Yesterday afternoon the Maryland Department of Environment published a decision that validates the near-universal call from citizens of Talbot County: RESET LAKESIDE!
POINT #1: The Developer DID get its long-awaited discharge permit for the new Lakeside sewer plant—a legal prerequisite for further development–to be built on the east side of Route 50 at the headwaters of pristine Miles Creek.
POINT #2: That MDE permit (actually a “final determination,” here) is for a 100,ooo gallon-per-day plant–less than 20% of the 540,000 gallons-per-day capacity the Developer assured Talbot County was the basis for the approval granted by the Council under Resolution 281 in 2020.
There you have it: the foundation for the County’s approval of Lakeside (flawed and inadequate as it was) just fell away. Kaput. Gone. Adios.
Consequently, Talbot County finds itself sitting with hundreds of acres of land legally designated as IMMEDIATE PRIORITY for development (and intended for high density residential, no less), but which has no sewer service at all. And MDE has just announced it will not be granted capacity as matters stand. So, what’s wrong with that picture??? Everything.
A year ago, our Planning Commission found Lakeside “inconsistent” with the Talbot County Comprehensive Plan, for other reasons completely (Lakeside adding pollution into La Trappe Creek). But had it known that the project would not get an MDE permit for the sewer capacity as the Developer represented, do you think the Commission would have designated the entire northern half of Lakeside for “immediate development” in the first place? Of course not.
Even the County Council majority, led by President Chuck Callahan–an outspoken supporter of Lakeside and provider of the key vote in March— likely would not have approved Resolution 281 had he known the promised MDE permit was not forthcoming.
Now, we must elect to the County Council candidates who will complete the job, who will adopt a resolution backing the Planning Commission and requiring Lakeside to be brought back for consideration anew. We still have to discuss, for the first time ever, schools and traffic and public safety—and whose tax money is going to pay for all that.
But now the developer has one more item to explain: Why would “immediate priority” be appropriate for a huge swath of land that has no sewer service?
And folks, YOU get the credit for MDE gutting Lakeside’s plan for sewer service. Exactly a year ago today, about two hundred citizens filled the Talbot County Community Center on Route 50 to object to MDE’s grant of a spray irrigation permit that would have allowed, on many days, up to 1.5 million gallons of treated sewage effluent to be sprayed on fields at the headwaters of Miles Creek, that genuinely pristine tributary of the Choptank. Not a soul spoke in favor. So many were articulate on differing points, each in their own way. Written comments of real impact were also submitted by experts and scientists, including those from ShoreRivers and Chesapeake Bay Foundation and elsewhere.
And—who knew—MDE responded. It took a year, but here we are.
The new Talbot County Council needs to finish the job. Vote for TIP endorsed candidates, Republican or Democrat, who have committed to “hit the reset button:” Lesher, Dappert, Haythe, Jackson, Kane, Mielke, Montgomery.
Go to ResetLakeside.org for more information.
The Talbot Integrity Project