Opponents Of Care Site Bring In Expert Testimony

Hydrogeologists Saynearby Wells Threatened

November 10, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Experts for opponents to a proposed $5 million foster care complex in Fallston testified that drawing water for the facility could cause water levels in nearby wells to drop significantly.

Grant Andersonand Rob Schweinfurth, hydrogeology experts, testified at a zoning hearing Thursday that well water 200 feet from the proposed site of a main well for the complex could drop 8 feet.

Wells 500 feet from the complex's main pumping well could see a water level drop of 4 to 5 feet, said the two men, who work for Engineering Technology Associates in Ellicott City.

That testimony conflicted with experts at a previous public hearing hired by the United Methodist Board of Child Care, the non-profit group proposing a shelter at Harford and Reckord roads to care for up to 60 abused children.

Michael D. Haufler, of r.e. wright associates inc. in Westminster,testified at a previous hearing that water levels in wells located 500 feet from the main pumping well of the proposed center would drop less than a foot.

"We just reinterpreted the data used by r.e. wright using a different formula. The formula they used was inappropriate for the conditions," testified Anderson. "It was a shortcut."

Nearly 200 people attended the three-hour hearing Thursday, the fifth held on the proposal. A sixth zoning hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in the County Council chambers, Level A, of the Courthouse in Bel Air.

The agency is seeking a zoning exception for the property that is zoned for agricultural use.

Area residents opposing the project have cited two main objections: personal safety considerations and how water use would affect their water supply. Homes in that area of Fallston are dependent upon wells and private septic systems.

The Board of Child Care has obtained a permit from the Department of Natural Resources to draw up to 6,300 gallons of water a day from the proposed well.

Timothy Murphy, an opponent of the project who lives close to the site, testified Thursday that a copy of a waterbill for a similar shelter run by the Board of Child Care in Baltimore County shows that facility uses about 9,300 gallons of water daily. The shelter in Baltimore County on Gaither Road houses up to 70 teens.

Murphy entered a copy of the water bill, obtained from Baltimore City's Department of Public Works that supplies water for the Gaither Road facility. He entered the report into evidence with the assistance of People's Counsel Robert F. Kahoe Jr., representing citizens opposed to the project.

"I have some serious concerns about water usage and serious concerns about the septic system," said Murphy. "Myneighbor's drain field only lasted 10 years."

Murphy also introduced into evidence reports from the Woodlawn precinct of the BaltimoreCounty Police Department. Those reports showed police responded to 224 calls for assistance at the Gaither Road shelter in 1990.

"There were three calls about destruction of property, six breaking and enterings, one stolen vehicle, two suicide attempts and 93 calls for missing children or runaways," said Murphy reading some reasons for thecalls from the report.

Michael Leaf, a Bel Air lawyer representing the Board of Child Care, asked Murphy if he knew that the stolen vehicle report had been mistakenly called in by a shelter employee whose car had been repossessed.

"No," said Murphy.

"And have you asked anyone at the Board of Child Care to explain these other calls?" asked Leaf.

"No, I have not," said Murphy.

Joyce Glorioso, whose home is down the street from the proposed complex, was the only other person to testify Thursday. She was called by Kahoe to testify about the number of times the county Sheriff's Office has responded to calls in her area.

However, Leaf objected, saying the police spokesman who gave Glorioso the figure "works right across the street and could be subpoenaed."

Hearing examiner William F. Casey agreed to deny allowing the information. He said a sixth zoning hearing would bescheduled in three weeks to hear further testimony and rebuttals.

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