County Commissioners - Public Hearings

PUBLIC HEARING - October 17, 2006



WATER & SEWER PLAN AMENDMENT- ALLEN’S LANE SERVICE




A Public Hearing that was scheduled for October 17, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown, Maryland began instead at 10:30 a.m. because the Commissioners’ previous appointment took longer than expected. This Hearing was held pursuant to requirements of the Environmental Section, Title 9, Subtitle 5, Section 9-503 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The purpose of the Hearing was to update the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan to include language required by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for providing services to the Allen’s Lane Service Area (Fifth Election District).

County Commissioners William Pickrum, Roy Crow, and Alexander Rasin were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, James M. Wright, County Engineer, approximately two interested citizens, and two members of the media.

Commissioner Pickrum read the Notice of Public Hearing into the record. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

Allen’s Lane is located south of the Town of Rock Hall and has severe problems with failing septic systems. A preliminary engineering report has been completed investigating the possibility of connecting approximately 30 to 490 homes to the town sewerage system. A request for design and construction funding has been submitted to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

The County has received approval to process with the design of the Allen’s Lane sewerage system project from MDE and the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), MDE [Project #WQ04-342-151, subject to the following conditions:

The proposed force main shall be designated “restrictive access;”
Existing residential lots with failing septic systems as identified and documented by the Kent County Environmental Health Department shall be allowed to connect to the new sewer system;
Unimproved lots of record existing as of September 2006 that could meet the requirements for private well and septic systems shall be allowed to connect to the new sewer system; and
No further subdivision of any lots in the service area shall be allowed.

The project as proposed would extend the existing force main, located at the intersection of MD Route 445 and Green Lane, to the Allen’s Lane area solely to serve failing septic systems as identified and documented by the Kent County Environmental Health Department.

The extension of services shall not be interpreted as allowing additional development and allocations will not be granted to parcels between developed areas and treatment facilities.

Correspondence dated September 8 from Elizabeth H. Morris, Chairman, Kent County Planning Commission, advising that at their September 7 meeting, the proposed Water and Sewer Plan amendment was reviewed for extension of the existing force main located at the intersection of MD Route 445 and Green Lane down to Allen’s Lane. After some discussion, the Commission voted unanimously to make a favorable recommendation on the following:

The County has received approval to proceed with the design of the Allen’s Lane sewerage system project from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), MDE Project #WQ04-342-151, subject to the following conditions:

The proposed force main shall be designated “restrictive access;”
Existing residential lots with failing septic systems as identified and documented by the Kent County Environmental Health Department shall be allowed to connect to the new sewer system;

Unimproved lots of record existing as of September 2006 that could meet well and septic system requirements as found under COMAR 26.02.02, 26.02.03, and 26.02.04 shall be allowed to connect to the new server system; and

No further subdivision of any lots in the service area shall be allowed.

The Planning Commission based its recommendation on the following findings of fact:
This project as proposed would extend the existing force main, located at the intersection of MD Route 445 and Green lane to Allen’s Lane area solely to serve failing septic systems as identified and documented by the Kent County Environmental Health Department.

The Kent County Comprehensive Plan establishes that public water and/or sewer systems will not be extended into the Countryside except to correct public health emergencies; further, the extension of services shall not be interpreted as allowing additional development and allocations will not be granted to parcels between developed areas and treatment facilities.

Commissioner Pickrum invited anyone who wished to speak for or against the proposed amendment.


Rex Kershaw, a resident of Allen’s Lane, stated that he recently contacted the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) to obtain information on existing failing systems in his area; however, this information was not readily available. He stated that one year ago, his sixteen-year-old system (a mound system) had passed inspection and he does not wish to hook up to the new system. Mr. Morris stated that over time it has been the county’s experience that wherever failing systems exist, all other existing systems will inevitably fail because of the ground water table and it is far preferable, considering costs and labyrinthine funding, to make repairs to an entire area with prevailing failing systems. Mr. Morris stated that if Mr. Kershaw prefers not to hook up to the system at this time, he need not, but that when his system eventually fails, he will have to cover the cost himself when he finally hooks up. Mr. Kershaw requested validation of this issue whether or not the KCHD would require him to hook up to the system and to be provided information identifying those properties with failing systems. Mr. Kershaw also expressed concern that if this amendment were adopted, he would not be able to subdivide his six acres.

In order to provide specific information as requested by Mr. Kershaw, the Hearing was temporarily adjourned at 10:35 a.m. so that contact could be made with the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) to provide representation at this Hearing.

The Hearing reconvened at 10:55 a.m. Nony Howell, Sanitarian, was in attendance, along with Messrs. Morris and Wright. Ms. Howell stated that Mr. Kershaw’s system would need to be reinspected in order to be considered for exemption from being affected by the proposed amendment because the system was installed in 1989 or 1990 as “experimental,” an important distinction, requiring more careful scrutiny. Mr. Kershaw stated that he was not aware that when the mound system was installed that it was considered experimental. If the system passes inspection, he requested that the KCHD provide in writing that he is not required to hook into the new service system. Commissioner Pickrum stated that Mr. Kershaw will receive letters of confirmation from Ms. Howell and Mr. Morris.

It was also confirmed that this amendment will mandate that no further subdivision of any lots in the service area shall be allowed. It was noted that the language in this amendment was provided by the MDP and compliance is required in order for the County to receive funding for this project. The criteria of this amendment needs full compliance for addressing existing failing systems only. Mr. Kershaw also requested this information in writing by the KCDH .

The Commissioners approved this amendment as presented. A Resolution will be prepared for signatures.

This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 11:05 a.m.


THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND

Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant
Approved:

William W. Pickrum
President

Please contact the County Commissioner's Office at (410) 778-4600 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.