Water pact to end development ban in northeastern Baltimore County


Baltimore City and Baltimore County have reached an agreement over new water facilities in Fullerton that will end a city-imposed moratorium on new development in a large section of the northeastern county.

The moratorium has been in effect since October.

At the time, the city said the major project that would be delayed because of the moratorium was the $200 million Oak Crest retirement community, planned on 85 acres at Joppa Road and Walther Boulevard in Carney by the owners of the Charlestown community in Catonsville.

Other development that might have been affected already was stalled by the recession, the county said.

Fred Walker, vice president of the company building Oak Crest Village, said yesterday work on infrastructure has begun at the site. First occupancy is scheduled for March, he said.

Baltimore owns and operates water facilities that serve parts of Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties as well as the city.

Under the agreement signed this week, the city will end the moratorium on the condition that Baltimore County completes the planned Fullerton Pumping Station and a connecting transmission pipe by December 1997.

The county also is to supply the city with a detailed schedule of the Fullerton Pumping Station and Transmission Main projects within 30 days.

The city also retains the right to restrict water use in the area if weather or other problems affect supplies.

The county will be legally responsible for any problems that result from any water supply problems in the area, according to the agreement, which was signed by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and County Administrative Officer Merreen E. Kelly, acting as county executive.

County Executive Roger B. Hayden, back at work this week after undergoing brain surgery in May, said, "I feel good about the fact that we were able to sit down with the city and reach agreement" without any acrimony.

The county had delayed construction of the $10.4 million pumping station and the $6.1 million water line several times, which has led city officials to worry that continued growth in Carney, Perry Hall and Honeygo could strain the city's water facilities' reserve pumping capacity.

County officials argued that the same recession that delayed the Fullerton project had halted many developments, too, reducing projected demand for water.

The new station, based at the Fullerton site west of Belair Road and north of the Beltway on the north side of Ridge Road, would provide eight new pumps and a 96-inch pipe to connect the area directly to the Montebello water treatment plant in Baltimore.

After 2000, the county plans to build a water reservoir and treatment plant on the Fullerton site that would enable the county to pump water directly from the Susquehanna River, treat it at Fullerton and pump it out to area homes and businesses.

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