Council member vacates her seat

Union Bridge's Metcalf is moving to Taneytown

May 26, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Union Bridge Town Council has a vacancy to fill because one of its members has moved out of town and no longer can serve.

Dawn M. Metcalf sat among the spectators Monday night, rather than at the council seat she has held for 7 1/2 years, to receive thanks - and a red rosebush - from her colleagues. She said later that she and her husband have recently relocated their home and business, OSF Seamless Gutters, to the Taneytown area.

Mayor Bret D. Grossnickle said he and the council probably would conduct interviews and choose a successor within a few months. The next town elections are in May next year.

"It's been a challenge, but in all it's been a pleasure," said Metcalf, 38. "I think everybody who lives in a town should serve on the council. After working with the mayor and council, I know they have the best interests of the town and townspeople at heart, and that's a plus."

One thing Metcalf will not have to decide is the fate of a proposed ordinance that was devised to curb nuisance calls that tie up the town's deputy sheriff. After it was introduced and scheduled for a vote, the proposal drew heated attacks at a packed public hearing March 22.

After deciding to table a vote on the ordinance, the mayor appointed a committee, which includes residents and landlords, to study the proposal. The proposed ordinance calls for fines on residents or businesses that prompt multiple calls to police. The ordinance only specifies "excessive" calls, although it was aimed at a few rental properties that generated a large number of complaints because of annoyances such as loud music and arguing.

The council probably will vote on the ordinance at its meeting June 21. The meeting has been scheduled a week early to not conflict with the Maryland Municipal League meeting, Grossnickle said. It will not include another public hearing.

Councilman Jason F. Erb, chairman of the committee reviewing the proposal, asked that anyone with comments contact a committee member before June 21. Copies of the proposal are available at Town Hall and at two local businesses, Esquire Liquors and the Gun Cellar.

In other business, the council discussed a concern raised by its planning commission about the criteria used to figure the amount of water needed for future homes in a new development, The Villages at Union Bridge.

Town Consultant James L. Schumacher said the planning board projects a need for more gallons of water per unit than does the developer, Wormald Development Co.

Using the planning board's water-use rates, the developer could build 204 units, Schumacher said. But the developer's consultant used a lower rate to come up with a potential for 337 units. Wormald wants to build 244 single-family homes and 93 senior housing units.

"That's a big difference," said Schumacher, adding that there was no accounting for a reserve for possible emergency drought conditions. "We just want to err on the side of being high because it's water, and everybody wants to be careful."

The town prefers using a standard of 320 gallons per unit per day, Schumacher noted. The mayor and council agreed that he should review the criteria with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"I think they're low. ... Maybe we could meet in the middle," Grossnickle said of the developer's figures on the water needs.

The council also voted to spend $17,940 in state Program Open Space funds for improvements to the Union Bridge Community Park.

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