"It's premature for her to make a decision. I think she needs to read the position of MDE and the wetlands administrator," said Deputy Treasurer Susanne Brogan.

Some are urging the board to at least postpone a decision.

Jay Falstad, executive director of the Queen Anne's Conservation Association, contends that it is premature for the board to act on the application, arguing that it has not been properly reviewed by the Maryland Department of the Environment or by the county's planning commission. He said the board is being pressured to approve the project.

"With a 1,100-unit subdivision, what is being done to mitigate the stormwater runoff?"  Falstad asked. "To date, no one has seen anything. ... It would be irresponsible for the state to grant a wetlands license without a full review of this project."

Falstad's position has the support of two of Queen Anne's five county commissioners, while three have written a letter to the board urging approval of the permits. All five are Republicans.

Steve Arentz, president of the commissioners, called opponents' objections "irrelevant and unrelated" to the wetlands issue before the board.

"Quite simply, this project has met every criteria for development in our county and fits the smart-growth initiative as it is in a growth area, and meets the goal of being served by public water and sewer," Arentz said.

Schaller, the developer's lawyer, said there is no reason for further delay.

"This matter is ripe and ready for the board to act," he said.

michael.dresser@baltsun.co,

tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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