Towns of Garrett County- Deer Park, Maryland

Located about 5 miles south of Deep Creek Lake, Deer Park, Maryland is known for a historic resort hotel that once stood there. A small train town, Deer Park was a booming industry in the late 1800’s. The B & O Railroad dropped off many prestigious guests at the Deer Park Hotel for a fun, relaxing weekend in Mountain Maryland. In fact, President Grover Cleveland honeymooned here in 1886. The Deer Park Hotel is long gone, however, The Deer Park Inn Bed and Breakfast still offers an elegant French cuisine.

With a population just over 400 residents, Deer Park is once again ready for growth. With new sewer and water lines, the town is planning new construction projects and restoring historic buildings. For more information, please visit http://www.visitdeepcreek.com/pages/SouthernGarrettCounty.

FUN FACT: You know Deer Park Natural Spring Water? Yes, this is the same Deer Park! The popular bottled water comes from springs right here in Deer Park, Maryland.

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Garrett County approves revised wind farm project plans

Garrett approves revised wind farm project plans
Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — On Tuesday county officials approved a revised project plan for a proposed Garrett wind farm, putting developer Constellation Energy one step closer to building an electrical substation and 28 wind turbines atop Backbone Mountain near Eagle Rock.

The Maryland Department of the Environment halted work last week on the site of a planned electrical substation along Eagle Rock Road due to issues with water runoff and erosion controls. MDE spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus said an erosion and sediment control fence at the site had been improperly installed, and the project plan was inadequate to handle the volume of water flowing from the site.

The Garrett Soil Conservation District’s approval of Constellation’s revised plan is the first step toward resuming construction. Stoltzfus said she expected the silt fence would be fixed Tuesday and an MDE inspector will visit the site Wednesday to look over the changes and give the necessary approval to proceed.

Crews began clearcutting timber and building access roads on the substation site in mid-March. Clearcutting and other preliminary work has continued at the proposed wind turbine sites, strung along the mountain ridge northeast of the substation site.

Stoltzfus said MDE is investigating whether or not to bring penalties against Constellation.

The Garrett Soil Conservation District’s decision came on the same day that county residents and Constellation representatives spoke in support of the project at the Garrett County Commission meeting.

David Wagner, manager of the Commercial Analysis Group with Constellation Energy, said afterward that he plans to attend commission meetings regularly to keep a close connection with the community as the project moves forward.

Marvin White, a farm owner who said four turbines are planned for his property, told the commission he supports the project because it will create well-paid jobs and allow the county to produce clean energy.

“A lot of people are against these wind turbines, but do you want to build a nuclear powerhouse or a big coal powerhouse up there? Which would you rather see?” White said. “This county was built on cutting timber and coal mining.”

But other neighbors have voiced their opposition to the project, especially since construction work began in recent weeks.

Eric Robison, whose Eagle Rock Road home sits nearly adjacent to the substation site, filed a formal public information request with the county on Tuesday seeking documents including a copy of the site plan overview and the county’s review of the Constellation project under the Garrett County Sensitive Areas Ordinance.

Robison, who owns a construction company, said he’s concerned that the project plans have not been thoroughly reviewed by county, state and federal officials for their environmental impact on those areas.

Under state law, county officials have 30 days to respond to the information request.

Constellation Energy plans to build 28 wind turbines atop Backbone Mountain in Garrett County. The state Department of the Environment stopped work last week due to issues with water runoff and erosion controls.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Water runoff issues stall Garrett wind farm construction

Problems expected to be quickly resolved
Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

Cumberland — DEER PARK — Construction on Western Maryland’s first wind farm could resume within days, despite some residents’ protests, pending a green light from the Garrett Soil Conservation District and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Twenty-eight wind turbines, measuring about 415 feet tall, are slated to go up along Garrett County’s Backbone Mountain, in an area south of Deer Park near Eagle Rock.

Work began March 16 on the project, owned by Baltimore-based Constellation Energy. Workers clearcut several acres of timber from the mountainside before MDE halted construction after one week, pointing to major issues related to water runoff, erosion and sediment.

MDE spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus said construction was halted because of “sediment-laden water” flowing from the site, which the project’s erosion and sediment controls could not adequately manage. She said the developer cannot proceed until an engineer revises the plans and they are approved by the Garrett Soil Conservation Office.

“The volume of the water on the site appears to be more than the controls they have in their current plan,” she said. “That’s why it’s really important to have an engineer work up a new plan, because sediment from stormwater runoff is a serious threat to water quality.”

Soltzfus said a second major problem related to an erosion and sediment control fence, called a “super silt fence,” that was not installed at the required depth of at least 8 inches below the ground’s surface.

Constellation is already working to correct the issues and move forward with construction. On Monday the developer’s revised plans reached the Garrett Soil Conservation District office. District Manager Shaun Sanders said his office hadn’t yet completed its formal review of the revised plans, but after preliminary review they looked “about 90 percent adequate.”

Sanders said some parts of the revised plan related to sediment control were returned to the developer for further changes, but he expects that Constellation will comply with the additional requests and that his office will complete its review of the plans within one or two days after the final version is submitted. Constellation has until April 5 to submit the final plan revisions.

Constellation spokesman Larry McDonnell said the developer has worked out a solution to the issues with input from all relevant agencies, including MDE, the Garrett Soil Conservation District and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The issues appear to be resolved, if not today then hopefully by tomorrow,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell said he had few specifics on the plan revisions but said the silt fence will now be anchored by up to 12 inches of stone.

Soltzfus said MDE “may or may not” enforce penalties on Constellation for operating out of compliance with state regulations.

MDE halted the construction after receiving complaints from neighboring residents that Constellation’s erosion and sediment controls did not comply with state environmental law.

Eric Robison, who lives adjacent to the project and is the owner of a construction company, said he examined the site and the project permits and believed that the controls “weren’t even remotely correct.”

Robison and other nearby property owners also object to what they say was a complete lack of review of the project’s impact on environmentally sensitive areas.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Clear-Cutting Project For Wind Turbines Abruptly Halted By MDE

Clear-Cutting Project For Wind Turbines Abruptly Halted By MDE

Mar. 25, 2010

Work began in earnest this past week in clearing forest land near Eagle Rock just south of Deer Park for the erection of over two dozen 400-plus-foot wind turbines, the first to be erected in Garrett County.
The project calls for the placement of 28 turbines along that section of Backbone Mountain, with an additional 17 in the Roth Rock area of the same mountain ridge, just south of Red House.

Startled residents in the Eagle Rock area, some located within just 15 or 20 feet of the project, used words such as “shocked” and “horrified” when they were awakened by the sound of chainsaws, trucks, dozers, and massive excavating machines felling thousands of trees adjacent to their properties. Several acres of forestland timber were leveled within a matter of a few days.

The project, however, came to an abrupt halt Tuesday after one of the residents – who happens to be a contractor – suggested that the work was being done in a manner that was not in compliance with state environmental law.

“I don’t think they counted on someone living up there who knows all about such things as excavation and building permits,” said Eric Robison, who recently constructed his own new home close to the site.

Evidently Robison’s concerns were legitimate, as the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) ordered Constellation Energy and the contractor, All Construction Inc., Mt. Storm, W.Va., to immediately cease any further grading or disturbance activities, take corrective action to eliminate the discharge of sediment-laden water, and submit to the Garrett Soil Conservation District a revised erosion and sediment control plan to address the current plan’s sediment control deficiencies.

More specifically, according to MDE information office spokesperson Jay Apperson, a super silt fence was not properly installed at least eight inches below the ground surface, and consequently sediment laden water was flowing under and around the fence.

In addition, he said, the volume of water flow on the site appears to be much greater than the controls required by the current erosion and sediment control plan can effectively handle to prevent significant sediment flow off site.

Melisa and Justin Carrico, who reside directly across the street from the site where a high-voltage substation is to be constructed for the wind farm, contacted the Garrett County commissioners, requesting that they come out to the site to observe what was taking place. The commissioners declined the invitation, but agreed to meet with the Carricos at the courthouse Tuesday morning.

Among those present besides the Carricos were Commissioners Ernie Gregg and Fred Holliday, county administrator Monty Pagenhardt, and Robison, a neighbor of the Carricos.

“I feel as though I have lost all faith in the government to protect me,” Melisa Carrico told the commissioners in a prepared statement. “To know that what happened to me will happen to many other families, neighborhoods, and environments in Garrett County is absolutely unacceptable.”

She criticized the commissioners, saying that what is happening to her and her neighbors is an “act of destroying my safety, my environment, my property, and my community.”

“Yet you act as though you had no idea, and that you are sorry for about being part of a county government that obviously doesn’t protect its citizens,” she said.

Robison estimated the value of his new house to be at least $400,000, but acknowledged that this figure is now greatly diminished because of the project.

“Numerous groups have suggested many times that safety precautions, as well as environmentally sound practices, be implemented,” Carrico continued. “It is evident that we, the citizens of this county, were not protected. On every occasion nothing was done. You had seven years to stand up and protect us. That is your job.”

Justin Carrico said that among the reasons they purchased their house, valued at nearly $200,000, where it is was because of its quiet, pristine location, and the beauty of the forests.

“It’s certainly not quiet anymore,” he said, “and the forest right across the road, where I enjoy turkey hunting, has been leveled.”

Concern was also expressed about the damage to Eagle Rock Road, with Robison saying that it is literally being destroyed by the heavy equipment.

“That road really does not have an adequate base under it anyway, and there’s not going to be much of it left,” he said.

Reportedly, Constellation Energy will be responsible for repair and/or replacement of the road, according to the commissioners.

Melisa Carrico repeatedly asked the commissioners what they were going to do to help her and her neighbors, but Gregg and Holliday did not respond initially. Finally, Commissioner Gregg said, “I don’t know, Melisa. I don’t know.”

After hearing about the alleged violations at the site, the commissioners did say they would immediately contact the various permitting agencies involved, as well as John Cook, enforcement officer for the MDE.

Cook later confirmed that the project had been shut down, at least temporarily, and referred the matter to Apperson at the information office.

When asked what the next step would be for the contractor to be able to resume work at the site, Apperson said that he would have to install the super silt fence properly, devise and implement corrective action to eliminate the discharge of sediment-laden water as soon as possible, and have an engineer submit a revised erosion and sediment control plan to address the current plan’s sediment control deficiencies to the Garrett Soil Conservation District for review and approval.

He said that if the revised plan is not approved by April 5, the contractor would have to stabilize the entire site and not disturb earth until a revised plan is approved and implemented.

In addition, he would be required to submit copies of self-inspections for the site.

“MDE is reviewing the situation at the site to determine if the stream of water discharging from Eagle Rock Road should be considered to be state waters,” Apperson said, “in which case a waterway construction permit with additional requirements will be needed.”

Read the rest here.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350