Need for new wells dampens development Amid confusion over projects, New Windsor applies limits NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

July 15, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Although New Windsor may soon overflow with development, it appears that, for the moment, the well has run dry.

The town government has placed a limit on development until a water source is found to supplement the town's current supply.

The restriction is an attempt by town officials to combat the confusion surrounding three planned development projects.

"I have discovered much confusion and misunderstanding between the Town Council, the citizens and the developers," Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. read from a prepared statement to developers July 7 during the monthly Town Council meeting.

"In an effort to safeguard and protect the interests of the residents of New Windsor, I feel it necessary to do a more detailed investigation into this situation," Mr. Gullo said.

Town Attorney Marker J. Lovell noted that engineers say a new source that pumps at least 100 gallons of water a minute is needed to handle the major projects -- including the construction of a new middle school -- that are scheduled for the next few years.

To supplement the 74 gallons a minute provided by the town's current water system, a well -- or several wells -- will be drilled on land the town and developers will negotiate to purchase.

Developers are restricted to building 12 units until such a water source has been found, Mr. Gullo said.

"While I abhor unnecessary delay and can appreciate the need for progress . . . my conscience is uneasy when it come to rushing forward without examining all foreseeable outcomes and without consulting the parties that may be able to give valuable input," Mr. Gullo said.

The developers of Blue Ridge Manor, Atlee Ridge and Springdale Village have worked for several years with town officials toward the construction of new residences.

But even the lengthy discussions that usually followed monthly council meetings did little to simplify complicated development issues for the town officials.

Mr. Gullo, who was elected in May, said the council has been continually puzzled about the financial arrangements, the types of structures being planned and other agreements between the town and the developers.

Mike Sponseller, the owner of the Frederick company Sponseller Homes and developer of the Atlee Ridge subdivision in New Windsor, said he did not expect Mr. Gullo to limit development in the town but that he can appreciate the mayor's concern.

"From the discussions I've had with the town, I believe they just want a clarifications on things," Mr. Sponseller said. "They've done nothing to impede us."

Contractor David C. Bullock agreed.

"You cannot expect a person, whether he appears inexperienced and young or whether he has been around the elements of development before, to understand everything immediately," said Mr. Bullock, developer of the Springdale Village community.

"He can't do everything overnight," Mr. Bullock added. "There are a lot of things to digest."

William Schneider, an executive member of the New Windsor Partnership, which is developing Blue Ridge Manor on Rowe Road, said he was worried about delays that might result from Mr. Gullo's caution.

"I don't think the limitations are going to hold us up, but we're very concerned that the new mayor is trying to play catch-up with what has gone on for the past three years," Mr. Schneider said.

"There has been a certain amount of trust between the town and us, and we've been trying to get people to understand what's going on," Mr. Schneider said.

Mr. Schneider, Mr. Bullock and Mr. Sponseller said they did not want the water negotiations to drag on for months before the town government and the developers could reach an agreement.

"There's a direction to go in, and everyone is going in the same direction," Mr. Sponseller said. "They [the Town Council members] aren't saying no to us [the developers]. They have pretty much said yes. They just want to be sure of what they are saying yes to."

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