Role of conservation district unaffected by bill, county says

August 24, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

County officials said yesterday they think members of the Soil Conservation District misinterpreted a bill they thought would cut them out of the county's building review process for controlling runoff.

The bill will not affect the district's role, said Tom Andrews, the county's top environmental official. The district will still be able, as required by state law, to approve a developer's erosion and sediment control plan when they apply for a grading permit. In addition, the agency will approve permits for ponds for gathering storm water.

Mr. Andrews said that the county deserves some credit for eliminating waivers for controlling runoff within 100 feet of the shoreline.

After meeting yesterday with Mr. Andrews, some soil conservation district members said they still do not want mention of their agency to be stricken from the county's storm water management regulations.

"Either they change it or we'll oppose [the bill]," said Clifton Wayson, chairman of the district's Board of Supervisors. The bill to revise storm water management regulations comes before the County Council tonight for a public hearing. The hearing is sched

uled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

Mr. Andrews said the bill is not a rewrite of those regulations, but "is a very narrow, focused bill" that addresses requirements of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The bill also does some housekeeping in the code, which is where some of the misunderstanding might have occurred, Mr. Andrews said. It eliminates the storm water management commission, which has not met for more than three years.

It also deletes reference to the soil conservation district's participation in reviewing storm water management plans before their approval by the Department of Public Works.

Since all subdivision review and approval was transferred last year from Public Works to the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement, the section mentioning Public Works was eliminated from the bill.

But board members are still insisting that mention of their agency not be eliminated from county code.

"Since Public Works is no longer involved, eliminate Public Works and replace it with PACE, which is doing the review," said Lina Vlavianos, a board member. "But do not eliminate the Soil Conservation District."

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