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Surprise Letter Stalls Campground Project

October 4, 2007 by   - () Leave a Comment

Plans for a recreational campground in Lower Fairmount on Maryland’s Eastern Shore continue to be on hold after the property owner learned in a July letter he could not proceed without a sewer and water allocation, according to the Crisfield Times.
J. Daniel Foltz of Darlington, Md., appealed to the Somerset County Sanitary Commission stating he’s invested $50,000 in the project but his site plan was denied.
“I was told I could not do it,” he said on Sept. 27.
Foltz said he received approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals for a 50-unit campground on a 5.3-acre site, but had to scale it back to 20 units due to wetlands. He said water and sewer are available, and he expected to connect to it with 20 lateral lines. He said the camp would operate May through October.
Attorney Cindy MacDonald said Foltz “was never told there were formal procedures” for allocation requests. She said there are no written policies that her client could refer to, and “he relied on the information from Technical (and Community) Services.”
Foltz said he was in regular contact with Sanitary District Manager Robin Street, but at no time was it brought to his attention that he needed to make a formal request for an allocation – instead the discussion concerned whether he would be required to install a buffer tank or lift pump to handle sewage.
Three hundred gallons is considered the daily water usage for one “equivalent dwelling unit” or EDU. Because there was a trailer on the property, Foltz is entitled to one EDU – but 300 gallons “won’t cut it,” he said, for a 20-unit campground.
MacDonald said because the campground would be a “seasonal use,” it would not use the equivalent of 20 homeowners. Sanitary Commission member Tony Stockus stopped MacDonald to ask if she was an expert on EDUs, and she replied “no.” He countered that her speculation on water use “doesn’t hold water.”
MacDonald said Foltz would get the information if that is necessary, but without written policies, she said, the board’s actions in this case could be considered “arbitrary and capricious.”
Sanitary Commission attorney Robin Cockey said MacDonald was correct in saying the Sanitary District does not have a written policy. The board then went into closed session to discuss it further, and took no action when they returned to open session.
Foltz started the project back in 2005, and called the July 2007 letter about the need to make a formal allocation request a “last minute bomb.” He said, “If I had known, I would have never went this far with it.”
Unless special approval is granted by the Sanitary Commission, Foltz must submit an allocation request as if he were in a beginning phase of his project.

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