Windsor OKs planning review proposal NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

November 09, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The New Windsor Town Council has approved a resolution to adopt development review procedures that will bring the town in line with a state law that took effect Oct. 1.

Steve Horn, the county planner for the town, brought the matter to the council's attention last Wednesday during the monthly meeting. He stressed the importance of complying with the law, which is meant to minimize the harm done to the Chesapeake Bay by growth.

"To make sure that the town meets the deadline the state required as part of the law, they have to adopt review procedures for construction projects that include the use of state funds in some form," Mr. Horn said.

The state law encourages concentration of development in areas where the environmental impact is minimal and public utilities and infrastructure are adequate, Mr. Horn said.

It stemmed from legislation passed in 1987, the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, and shifts authority and accountability from the state to local jurisdictions for development in environmentally sensitive areas such as flood plains, steep slopes and watersheds, he said.

If a construction project does not comply with the law, the state can withhold funds unless the applicant can prove that circumstances make compliance impossible or the town can change the project to make it comply.

The law would affect projects such as the town's recent upgrading of its lagoon sewer system, Mr. Horn said.

"The state is looking for some kind of consistency between the town zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and the town's master plan," Mr. Horn said. "The plans are in place, but the law is saying they need to be consistent because we are still seeing uncontrolled growth in some areas."

"I guess if we ever want any state funding, we don't have a choice, right?" asked Councilman Terry Petry.

Councilwoman Rebecca H. Harman said, "It doesn't look like anything earthshaking."

"This resolution is nothing really new to you because you already ask the planning commission to look over projects and recommend them for approval," Mr. Horn told the council. "You have a procedure. You are just committing to writing them down in an organized manner."

Without reading the entire document, council members OK'd Mr. Horn's resolution to adopt the procedures.

The law requires that the town's master plan be brought into line with state regulations by July 1, 1997. The county is working with the town to ensure that the deadlines are met, Mr. Horn said.

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