The holiday season – a perfect time to fulfill Maryland Department of the Environment’s request for an estimated number of Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) “for planning purposes.” With approximately “865 acres, more or less,” reclassified as immediate priority for development, that number would understandably be helpful in planning wastewater treatment.
Our county council is busy these days; but despite ongoing concerns since 2020 – or actually since 2003, when over 900 acres were annexed – planning issues are rarely mentioned. The few occasions we might recall could include an inquiry regarding a traffic study – once Resolution 281 had been adopted and concerning a development a fraction of the size of Lakeside.
That was several years ago. More recently a relatively modest five-figure dollar amount was identified during FY2024 budget deliberations as a contractor’s fee for studying the cost of growth. That was hopeful, yet our county seems to remain in a reactive mode. And we might all agree that this has become time-consuming.
Resolution 338 was introduced in February to include terms of the wastewater treatment permit finally issued to Lakeside in the county’s water and sewer plan (CWSP), but hasn’t yet had a hearing.
Talbot County’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan is in the ongoing process of being updated; but the council would be reminded by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in April, May and July of an August 31 deadline for submitting those EDUs.
Hoping to save time by submitting updated Town of Trappe maps with other (draft) 2023 Report of Review documents by the August 31 deadline, updated town maps (now one map including Lakeside, as annexed) were introduced at the August 8 council meeting.
Lacking sufficient time to approve the maps by August 31, Resolutions 347 and 348 would be considered by the planning commission at their October meeting. (Maybe next year. There’s still time.)
Resolution 347 would provide the estimated number of equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) requested in 2020; and MDE’s authority would be acknowledged.
Resolution 348 updates Town of Trappe and Lakeside maps – now one map, as annexed.
Resolution 338 includes terms of MDE’s wastewater treatment permit for Lakeside in the county’s CWSP, and would also be granted a hearing
With consensus required of town and county comprehensive plans, Resolution 347 would move Lakeside closer to inclusion in our 2026 Comprehensive Plan – despite still no mention of planning for the demands of such a large development upon infrastructure, or of safety concerns or the timing and financing required to address such issues? Good to go until 2036?
As we were reminded with the adoption of Resolution 281, the planning commission’s approval is required in order to receive a council vote. At the recent planning commission work session we were also reminded of the commission’s opinion that Resolution 338, possibly with modification of the periodic review of wastewater treatment, seems worthy of consideration.
Maintaining the rural character of our county and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens in a resilient community might be interpreted in many ways, but the planning commission also determined that Resolutions 347 and 348 would require further consideration in order to be found in compliance with the basic requirements of our comprehensive plan.
The planning commission’s next meeting is December 6. Comments and concerns are welcomed.
Carol Voyles is a member of the Democratic Forum and resident of Talbot County.