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Area included in moratorium on sewerage hookup grows; Growth along peninsulas to be temporarily blocked


Correcting what county officials say was an oversight, a Baltimore County councilman has expanded the area to be covered by a proposed sewerage hookup moratorium on Bowleys Quarters and Back River Neck peninsulas, aimed at temporarily blocking new development.

Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat, said yesterday that officials neglected to include in the moratorium a section of Bowleys Quarters reaching north to Edwards Lane. The previous boundary was Susquehanna Avenue.

Last week, a bill was introduced in the County Council suspending new agreements for the sewerage hookups needed for new homes, while the county planning board develops growth-management controls.

The moratorium would prohibit building on about 1,300 lots along the two peninsulas until the ban ends in June.

Gardina said the plan's purpose is to curb growth where a sewer system is being built to replace failing septic systems. A study will be conducted this spring to determine what would be sufficient sewerage capacity for the area, he said.

While welcoming expansion of the moratorium, community leader Thomas Lehner said the entire area, which includes expensive waterfront properties, should be better protected through legislation or county master plan details with longer-lasting consequences.

"All of this is being done without full communication with us," said Lehner, president of the 300-member Bowleys Quarters Improvement Association. "Some officials say they are talking with us but actually they have not done this. This entire area needs constant protection."

The sewer system was intended to serve about 1,200 existing homes but has the capacity to handle twice that number, according to Michael H. Davis, a spokesman for County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

Some residents have said that while the moratorium protects undeveloped land, it would hinder local property owners who would not be able to build homes on land handed down to them by family.

On the Back River Neck Peninsula side, residents have been battling authorities for public sewerage for nearly 20 years.

"The county is 10 years behind its own program to correct the situation," said Alfred Clasing, an activist and first president of the Back River Neck Peninsula Association. "At least some action is finally occurring but we won't be satisfied until all of the families will finally have water and sewage."

Frank J. Brush, executive director of the Essex-Middle River Chamber of Commerce and lifelong resident of Middle River, said many feel the moratorium is "stopgap."

"More thought has to go into what we can and can't do," Brush said. "First, residents need clarification, and the county has to come up with an equitable method for all."

Officials say the moratorium will help the environment where waterways flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

Pub Date: 2/25/99

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