Woodbine farm needs water and soil tests


Ed Primoff will have to pay for soil and well tests on his farmland before his application for a 41-lot subdivision can be approved, the county commissioners decided yesterday.

The county Health Department recommended the tests, a hydrogeological study. Such a recommendation is not common but seemed necessary considering the potential impact of the tightly clustered development on well and septic systems, said Charles Zeleski of the Health Department.

"It's been a long time since we've had a development this size on well and septic," Zeleski said.

Primoff's plans to develop his 190-acre farm near Woodbine under a contentious new zoning law - that he helped create - have drawn attention from all corners of the county. Several people contend that Primoff stands to gain significant money by developing under the new law, but he says he could have made more under the old statute. His proposal would keep more of the land in open space and demonstrate the benefits of the new law to the rest of the county, he says.

The county's subdivision advisory committee will hold a hearing on Primoff's plans at 2 p.m. Friday in the County Office Building.

Health officials said they don't expect the hydrogeological study to impede Primoff's plans.

"I think it's a good idea," Primoff said.

Zeleski said the study probably would cost Primoff at least $3,000 and possibly much more. It could take three weeks, but well tests could extend the time, Zeleski said. Such studies can help developers because they provide a blueprint for the best way to build on a tract, Zeleski said.

The study will determine soil quality and depth, the availability of well water and the depth of underlying flat rock.

This information is key when houses are clustered, Zeleski said, giving the developer an idea where to configure lots, build roads and drill for water.

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