The Cecil County Board of Commissioners wants to know more about the underground water supply serving the small community of Appleton before deciding whether to approve a planned 300-home golf course development.
Officials are worried about whether there is enough water to serve the development proposed by Newark, Del.-based Aston Development Group Inc. and the scattering of homes in this rural section of the county.
"Water seems to be the main concern," Commission President Nelson K. Bolender said at the end of a public hearing Tuesday night on the company's request for an amendment to the county's new master water and sewage plan that would allow the developer to use well water and the public sewage system for its project.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to ask the Maryland Department of the Environment or the Maryland Water Resources Administration to review the Aston Pointe development plan before the board votes on the amendment.
The amendment is part of the regulatory process. The company still needs preliminary and final plat approval from the county before breaking ground, according to Eric Sennstrom, director of planning and zoning.
About 500 residents attended Tuesday's hearing, which was moved to the Cecil Community College because the county administration hall was too small. Of the nearly 50 who testified on the proposed amendment, all but six were opposed.
Russell Holland of Elkton expressed the concern of many when he said the development "would deplete the water supply of surrounding homes."
Others warned that if Aston were allowed an amendment to the water and sewer plan approved in July, it would open the door for other developers to change the law to accommodate their projects.
Bolender announced that no additional public hearing would be held before commissioners take a final vote on the amendment. No date was set for the vote.