Public Hearings - Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Amendment
PUBLIC HEARING - January 6, 2015
Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Amendment
A public hearing was held today at 6:24 p.m. in the County Commissioners’ Hearing Room, County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, MD, for the purpose of discussing the comprehensive water and sewer plan amendment. The purpose of the hearing is to review and receive comments on the proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Water & Sewerage Plan to include the connection of the Delta Heights Condominium Project/Tolchester Village to the Fairlee water service district.
County Commissioners William Pickrum, Ronald Fithian, and William Short were in attendance as well as Ernest Crofoot, County Administrator, Mike Wojton, Deputy Director, Water and Wastewater, Wayne Morris, W&T Consulting, Ryan Rangel, PE, McCrone, Inc., Christopher Drummond, Esq. Counsel, and Kate Weaver, President, Fifth Management & Consulting, Inc.
Commissioner Pickrum read the public notice in record. Commissioner Pickrum read a letter from Elizabeth Morris, Chairman, Planning Commission dated November 19, 2014. Ms. Morris states that at the November 2014, meeting the Planning Commission reconsidered the County’s proposal to amend Chapter 3, Section 3.5.9 (Water/Water Supply Systems/Delta Heights) by extending a water line from the Fairlee Service District to serve Tolchester Village. The Planning Commission voted to make a favorable recommendation to the Commissioners, noting the proposed extension of water service is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and the installation of the water line places the County in a desirable position to address a potential public health emergency situation in nearby Tolchester Estates which is already served by the County sewage system.
Mr. Wojton provided a brief overview of a proposed project that may involve County participation. A discussion ensued relating to estimated costs, financing, and repayment options. Commissioner Fithian stated that the purpose of the public hearing is to hear comments regarding the amendment of the water and sewerage plan. Commissioner Fithian also stated that negotiations between Fifth Investments and Mr. Crofoot are ongoing, and counsel should continue to work out the details to the Board’s satisfaction. Commissioner Short stated it is important that the public understand the purpose and scope of the proposed project.
Mr. Rangel gave an overview of the proposed project with a power point presentation. Commissioner Pickrum invited comments and questions from the audience. No one signed the testimony log, there were no additional comments. Mr. Rangel explained the opportunity for cost sharing. Preliminary USDA response indicated up to a $950,000.00 grant toward the total project costs if Tolchester Beach is served; and $745,000.00 if line is not oversized to serve Tolchester Beach. Approximately $500,000.00 would be needed in a USDA loan.
Commissioner Fithian asked Ms. Weaver how many units were occupied. Ms. Weaver did not have an exact number but guessed approximately 1/3 to 1/4 occupied.
Commissioner Fithian announced that he was informed by Mr. Crofoot of a potential ethics charge that may be be filed by a citizen, if he voted in favor of this amendment. Commissioner Fithian was questioned about Rock Hall Properties and any potential personal financial gain. Rock Hall Properties employs Cindy Genther and Robin Fithian. Rock Hall Properties is not and never will be associated with Fifth Investment, LLC. Mr. Drummond further emphasized that Fifth Investments, LLC. is a Laskin family trust and Commissioner Fithian has no affiliation with any entities associated with this project.
Mr. Crofoot announced that comments will be received in the County Commissioners’ Office through Friday, January 9, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.
The hearing was taped for reference and the Commissioners adjourned the public hearing at 6:55 p.m.
Sondra M. Blackiston, Clerk
William W. Pickrum, President
The County Commissioners
Of Kent County, Maryland