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Deadline Dates For "Grandfathering" Private Septic Systems Approaching

May. 10, 2012

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners has announced important deadline dates and explained some provisions of a new Maryland law, effective July 1, that will affect land development with on-site sewage disposal or septic systems throughout the state, including Garrett County.

“We want to make sure the public is aware of this Maryland legislation,” said board chairman James Raley during the commissioners’ public meeting last Tuesday with Health Officer Rodney Glotfelty and Dof the Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development John Nelson.

The new statewide law, called the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, was recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly and was based on recommendations from the governor’s Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal, which had been charged with finding ways to address the impact of development with septic systems. State officials maintain that septic systems leach harmful nitrogen loads into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


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To comply with the new law and take advantage of its “grandfathering” provisions, the commissioners recommend that county property owners take note of several important deadline dates specified in the law if they plan to develop major subdivisions with seven lots or more.

Those deadline dates are as follows:

• July 1, 2012, for persons to apply for percolation tests on properties planned for subdivisions. After that day, major subdivisions of greater than seven lots may not be approved for utilizing on-site sewage disposal systems,

• Oct. 1, 2012, to submit preliminary plans for subdivisions with greater than seven lots utilizing on-site sewage disposal systems to Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development.

• Oct. 1, 2016, to have subdivision preliminary plan approval from Garrett County Planning Commission for major subdivisions utilizing on-site sewage disposal systems.

The new law amends both Maryland Health and Land Planning statutes.

“If property owners make application by July 1, 2012, we stand ready to do the necessary soil and percolation tests to meet the required plat approval deadlines,” Glotfelty said. “The important thing is to have the application to our office (Garrett County Health Department) for these large subdivisions prior to the July 1, 2012, deadline.”

For more information or to schedule percolation tests, persons can call the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 301-334-7760.

More here.

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Planning Dept. Provides Bldg. Permits Report

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Nov. 18, 2010

Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development staff members provided an update report on their recent activities and projects for the county commissioners on Tuesday.

Permits and Inspections Division chief Jim Torrington reported that the number of commercial permits issued between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of this year increased by nearly 281 percent, compared to the same period last year. This is mainly because of wind turbine construction, he noted.

In 2009, 21 commercial permits for taxable structures were issued during the first 10 months of that year. Eighty were issued for that same period this year.

The builder declared value of this year’s structures is nearly $156 million, or an increase of about 1,971 percent, when compared to last year’s value of $7.5 million.

Director John Nelson noted that Torrington’s office has received preliminary concept plans for four Marcellus shale drilling sites: one along Frazee Ridge Road and three along Old Morgantown Road.

He said the Marcellus Gas Advisory Committee met for the first time on Monday. It was primarily an orientation event in which group members reviewed information and went over what their responsibilities will be.

Nelson also reported that Garrett County Planning Commission members have reviewed and submitted their comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) draft.

Read the full article here.

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Garrett could make sprinkler system decision later this month

Just two contractors working in county authorized to install
Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The Garrett County Commission could decide as early as July 27 whether new homes built in the county should be required to contain automatic sprinkler systems.

The sprinkler requirement is included in the 2009 International Residential Code, adopted by the state of Maryland, which applies to one- and two-family homes. Counties can choose to adhere to the code as-is or to adopt it with local amendments.

That means it’s up to the commission to decide whether to adopt or opt out of the sprinkler requirement, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

The commission heard public comment on the proposed change during its meeting Tuesday, but only a few individuals spoke on the issue, including contractor Roger Sines of Roger Sines Construction Inc.

“I think it’s going to hurt the construction industry,” Sines said. “People are going to say, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ ”

Sines and other opponents of the change have argued that the added cost of a sprinkler system will deter people from building new homes in the county.

But proponents of the measure say it will make homes safer for occupants and firefighters, and could lower the cost of homeowners’ fire insurance.

Dennis Mallery, president of the Allegany-Garrett Counties Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association, wrote to association members in June that the sprinkler issue comes down to a question of safety.

“There should be no debate over this issue,” Mallery said in his letter to firefighters. “The WMHBA (Western Maryland Home Builders Association) continues to voice their concern that it is not the right time economically to require residential sprinklers in new 1-2 family homes. When is there a ‘right’ time? After a family member or firefighter is injured or killed?”

The cost of such a system could add anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 to the cost of a new home, Sines estimated.

Previous estimates have figured sprinklers at a cost of between $1.60 and $2 per square foot of space, meaning that a system for an average 2,000-square-foot home would cost between $3,200 and $4,000.

But many factors can drive up that cost. For example, homes relying on a private well could also be required to install a reservoir and fire pump to drive the sprinkler system. Even homes on public water could need a pump if the water pressure is not adequate to meet the required sprinkler output.

The revised code requires a minimum of two sprinkler heads to spray 26 to 30 gallons of water per minute for a 10-minute period, for a total of 260 to 300 gallons of water.

To complicate matters more, only contractors licensed by the State Fire Marshal’s Office can install the sprinkler systems — and only two such contractors have been operating in the county, according to Jim Torrington of the Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development.

Torrington said his office had received only one written comment on the issue as of Tuesday, a letter from the Home Builders Association of Western Maryland requesting implementation of the sprinkler requirement be postponed to 2012. That would allow more time for homes now under construction to be completed as planned.

The commission will consider the sprinkler issue along with other building code changes adopted at the state level, including one that reduces the maximum steepness allowed for stairs in new homes.

The public comment period for the county ordinances will remain open until July 27. Comments can be submitted to the Department of Planning and Land Development.

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Hearing Slated For Land Development Ordinances Drafts

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Apr. 29, 2010

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing concerning proposed revisions to three principal land development ordinances on Saturday, May 8, at 9 a.m. in the Garrett College auditorium. All interested citizens are invited.

The proposed revisions would affect the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning, Garrett County Subdivision, and Garrett County Sensitive Areas ordinances.

The Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development released initial preliminary drafts of these three ordinances for public review on Sept. 29, 2009.

Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance

1. New zoning districts are proposed: Agricultural Resource (AR), Rural Resource (RR), and Lake Residential–2 (LR-2) are new districts intended to preserve rural character and conserve natural resources by limiting residential development to a relatively low average density.

New standards for subdivisions in the AR and RR districts are proposed using either a cluster or non-cluster option with incentives to promote cluster subdivision. The Rural Development (RD) district is proposed to be eliminated.

2. A Scenic Protection Overlay District is proposed for those areas identified as “crestlines” on the proposed zoning map. This provision is intended to preserve the scenic views of the ridge tops and crest lines surrounding Deep Creek Lake. Requirements for retaining and planting trees on the sides and rear of structures when viewed from the lake and shoreline are proposed.

3. Architectural standards for non-residential structures in the Town Center (TC), Town Residential (TR), and General Commercial (GC) zoning districts for metal buildings are proposed.

4. Provisions, including setbacks, for domestic, agricultural, and industrial wind energy devices are proposed.

5. New setbacks for drilling for natural gas are proposed.

6. New provisions for nonconforming structures and grandfathered non-conforming lots are proposed.

Garrett County

Subdivision Ordinance

1. The AR and RR land classifications are proposed to be expanded, and new standards for subdivisions in these areas are proposed using either a cluster or noncluster option with incentives to promote cluster subdivision.

2. A provision that would allow the Planning Commission to require a traffic impact study for major subdivisions is proposed.

3. A provision to retain trees and other vegetative cover for new subdivisions abutting scenic byways is proposed.

4. Provisions to delineate the boundaries of any wetlands or Source Water Protection Areas on subdivision plans are proposed.

Garrett County Sensitive Areas Ordinance

1. Provisions to protect Source Water Protection Areas are proposed.

2. A provision to limit the exemption from the steep slope requirements to lots of record that are less than four acres is proposed.

3. A provision to prevent construction of buildings on man-made slopes exceeding 30% grade is proposed.

4. A provision to use the Maryland Sensitive Species Project Review Areas map as the indicator for referring applicants to Department of Natural Resources is proposed.

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

Planning Group Slates Hearing On Land Ordinances

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The Garrett County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing concerning proposed revisions to three principal land development ordinances on Saturday, Feb. 6, in the Garrett College auditorium at 10 a.m.
The proposed revisions would affect the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning, Garrett County Subdivision, and Garrett County Sensitive Areas ordinances.

Initial preliminary drafts of these three ordinances were released for public review on Sept. 29, 2009, by the Garrett County Department of Planning and Land Development.

The Planning Commission then sponsored a public information meeting on the initial draft on Oct. 14, 2009. Since that time, the Planning Commission has accepted citizen comments submitted at the public meeting and in writing or by e-mail.

Read the rest of the article here

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