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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Worcester County to mull change in water, sewer plan

(June 25, 2015) A public hearing addressing water and sewer issues for three recent annexations in Berlin was tentatively set for a July 21 meeting of the Worcester County Commissioners.
The town is requesting an amendment to the current county comprehensive water and sewage plan, addressing a 2015 annexation at the intersection of Friendship Road and Route 50, a 2014 annexation on Seahawk Road, and a 2011 annexation at the intersection of Germantown Road and Md. Route 113.
A Royal Farms store and a relocated Arby’s are planned for Friendship Road and Route 50, and a new townhome development is in the works on Seahawk Road.
Berlin Planning Director Dave Engelhart said the third parcel relates to the auto shop owned by John Derrickson.
“It’s just to change the water and sewer plan,” he said. “Basically [the county is] responsible for water and sewer, and when they become part of the town … it’s our responsibility to serve them.”
Engelhart wrote a letter to county Director of Department of Environment Programs Robert Mitchell on May 28 requesting the hearing, saying revisions were needed to the S-1 sewer planning and W-1 water planning areas.
On the same day, Mitchell forwarded a proposed amendment of the county’s comprehensive water and sewage plans to the Worcester County Planning Commission. The letter said that Berlin was not asking for any increases in capacity or changes in the capital plan or treatment plan in order to accommodate the expansion.
Mitchell also said in the letter that the connection of the properties would remove the flow of more than 25 equivalent EDUs worth of conventional septic systems and connect the properties to Berlin’s spray irrigation facility.
“As proposed, the project appears to be consistent with the comprehensive plan and existing zoning,” Mitchell wrote.
During a June 4 meeting of the Worcester County Planning Commission, Mitchell reiterated his belief that the expansion was consistent with the county comprehensive plan and recommended the commission vote to approve. The planning commission agreed, voting unanimously to provide a favorable recommendation to the county commissioners.
Along with holding a public hearing, notices must be sent to any affected municipalities, along with the county departments of water and wastewater services and the state department of the environment.
The county commissioners may approve, disapprove or approve the amendment with conditions. The amendment must then pass one final hurdle, heading to the state Department of the Environment.
Engelhart called the whole process a formality, adding that Derrickson’s property, originally annexed in 2011, had never been updated at the county level.
“Bob Mitchell, the director, said, ‘You know, we never did add them, so we’ll put them all in a basket,’” he said. “They try and update them once a year, so he wanted to get it done before the fiscal year.”