DNR considers creating wetlands in Union Bridge

November 23, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

A Department of Natural Resources representative told the Union Bridge Town Council last night that the department is "very interested" in creating a wetlands area on a small parcel of the property that is being subdivided and developed by Towson dentist G. Jackson Phillips.

Kevin M. Smith, a mitigation supervisor, said that it is too early to tell how much of the land could be developed into a wetlands area, but preliminary tests at the site show the land has potential.

Mr. Smith confirmed town officials' concerns that once the area is designated as wetlands, town use of the property would be severely limited. But he assured them that there are ways to work around problems that may arise.

"The intent is to create them [wetlands] and then leave them there," Mr. Smith said. "Generally, they are to be protected in perpetuity and not disturbed in the future."

"In, say, 20 to 30 years down the road you find you want to put sewer lines there, those wetlands will be regulated," he said.

Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. asked who would maintain the wetlands.

"What we have to do is create self-sustaining systems," Mr. Smith said. "What we always try to do is create some type of system where you can pretty much walk away from the thing."

The mayor and council also discussed an amendment to the town's zoning ordinance that would give more flexibility to developers building in the area.

Town Attorney John T. Maguire II said that one important change would eliminate easements, such as in the Phillips development, where the idea would be "to move the houses closer to Route 75 and create a much larger body of open space."

The amended ordinance would be open more to interpretation, which would put more responsibility on the Planning Commission to look at each planned development carefully, Mr. Maguire said.

The council and the Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 to discuss the proposed changes.

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