SYKESVILLE — It took two hours of questions and answers Monday night before the Planning Commission, for the second time in two months, deferred preliminary approval of the Boulder Hill Estates subdivision.
The seven-member board said it was concerned with the proposed storm water infiltration system, which would be a prototype for the town.
"One thing that hasn't been made clear to the board is that thereisn't a really good site on this property for a storm water pond as you know it," said Kristin Barmoy, chief of the county's Bureau of Storm Water Management.
The infiltration system, designed by Daniel R. Staley of DRS and Associates of Westminster, is a new concept in storm water management that is intended to provide better water quality and storage.
"The new system filters the water by running it through a perforated pipe wrapped in filter cloth buried in a trench, then filled with gravel," Staley said.
The system would cost $80,000to $100,000, roughly four times the price of a typical pond. With several hundred feet of pipe to be buried, town planners were concernedabout replacement costs in case of system failure.
Barmoy offereda revised plan for the infiltration system that would cut replacement costs to $3,800 by taking the storm water overland to a stone window filter in the trench. If the system fails, only the stone window filter would need replacement.
Commission chairman Dennis Karr said he was worried about the system being built on a hillside and having to cut down trees for construction.
The 19-home subdivision is on Oklahoma Avenue east of Second Avenue.
"It sounds like the trench has advantages, but it hasn't been tried on a hillside," Karr said. "Our new planning guidelines call for preserving wooded hills, and this doesn't do that. Is there a better location we could put it?"
Replied Staley, "The system was placed where it could meet the most water quality control and environmental issues."
Despite the board's refusal to approve the Boulder Hill plans, Town Manager James L. Schumacher said yesterday he will recommend approval of the infiltration system to the Town Council and Planning Commission.
"The redesign does allow us to maintain the system with less cost, and it does clean the water, which a pond doesn't," he said.
"There was concern about the trees, but that's a design problem, and you have to cut down some trees for a pond, too."