- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment stating that the county will not finalize its Watershed Implementation Plan, which is due July 2, until after the county receives a final report from the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center.
At the June 12 meeting, the commissioners had unanimously approved to submit for a technical assistance grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hire the EFC to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the county’s Phase II WIP.
The commissioners expect that the EFC’s analysis, completed in about eight months after the grant is awarded, will provide more cost-effective ways to achieve its derived nutrient reduction estimates.
Calvert County Environmental Planner David Brownlee said if the grant isn’t awarded, there isn’t a plan in place. He said the county should know in the next month if they received the grant.
The estimated cost of the Phase II WIP — $1.26 billion — is 5.4 times the county’s annual operating budget, according to the letter.
The letter also states that the county will continue to work with MDE to determine accurate nutrient reduction estimates. Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) said she doesn’t believe the MDE WIP model for the county has taken the amount of preserved land in the critical area into account. Currently, the county’s required percent reduction of nitrogen loads is greater than Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Charles counties, according to the letter.
The letter concludes with a list of five things the county has done in the past to reduce its impact on the environment: land application of sewage in two of the county’s three major town centers, two down-zonings in the rural area, implementing an agricultural preservation program, mandating clustering in major subdivision designs and voluntarily adopting a low phosphorus fertilizer application on county lands. Based on these actions, the county expected the estimates and cost to be “less than projected by the model.”
In other business:As part of the upcoming name change of the Department of Planning and Zoning to the Department of Community Planning and Building, there have been changes to improve the quality of services, which is where Terry Williams’ new job as the development navigator comes into play.
Chuck Johnston, the director of planning and zoning, presented Williams to the commissioners and explained what role she will play in the “improved” department.
“As we turn a corner with the services we provide, Terry is a key role,” Johnston said. “She will be there to eliminate the long jags and snags. She’s the facilitator.”
Although she will be dealing primarily with the more complex issues of permits, site plans and subdivisions, she stressed that she is there for all customer questions when needed.
Shaw said miscommunication happens “a lot” between customers and the department because “people don’t ask the right questions.” She added that it takes the “right personality” to overcome those situations and that Williams has it.
Williams has worked in the department for almost 21 years.