|(KIDL Note: This headline
is not clear – the new homes to be built at Ellendale are located on Route
8 South, directly behind the Kmart – not at Four Seasons Development)
Hurdle cleared for new
homes at Four Seasons Development
A week after allowing the 1,350-home Four Seasons project to proceed, the Queen Anne's Board of County Commissioners gave new life to a stalled 285-unit community plan on Kent Island.
The commissioners voted 3-2 on Tuesday to give a sewer allocation to the first 42 units at Ellendale Farm LLC on Route 8 across from Bay Bridge Airport.
"It's been a torturous process that we have proceeded through in an attempt to get service," attorney Michael Foster told the board. "We've been traveling in the wake of a much larger ship. These people have been abused by the government and the system as much as anyone I have ever seen."
That ship is the controversial Four Seasons development, which prompted the previous board to issue a moratorium on new development.
Four Seasons cleared a legal hurdle last month when the commissioners settled their ongoing dispute with the developer out of court. On Oct. 25, it voted 3-2 to drop all appeals of the case and let the project proceed.
Commissioner Gene Ransom, who joined Nemo Niedomanski and Mike Koval in approving sewer service to Ellendale, said it has been waiting in the wings, meeting every demand from the county.
"How do you vote against a project that no ones objected to?" asked Mr. Ransom, D-Grasonville. "Plenty of people objected to Four Seasons."
Mr. Ransom added the county is wary of future legal battles involving projects that were inherited from the previous board of commissioners.
Tuesday night's vote angered Rick Moser of the grassroots Kent Island Defense League, who questioned the commissioners' stated commitment to slow growth.
"This just goes to show that there is no real plan for Kent Island," he said. "These guys are working from different directions, and the only people getting screwed are the ones that live on Kent Island."
Commissioner Joseph Cupani, R-Church Hill, also voiced concern about doling out so much sewer allocation: "Where is the line in the sand, and when do you say stop?"
Meanwhile, the formula used to determine just how much sewer capacity is available for Kent Island is coming under scrutiny.
The board was briefed by department heads last week and told that nearly half a million gallons per day are currently available.
Board President Ben Cassell, R-Stevensville, questioned why that number has fluctuated, since the figure is critical to determining the pace of growth in the county.
"It's very confusing. In 1997 staff told the county commissioners that the plant had only had 250,000 gallons capacity. Last week we got a statement that says we have 491,000 gallons left. How can it double in capacity?"
Alan Quimby, of the county's Sanitary District, said factors such as flows and weather cause the number to change from year to year.
A work session on the wastewater treatment plant capacity will continue this month.
The Ellendale project, which will include a clubhouse, will take about seven years to complete.
Julia Hockenberry is a
freelance writer on Kent Island.
Published November 10,
Capital, Annapolis, Md.
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