County officials discuss plans for water, sewer at quiet public hearing Talk at meeting focuses on Route 140 sewers

October 23, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

A 200-page draft detailing plans to build more water and sewer systems and improve existing ones in Carroll County drew little attention yesterday.

The plan, unveiled at a sparsely attended public hearing at the County Office Building in Westminster, must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners and the state Department of the Environment before it is enacted.

The draft details public water and sewer systems that serve the county's eight towns and the populous Freedom District -- all designated growth areas. About 40 percent of the county residents rely on the public systems.

"The plan covers the entire county and identifies possible problems," said Barbara C. Moser, county comprehensive planner. "Its major focus is on communities with water supply and sewer systems throughout the county."

Despite growing concerns about the public water supply, particularly in south Carroll, questions yesterday centered on sewer issues and most concerned a year-old controversy between the city of Westminster and a Route 140 business owner.

John Maguire, the attorney for Westminster Easy Storage, a newministorage company on Route 140 near the state police barracks, made one more appeal to have city sewer lines extended to the property at the south end of the Westminster business district.

"The city lines are now serving well into the county in many directions," Maguire said.

The extension would mean opening a new service area, a costly endeavor the city does not want to undertake, said Katrina Tucker, city planner.

"You cannot expect the city to provide land for a system because the county has zoned land for development," Tucker said.

The county is considering a rezoning petition for a farm that adjoins the storage business. If that application succeeds, the farm owner might make a similar request of the city.

"You can see the city is thinking about a domino effect should it extend its lines farther," said Commissioner Richard T. Yates.

A second farm less than a half-mile away along Route 140 is also for sale.

"Without public water and sewer, you are limited with what you can put in as far as business and industry," said Ray Anderson, an engineer with the state Water Management Administration.

However, the storage company has "no chance of appeal" with the state, Anderson said. "We prefer to have these thorny issues resolved at the local level."

Once the commissioners approve the plan, it will go to the state, which then has 90 days to decide on it.

Pub Date: 10/23/98

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