New Water Hearing Date Awaited

January 09, 1991|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

MOUNT AIRY — It's been more than a year since the Penn Shop Road Civic Association learned of a local builder's plan for a separate water and sewer system for three proposed developments south of town.

So group members -- concerned about the potential impact the adjacent project couldhave on their wells and septic systems -- figure they can wait another couple of months for continuation of last Thursday's hearing, called to give Frall Developers Inc. a chance to explain the project.

"I was very pleased that the state was willing to reschedule," said Karen McFarland, a Skyline Drive resident and vice president of the association.

Although an exact date has not been set, the hearing likely will resume the first week of March, Gary Setzer, director of the state Department of Natural Resources' water and mineral management program, said Monday.

At the association's request, the department arranged last week's hearing for public deliberation on Frall'srequest for a state permit needed for the sewer and water system.

The system would serve three developments Frall has proposed on 517 acres near Penn Shop Road south of town in Frederick County.

Setzer brought an unexpected halt to the hearing at Calvary United Methodist Church on South Main Street when Frall attorney William Fallon declined to make a presentation. Fallon's refusal left the 47 people in attendance groping for clear information about the project.

After a wandering, 2 -hour discussion, Setzer stopped the meeting and said another would be rescheduled when more information can be offered.

"It might be nice to give people an idea how this thing's going to come on line," Setzer said.

The developer can't be ordered to make a presentation, but Setzer said Frall will be asked to provide residents with visual aids and additional information.

Location of test wells drilled by Frall's engineering consultants and more detailed descriptions of effects on the surrounding water supply are typical of what Setzer said he'd like to see at the upcoming hearing.

"How he wants to present it is up to him," he said.

The next hearing could have been scheduled earlier, but Setzer said he was told that Frall's key engineering consultants would not be available during February. The department prefers to send notices of such hearing to affected residents four weeks in advance.

The association, which representsabout 40 households, began watching the matter in late 1989, when Frall requested that Frederick County reclassify the water-use designation of company properties.

The previous designation limited water use to wells and septic systems. Frall said the water needs of the roughly 500 single-family homes that make up the proposed developments cannot be met with individual wells.

The county granted the developer's request. A subsequent court challenge by the association failed, though the group continues to explore other avenues of appeal, McFarland said.

She said the group is not opposed to Frall's development plans, but is concerned about protecting the water supply.

"We are not against the development," McFarland said yesterday. "What we are striving for is responsible development. We just want to make sure it's something that would be beneficial for the neighborhood."

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