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KIDL asked each Commissioner for a response indicating their vote on granting the Ellendale sewer and water allocation (which passed 3-2) and on the SMPD (Stevensville Master Plan Development) and CMPD (Chester Master Plan Development) Design Standards (which was voted 3-2 not to be included in Title 18).  We received the following responses from Commissioners Ransom, Koval, Cassell and Cupani.  When we receive a response from Commissioner Niedomanski, we will include it on this page. 

(Response received from Commissioner Ransom (gransom@qac.org)

I wanted to let you know why I voted for sewer allocation for Ellendale.  Please note the manner in which the sewer was granted requires a six to seven year build out of the rather small development.  Ellendale has a long history with the county, and is another project left to us by the prior Board of Commissioners.

Since my election no one has testified against this project, and it is my understanding that no one has opposed this project throughout the process.

The attorney for Ellendale had threatened a bad faith claim if the county did not approve sewer.  Ellendale has sued Queen Anneís County at least once, maybe twice in the past and has always been successful.

This project was redesigned at the request of the County.  The redesign required environmentally friendly changes that put in place a 300 foot buffer and much less building in the critical areas.  The redesign also made safety changes for the airport.

The project will help/allow the county to build a collector road from route 8 to Thompson Creek to relieve some of the traffic concerns on route 8 during backups.

If any Commissioner really wanted to stop Ellendale, they could have voted for SMPD(Stevensville Master Plan Development) and CMPD (Chester Master Plan Development) changes I proposed during the title 18 process which would have reset all projects on Kent Island and required design standards.  (The design standards changes proposed for title 18 failed on a 2-3 vote.  Koval and I voted for them.)

Ellendale was amended by the prior Commissioners into the Master Water and Sewer plan and left us with little choice but to fight another law suit, or approve the project.  I will leave you with several questions.  If the Board really wanted to kill Ellendale, then why didnít they vote for the design standards?  If the Board did not have the courage to fight Four Seasons (a environmentally unfriendly project with no collector road), then would they have the courage to fight a project that was redesigned at the Countyís request with a collector road plan and environmental changes?

I voted for the design standard, because it would have reset all major projects on Kent Island causing redesigns.  This would have given the CACs time to do their work.  Once the Board turned down the design standards we had/have no reason to not move forward on the pending projects that have been amended into the master water sewer plan. 

Gene M. Ransom III

(Response received from Commissioner Koval (mkoval@qac.org):

I wanted to let KIDL members know why I introduced and voted in favor of the sewer request for the Ellendale subdivision. 

As you may be aware, the plan for Ellendale started out at nearly 300 houses several years ago. The developer applied for S1/W1 sewer designation (meaning the property would be amended into the master sewer plan - the sewer line runs right across their property) on February 14, 2001. Their approval came 13 months later, on March 5, 2002, under the previous Board. I watched the project go thru the process, and saw it reduced in size to about 171 houses, then all of a sudden it was back up to 285. I always wondered why the number went back up, and about three months ago I found out that Ellendale had mounted a successful legal challenge against the previous Board of Commissioners.

Ellendale sat and waited through a moratorium and K. Hovnanianís litigation. They had been trying to get an allocation request for sewer since this Board came into office last December. They were forced to wait because of the K. Hovnanian litigation. We finally granted them a meeting on November 4, 2003, 19 months after the property was amended into the S1/W1 sewer and water plan by the previous Board. This Board of Commissioners met with our Public Works Department on November 4, 2003. We were told we have a remaining sewer capacity of 400,000 gallons per day (more or less), after giving K. Hovnanianís Four Seasons the 100,000 gpd guaranteed by the DRRA and the settlement agreement signed by three of the other Commissioners the previous week (Ransom and I refusing to sign). (Four Seasons will require about 356,000 gpd total.) In light of this information, I felt we had no choice but to give a total of 72,000 gpd to Ellendale, but not all at once. Therefore, on Tuesday, November 4th, I introduced a motion to give Ellendale capacity to accommodate 42 houses per year (a maximum of 10,500 gpd per year) until the subdivision is complete, the number of building permits allowed to any one subdivision (10% of the total) under our current building permit cap. The motion was approved by me, Commissioners Ransom and Niedomanski, with Commissioners Cassell and Cupani voting "no". 

Even though I am not happy with any large-scale development on Kent Island, Ellendale has agreed to a 300' shore buffer, they are staying out of the flyway for the airport, there will be some sort of connector road to Thompson Creek Road, and there will only be 42 homes per year to get sewer hook up. Another factor in my decision was that Ellendale is in the SMPD Zoning District and under SMPD the subdivision design standards are left up to the Planning Commission. New, more structured design standards for SMPD and CMPD were introduced into our new (and hopefully improved) Title 18 Zoning Regulations. At our October 28th meeting this Board of Commissioners forwarded Title 18 to the Planning Commission but OMITTED the new design standards for SMPD and CMPD (which Gene Ransom and I had voted to include). If this Board had adopted the new design standards for SMPD then Ellendale might have had to go back to the drawing board for further changes to meet them, but that is not going to happen now.

I was assured Ellendale would take legal action for sewer allocation if turned down since they had received S1/W1 designation from the previous board, Public Works said the capacity is available, and the sewer runs across the property. As most of you know, I donít intimidate easily, but any further legal challenge to the sewer could rest on the previous Board of Commissionersí testimony, so I felt if that were the case we may be up the creek (you know which creek) without a paddle. 

I know many of you are disappointed in my motion and vote, and I hope this sheds some light on the tough decision I had to make.Thanks,

Mike Koval

P. S.  On another note, for those of you who read the Capital last night (the 6th), I am NOT interested in running for EJ Pipkin's seat!

(Response received from Commissioner Cassell (bcassell@qac.org)

1. Ellendale - I voted against this because I am concerned about the cumulative effect of Kent Island growth - and more importantly the entire sewer capacity and allocation process needs more study as I brought out at our work session last Tuesday. I also have never liked the project due to proximity to the Airport and Route 8 traffic issues - 

2. Design Standards - I believe that the Stevensville and Chester CACs are the appropriate bodies to deal with these issues. The drafts prepared by Funk & Bolton had some items which I did not feel should be put in place without the CAC input.  I also believe that through Commissioner "suggestions" to staff, designs can be influenced over the next 9 months or so.

Ben Cassell

Response Received from Commissioner Cupani (jcupani@qac.org):

Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions.  

As we reflect on this past year, we might ask what is the policy of the county commissioners for growth on Kent Island?  Mr. Moser  spoke correctly when  he  expressed that it has  not yet been formulated to the extent that it could be defended in court.  We all agree on responsible growth and we are working hard to establish policies that we can defend.

I try to base my decisions on good evidence and try to stay away from arbitrary and political responses.

I am not here win the next election.

I am here to execute the office of  County Commissioner to the best of my abilities without preference and prejudice. 

You may recall, I introduced the repeal of Title 18 and signed the petition in the presence of Rick Moser at the Sudlersville Fire Company.  I did this because, I believed the new commissioners needed time to review the ordinance before it became law.  (This process was not a bad idea).  At the time, commissioner Koval was the only commissioner supporting me. 

The  hearings soon began  and I heard all the testimony.   I also sat on the Planning Commission and heard more testimony and  more legal arguments on defensible zoning ordinances.  I learned  about comprehensive plans, community plans, and words such as arbitrary and capricious.   Certainly more than I ever wanted to know about design standards.

The design standards that were successfully sent to the planning commission for their review, were written as an argument during the Four Seasons litigation.  The standards would produce cookie cutter development.  The homes would look the same in neat rows allowing little deviation and flexibility.  I was told they were poor planning concepts. 

I am not a planner.  But after a year of listening to planners, the SMPD and CMPD standards are not what I would want built next door.   The community of Kent Island needs to decide if these standards would be good for them.  That will be a main focus for the CACs.

We currently do not have a strong water and sewer allocation policy that defines our current needs. Ellendale has S1-W1 designation-for water and sewer as does Gibsonís Grant.  The questions I was asking myself that evening were, ďIf Ellendale receives allocation, will this set a precedent for all S1-W1 designations?  What is different between Ellendale and any other  development with S1-W1?  Will the answers provide evidence that is good enough to hold up in court.  

I believe the evidence is not conclusive to allow Ellendale allocation and stop everyone else.  That is why I voted against allocation.  

KIDL Web Guy Says:  Write our Commissioners!

 bcassell@qac.orggransom@qac.org  | mkoval@qac.org
jcupani@qac.org  |  rniedomanski@qac.org

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