Planning staff to mediate between town, developer Hampstead worried about water problems at Hill's Farms IV

January 03, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

County planning officials say they will try to referee a long-simmering dispute between the town of Hampstead and builder Martin K. P. Hill.

Phil Rovang, county planning director, said his staff will "act as facilitators" at the Jan. 10 meeting concerning Mr. Hill's North Carroll Farms IV project.

In addition to Mr. Hill, who has built more than 800 homes in Hampstead in the past decade, representatives of CSX Corp., the State Highway Administration and the town are to discuss potential drinking water contamination and other issues concerning the planned 220-unit development.

No homes have been built, but the developer has completed roads and water and sewer facilities.

County and town officials said storm-water facilities have been inadequate, allowing runoff to flood portions of an adjacent town park, which contains two "active, high quality" wells that provide part of Hampstead's drinking water.

"We're concerned about the potential contamination of the wells, damage to city property and potential flooding for Route 30," Mr. Rovang said. "This is one of those things we feel needs to be resolved."

Cornelius M. "Neil" Ridgely, Hampstead's town manager and zoning administrator, said the water quality has improved since the county ordered Mr. Hill to take corrective actions. But he said town officials are still concerned about the volume of water flowing across town property, which includes tennis courts and a basketball court.

"Water quality has been our main concern all the time," Mr. Ridgely said. "But we don't want to lose use of our park either. We have put extra well caps on to eliminate any contamination for the time being."

Mr. Hill said the storm-water design plan is adequate for the development but acknowledged that problems with a pipe under Route 30 need to be addressed. He said flooding has occurred at the town site for years.

In November, Hampstead officials rescinded 50 building permits that would have allowed Mr. Hill to begin building houses at North Carroll Farms IV, citing runoff problems.

Mr. Hill has been barred from obtaining the already approved building permits until county inspectors and environmental officials certify that storm-water management systems are acceptable.

"We're looking for a resolution," Mr. Ridgely said. "His storm-water management design is having a very negative effect on town property."

In addition to flooding problems, Mr. Hill has wrangled for a year with CSX and state highway officials about an at-grade rail crossing that he needs to provide access to the proposed development.

Mr. Hill wants to extend Farm Woods Lane west to Route 30, but the SHA has refused to allow the closing of a nearby crossing on Greenmount Church Road, which CSX officials say is necessary.

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