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Carroll County Water & Sewer master plan up for triennial update, first briefing

The Carroll County Planning Department briefed the Board of Commissioners on its triennial update to the county’s Water and Sewer Master Plan Thursday.

The plan in place was approved in 2014, and is required to be updated every three years by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Lynda Eisenberg, acting director of the Planning Department, said amendments made since 2014 will also be incorporated in the update, as will other changes that have been largely influenced by information from other jurisdictions and the completion of the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan — the 10-year planning document used for the Freedom Area.

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“In order for a project to be permitted by MDE, it has to be listed in the Water and Sewer Master Plan,” said Senior Planner Price Wagoner on Jan. 10. “So we’ve got a couple major changes in this plan. The biggest one is the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan was adopted in October.

“In order for the water sewer plan to work with future land use in Freedom as proposed and adopted,” he said, “some had to go from ‘priority’ [planning] to ‘future,’ or ‘long-range’ moved to ‘priority.’ ”

Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, noticed a property north of Century High School had been placed on the priority list although it had no planned projects in the past.

“The developer would extend the water and sewer lines, this plan just enables that to be able to happen,” said Eisenberg. “Then they can get the permitting then, because [otherwise] MDE will go back and look at this plan and say, ‘Well, you are in no planned service, you can’t extend the lines’ — even if it’s right there.”

“Which now makes it more marketable,” Rothstein said.

But Eisenberg said that MDE still has to approve the final plan after commissioners approve it, and until that happens the 2014 water and sewer plan will be in place.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, was concerned about the Pleasant Valley and Bark Hill area — whether there were any plans to extend water and sewer service there if it were needed in the future.

“There is no plan for it right now,” Wagoner said. “I’ll get to that more next time. What’s on the ground today is what they have.”

“I’ve got how many rural villages in my district?” Wantz said. “There’s always the challenge for some pockets in those villages, to get the right water — and more specifically, sewer — because that’s a problem in a lot of these areas as well.”

Eisenberg said the Planning Department will look at potential options for the area and share those at the next meeting, on Thursday — as the Jan. 10 meeting was the first of three — but that it is “very tricky” because Pleasant Valley is a designated rural village, an area covered by anti-sprawl measures that limit growth-related state funding for infrastructure.

“It is dedicated as part of that priority area funding bucket, not full-fledged priority funding area,” she said. “You cannot expand really beyond the rural village.”

She recommended commissioning a sewage study to assess the area for potential future septic issues and said that concerns about the area will be addressed.

The introductory presentation will be followed by a full discussion and then a public hearing.

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