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Planning Commission concerned with state law’s effects

By AMANDA HARRISON

Staff writer

The St. Leonard Town Center Master Plan update will proceed as normal toward approval after the planning commission discussed concerns about a state law’s impact on the town center.

During a special meeting Oct. 3, the Calvert County Planning Commission raised concerns about how the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 would affect St. Leonard’s designation as a priority funding area and its being planned for a public sewerage system in the county’s comprehensive plan.

During an update of the town center’s master plan Nov. 14, Jenny Plummer-Welker, one of the county’s principal planners, assured the commission there was no need for concern.

The planning commission unanimously agreed to continue with the master plan update process.

The Sustainable Growth and Preservation Act, also known as the septic bill or growth tier act, requires local jurisdictions to adopt tier maps to identify where major and minor residential subdivisions may be located within that jurisdiction and what type of sewerage system those subdivisions may be served on.

According to a memo from Plummer-Welker, St. Leonard is proposed to be designated in Tier II, or areas planned for public sewerage. In the Calvert County Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan, St. Leonard is designated as S-5, or “areas where improvements to, or construction of, a new shared facility, community and/or multi-use water systems” through the 10-year period of the comprehensive plan.

One of the concerns from the planning commission was whether anything would happen from the state level if the county didn’t install a public sewerage system, but the area remained planned for such a system in the tier map.

The memo states that Jason Debow, a planner with the Maryland Department of Planning, said “land can stay in Tier II as long as it is planned for sewer and is mapped as a growth area in the comprehensive plan,” during a conference call Oct. 15 with county staff.

In addition, county staff asked MDP whether the county’s priority funding areas would be affected by the growth tier act.

“Recently MDP Planner Mike Paone stated to County staff that the State does not have any plans to reevaluate local jurisdictions’ Priority Funding Areas,” the memo states.

aharrison@somdnews.com