr. Reaver's contention that the requirement made the property undevelopable.

Commissioner Walbrecker stated that to have a road network in the area East of US 15 there would need to be a bridge crossing Flat Run. Mr. Henry responded that areas north of Flat Run could be accessed from US 15 and Rte 140 while the areas south of Flat Run could be accessed from US 15 and Creamery Road. The bridge might be nice but not practical. You could still have truck and car access.

There was then some discussion between the commissioners, Mr. Lucas, and Mr. Reaver over the proposed route of the collector road and the flood plains present in the area.

Mr. Lind commented that we seem to be going round and round and the bottom line is should the provision be left on or taken off. Mr. Henry agreed.

Commissioner Walbrecker noted that the annexation agreement did not transition properly when reading from the bottom of page three to the top of page four. Chairman Staiger and Mr. Lucas agreed.

Chairman Staiger stated that given the (Flat Run and Tom's Creek) flood plains that exist and the restrictions they would place on development, the primary access to this area will always be via Creamery Road from US 15. Route 140 will provide primary access to the areas north of Route 140 and between Flat Run and Route 140.

There was then some discussion over access to US 15 South from Creamery Road. Mr. Martin commented that if direct access to southbound US 15 South is prevented at Creamery Road, drivers will have to go to Rte 140 and back across to go south bound. A collector road and bridging of Flat Run might alleviate this. Commissioner Walbrecker stated that she did have a memo from the State Highway Administration that the Creamery Road intersection would eventually be made limited access. Mr. Lucas confirmed the State would probably like to do this due to the hazard of crossing the at grade intersection. Mr. Lind agreed.

Commissioner Walbrecker stated that her main concern was that the citizens of Emmitsburg not be required to pay for a bridge at some point in the future.

Motion by Chairman Staiger and seconded by Mr. Henry:


The Planning and Zoning Commission recommends to the Mayor and Board of Commissioners that section 11 of Resolution 90-2 be eliminated having found that no other adjacent property owner shares the burden for the construction of the bridge and that the property has no need for access requiring a bridge over Flat Run.

Vote: Approved 3-1 (In Favor: Staiger, Lind, Henry, Opposed: Walbrecker)