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Submission for preliminary approval must be completed by Oct. 1
By AMANDA HARRISONStaff writer
In an effort to reduce pollution and meet federal Clean Water Act limits on pollutants in waterways, the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act, or Senate Bill 236, is being put into effect, restricting residential developments served by septic systems.
The deadline for grandfathering such projects in Calvert County under the new law is Oct. 1, Calvert County Planning and Zoning Director Chuck Johnston said at the Calvert County Planning Commission meeting held June 20. By Oct. 1, a submission for preliminary approval must be made, followed by the approval of the preliminary plan by Oct. 1, 2016.
“Under the provision, [Oct. 1] is the deadline to submit a percolation test application to local health departments for a subdivision or to prepare a sealed and dated concept plan for a proposed subdivision,” a county news release states.
This new state law aims to “limit the disproportionate impacts of large subdivisions on septic systems on our farm and forest land, streams, rivers and Chesapeake and Coastal bays,” the bill’s executive summary states.
The law establishes four tiers of land use to identify the types of residential subdivisions, where they may be located and what type of sewerage systems they may have.
Tier I areas are currently served by sewage systems, Tier II areas are planned to be served by sewage systems, Tier III areas are planned for future growth on septic systems and Tier IV areas are planned for preservation and conservation and prohibit residential major subdivisions on septic systems, according to the bill’s highlights.
According to a news release from the county, staff is “working on a draft tier map to show the locations of tiers in the county in order to give clear guidance to developers and property owners.”
Chuck Johnston, director of planning and zoning, said, in reference to the drafts of the tier maps, that those property owners and developers who are planning to develop are not already on sewer, then “they need to move forward with the process today.”
The county’s final tier boundaries must be adopted by the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners by the end of this year.
The news release also states that the planning staff is “working to identify possible text amendments” that could result from the bill. Any text amendment revisions for the county also would have to be approved by the BOCC.