Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland
21727
301-600-6300

Town Meeting Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
January 5, 2004

TOWN MANAGER REPORT - reported on the public works department monthly activities to include a water production and consumption analysis. He updated the Board on the pending contract with MES to supply water and wastewater treatment operators. The zoning department issued 5 permits during December to include one new home in Southgate. He also enumerated the parking violation statistics.

COMMISSIONER COMMENTS - Art Elder spoke regarding the town website and comments posted by the Mayor-- that it's not intended to be used this way. Pat Boyle expressed Happy New Year wishes to everyone.

REPORTS:

Mayor's Report - He announced that a Pre bid meeting is scheduled this Wednesday for contractors interested in bidding on the water and sewer rehab projects. Four inquiries were received for the water rehab and 8 on the sewer.

Committee reports - Secretary Staiger reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission approved 3 plat revisions. The proposed Official Zoning Map of Emmitsburg was sent back to staff for further development and update. Mike Lucas presented a Planners Report. There were no committee meetings held in December.

AGENDA ITEMS

SIDEWALK POLICY

Town Manager Dave Haller informed the Board that the current sidewalk ordinance has been laxly enforced. It currently is the homeowner's responsibility to repair the sidewalks. He informed them that the Town, in not enforcing the ordinance, opens itself up for liability. He requests guidance either for enforcement as written, enforcement of a revised ordinance or enforcement of either.

MOTION: To accept ordinance 03-21 amending Title 12, Section 12.08.020 of the Code of Emmitsburg giving the town staff authorization to effect sidewalk repairs.

PUBLIC COMMENT Diane Walbrecker, 535 West Main St., lot of the damage is caused by the trees, how is that addressed in the new ordinance? What about the tree boxes as previously recommended by the town manager. He answered that the ordinance effects a change in which the town manager will be addressing the problem instead of the Mayor as previously written.

The Mayor asked if the staff reference should be narrowed down to denote the code enforcer. Dave Haller and Mike Lucas described that "staff" would be all inclusive. This one still says that the "Mayor would enforce". It was discussed that the notice would still go out under the Mayor's signature but the town manager would assess when the repair is needed based upon observation and/or referral by citizens or code enforcer.

VOTE: 4-0 in favor of the motion

SAFE N SANE GRADUATION

MOTION: To give a donation, same funding as last year--$500, to the "Safe-n-Sane" program at Catoctin High School. VOTE: 4-0 in favor of the motion

MANAGED GROWTH PLAN

As instructed by the Board, a detailed analysis of the water and sewer systems in relation to the proposed tap allocation was presented. Mr Lucas explained that this report looks at the 3 year period since the 2000 census. Some findings: 120 new homes, 60 in the last year alone ...exclusively in single family homes...15% of existing housing stock in Emmitsburg...at this growth, 400 homes would be built in a year period which is "very fast" growth. This type of rapid growth affects the public services: can the water and sewer facilities be expected to take care of this?

Analysis of the sewer system: 9.1 miles of sewer mains from 8" to 15". 4.1 miles of PVC, balance was constructed ins 1920's and 30's-the balance in 50-60 yrs old of clay tile pipes. The sewer plant was constructed in 1988 with a treatment capacity of 800,000 gpd. It's already treating 200,000 but is plagued by the infiltration problem which is taxing it way beyond its capacity. The current rehab project will replace 3,000 linear feet of sewer line along Little Run.

However this one repair doesn't begin to address problems with existing system. There needs to be an aggressive policy of repair to sustain long term growth. The analysis suggested to the commissioners a comprehensive approach to rehab the sewer collection system:

  1. conduct study

  2. consider establishing a temporary moratorium, on new sewer extensions, contain a definite sunset provision, based on performance standards based on rehab. If basing strictly on existing sewer system now, the number would be no ideal number.

  3. aggressively pursue and require mitigation of those problem areas

  4. upon completion of the study and capital budget and improvements plan, address future growth limitations and/or allowances

Commissioner Boyle: how many are on line now? 120 have been built, approximately 150-160 available lots, 55 senior housing units planned but not yet approved but rezoned, if Bollinger annexation is approved 50 additional units, around 400, in a 10 year period. Discussion took place regarding 1980 pipe video, current extreme rainfall situation compared to prior years but Mike Lucas responded that the current I&I should be the controlling figures.

PUBLIC COMMENT

  • Charles Hogendorp, developer Appletree

  • Betty Hogendorp, developer Appletree

  • John Kerekes, attorney

  • Bill O'Neil, 3010 Stonehurst Drive

  • Harold Craig, 103 W. Main Street

  • Diane Walbrecker, 535 West Main Street

  • Susan Sonje, Appletree Homes

  • Randell Whittenberger, attorney for Appletree Homes

  • Stuart (last name illegible), Appletree Homes

  • Chuck Karfunta

  • Tim Dobry, Appletree employee

  • Richard Demmitt, RJD Development

  • Tom Carolan, Owner of Appletree Homes

Board discussion expressed reservations about closing down developments that already have approvals and that the Board should consult attorneys to determine if they have the authority to do that. It was mentioned that based on the condition of the infrastructure, the recommended number for additional connections is zero. The moratorium would be on extensions of sanitary sewer lines. Commissioner Sweeney commented, "Having no growth plan isn't a growth plan...we've lost our children and schools because of no growth."

Dave Haller asked of Mr. Lucas, "Would that not be the same as setting a limit at 100, the same effect?" He agreed, "No impact, would allow approximately 55 new homes.

Mayor Hoover added that he agrees, Mr. Lucas' report doesn't tell the Board anything new, that they haven't already known before. Except for the last page he liked the recommendation to not extend any additional new main sewer lines. For the Board to start by putting that in place and work on managed growth in a more reasonable manner and proactive manner vs. the reactive way in the past. There's the need to have a time frame on being done. So that the Board understands where we're at, have a moratorium on extensions of service in Brookfield II, III or IV, or any annexations, that this board to take a good look on how many new residential or commercial units the town is willing to accept in a calendar year. Mayor Hoover stated that if these are being considered, there need to be some stringent time lines put on and have these issues underway where a proactive plan can be put into place. He suggested obtaining legal advice at this point. Commissioner Boyle added that Brookfield and Southgate have the sewer lines in place or letters of credit that they will be in place. The moratorium needs a criteria of how the problem is going to be solved.

The Board decided to take a 15 minute recess from this town meeting to conduct a closed session for the purpose of obtaining legal advice from counsel.

MOTION: To recess into a closed, executive session for the purpose of obtaining legal advice. VOTE: 4-0

This meeting was recessed at 9:38 pm.

The regular session of the town meeting was reconvened at 10:16 pm. It was announced that the Mayor and Board of Commissioners met in closed session to discuss with the attorney certain legal matters surrounding the implementation of a moratorium as there's been very mild indications of legal ramifications of the clean water act. The Board needed to talk with the attorney about potential litigation and legal ramifications before proceeding with the moratorium consideration.

It was discussed that the Planner's report option #2 would not have any affect. Commissioner Boyle stated that he would like to do options 1, 3 and 4 of the Planner's proposal. Mr. Lucas suggested that if the Board finds the recommendations efficacious for the town, the existing sewer lines would be grandfathered-allowed to be built out. That would be the criteria for the moratorium. He suggested that in the next week or so convening a public workshop to get the details and have an ordinance drafted to adopt at a later date. Commissioner Rosensteel expressed to draft an ordinance with options 1, 2 and 3 with no more being done and with the stipulation of as long as it would take but could be lifted when repairs are completed. Mr. Lucas added that from a planning perspective a moratorium has to be temporary, look for specific reason, has to be tied back to a commitment by the town to address the most pressing capital improvement needs.

In answer to the Board's inquiry as to how many houses this would be, Mr. Lucas answered that the maximum allowable lots would be an additional 20-25 in Brookfield and an additional 35 in Southgate. Monday, January 12 was set for the public workshop to formulate an moratorium to be presented in ordinance form at the February town meeting. Boyle suggested that if Little Run is finished in, say September, to do a study, if it's working, either modify the moratorium or do away with it. A goal needs to be set of how much do you want to reduce it by. It would be reasonable to set a goal of the design capacity of the sewer plant during a heavy rain. Look at the entire system improvement.

GARAGES IN VILLAGE ZONE TEXT AMENDMENT

The special exception provided for in this amendment would be employed via an established accepted policy for review of such requests.

MOTION: to accept Ordinance 03-16 amending Title 17, Zoning, Section 17.36.030 allowing a special exception provision for the construction of a private garage in the village zone. VOTE: 4-0 in favor of the motion

MOTION: to accept Policy P03-04, Procedures for Garages in the Village Zone pursuant to Section 17.36.030 of the Emmitsburg Code.

MOTION AMENDMENT: to accept Policy P03-04, Procedures for Garages in the Village Zone pursuant to Section 17.36.030 of the Emmitsburg Code, omitting the reference to a specified fee and substituting "necessary fee".  VOTE: 4-0 in favor

PLANNING COMMISSION - ALTERNATE MEMBER

Mike Lucas explains that this agenda item relates to the appointment of the alternate member of the planning commission. That the existing ordinance is vague concerning rights and privileges of the alternate. Traditionally and historically the alternate does not have the rights of the sitting members, he only participates when the alternate has a vote. He asks the question of what are the rights as to asking questions and submitting input in deliberations. Commissioner Sweeney stated that the alternate should not participate unless voting. Commissioner Boyle recalled that when he was an alternate member of a commission, he could not speak. Attorney Clapp agreed that the alternate does not sit at the board but he can't be deprived of his rights as a citizen to make public comment when appropriate.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Chris Staiger 1230 Brookfield Drive (chairman of the planning and zoning commission): He stated that wasn't sure of the intent of this agenda item, but has no problem with just extending previous practice. He signed up to speak because of his concern that a political muzzle was being placed. Commissioner Boyle stated that he would like to continue the practice. Commissioner Elder commented that if it's mandatory for the alternate to be there, then the alternate should have all the rights of the sitting commission with the exception of voting. Commissioner Sweeney agreed with Pat Boyle.

MOTION: to keep the current practice of the alternate having no voice as a board member when not sitting as a voting member. VOTE: 3-1 in favor Elder against

BOLLINGER REZONING

Michael Lucas read this ordinance which amends the official zoning map and outlines the conditions of the approved zoning change.

MOTION: to accept Ordinance 04-01 amending Title 17, Zoning, Section 17.44 which amends the official zoning map effecting a zoning change from R-2 to R-3 subject to the conditions therein. Mayor Hoover suggested that in item 4, the word " may" be replaced by "shall".

AMENDED MOTION: to accept Ordinance 04-01 amending Title 17, Zoning, Section 17.44 which amends the official zoning map effecting a zoning change from R-2 to R-3 subject to the conditions therein- - with the replacement of "may" in item 4 with "shall". VOTE: 4-0 in favor

RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLERS

The Mayor explained that this item is not really for consideration tonight, just the question if they want this town to consider sprinklers or not. A vote is needed to consider it. Would like to see staff provide information on what is recommended. Commissioner Boyle would like for it to go to Planning and Zoning.

MOTION: To send to planning and zoning the question of a residential sprinkler requirement to study and make recommendation

PUBLIC COMMENT: Diane Walbrecker, 504 East Main Street: this proposed requirement has been around about 2 years, while she was in planning and zoning, all were in favor. Feels it's incumbent on Board of Commissioners whether they're in favor. They stated they're all in favor. Mayor Hoover made reference to the study from FEMA, that planning and zoning should review the study and make specific recommendations.  VOTE: 4-0 in favor of the motion

MDE LETTER

Mayor Hoover explained that he asked for this agenda consideration. He commented that his comments are the same as the article in the newspaper and on the website regarding the letters sent by a resident to MDE and EPA. He stated that his concern is that the information in not completely accurate. There was not sewerage spill in September. For anyone to report that there was a spill puts the operator in jeopardy with his license. It was misunderstood that the plant was over capacity, not spills. This has not put us into any finable situation. There was an issue that proper reports, due to contractual testing, were not correct. It is MDE's responsibility and response to put the town under a consent order to watch for improvements. He commented that he just wanted to clear up that the town did not have the reported spills.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Harold Craig, 301 West Main Street was signed up to speak but declined.

Commissioner Sweeney announced, "Before sending a letter, come to the town and get your information correct... You could cause someone to lose their job." Commissioner Boyle commented on what the writer's political agenda would have been, that he was not doing the town citizens any favors reporting incorrect information.