A limited water supply might force a reduction in the size of a proposed development that would be the first major subdivision in Union Bridge -- one that might double the town's population.
Hampstead developer Martin K. P. Hill wants to build 317 homes, and permission from the Maryland Department of the Environment to pump enough water to sustain the subdivision from a well at the 120-acre property.
Hill was seeking approval for 124,000 gallons a day -- enough for more than 500 homes, based on the state's projection of 230 gallons a day per household.
But the department has allocated only 42,300 gallons -- enough for 184 homes. That would mean a reduction in the size of the development unless Hill can acquire additional water capacity for the property on Route 75 owned by Towson dentist G. Jackson Phillips.
The 317 homes proposed by Hill would likely double Union Bridge's population of 930.
Town government has an agreement with the property owner that he will supply enough water to meet the needs of sub-division residents. If the well cannot, "They'll have to cut down on the number of units," said Councilman Selby M. Black, town water and sewer committee chairman.
Hill could not be reached for comment this week.
Attorney Gordon D. Fronk, who represents Phillips, said the property owner and developer are "not alarmed by what we've learned. We're working through it. It's all part of the permitting process."
Matthew G. Pajerowski, chief of MDE's water rights division, said the allocation for Hill's development was derived by balancing the amount that would be pumped and the amount replaced by precipitation, along with protection of the underground supply for neighbors' wells.
"We have to be aware that these individuals have water for their wells," Pajerowski said.
Pajerowski said if Hill wants to appeal, he can conduct a longer well test than that conducted by the state, which might show greater ground-water capacity than the MDE finding. He also might be able to borrow some town capacity.
The town is authorized to pump 166,000 gallons a day from its lone well -- a limit that also will apply to a planned replacement well to be drilled on Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company property.
Although Union Bridge is pumping up to 166,000 gallons of water a day, the town could "recapture" some water by repairing leaks, Pajerowski said. MDE estimates that the town system loses 55,000 gallons of water a day between its well and customers' homes.
The town could share some of the recaptured water with the developer, Pajerowski said.
"That's all fine and dandy, but it's very expensive to correct an infiltration and inflow problem," Town Manager James L. Schumacher said of the water system's leaks.
Schumacher said the developer might share some of the cost, but the rest would have to be covered by a state grant because the town doesn't have the money.
State money should be available under Gov. Parris N. Glendening's "smart growth" initiative, Schumacher said.
The governor's proposal, formally presented Tuesday to the state legislature, would direct much of the state's spending on infrastructure -- including grants for water and sewer systems -- to existing population centers and designated growth areas.
Pub Date: 1/31/97