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Golf course worries neighbors

June 07, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Property owners on Thursday night expressed concern that their water supply will be affected by a developer's proposal to use wells to irrigate a public 203-acre golf course for a planned residential development south of Hagerstown.

More than 100 people attended a meeting at the Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. to voice their opinions about the 443-acre St. James Park development proposal.

About 70 of the people who attended signed a petition asking the Maryland Department of the Environment to deny a requested permit to use water from three wells for use by the golf course.

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St. James Park LLC is asking the MDE for permission to use an annual average of 79,500 gallons of groundwater per day, and 187,200 gallons per day during a month of maximum use, for the golf course, which would be in the middle of the planned development.

The development, which is to have up to 773 units, would be on the west side of Md. 65, 1.7 miles south of Interstate 70 and northeast of the existing St. James development.

The Rev. D. Stuart Dunnan, St. James School headmaster, said he was concerned use of the wells would cause a spring the school uses for water to go dry.

Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington, received applause when he said people must fight the proposal because it is not reasonable.

"Washington County is our county," Shank said. "The resources in Washington County don't belong to developers, they belong to you."

Allan Green, a Fairplay farmer who organized the meeting, said use of the wells for the golf course could negatively affect homes, farms and schools on wells, as well as volunteer fire companies.

Green and other speakers said water from the City of Hagerstown should be used for the golf course.

Richard deGorter, president of Development Partners of Leesburg, Va., said a hydrogeologic investigation report submitted to the MDE shows the development's proposed use of the wells will not adversely affect other wells. The company manages St. James Park LLC, which owns the property.

The firm must prove to the MDE that using the wells won't unreasonably affect other nearby water sources, said Matthew Pajerowski, the MDE chief of the water rights division of the water management administration, who attended the meeting.

The MDE is still analyzing the submitted report, Pajerowski said.

He said the department will hold a public hearing on the request, probably around July.

DeGorter, who did not attend Thursday's meeting, has said he hopes to start construction in the fall on the first phase of construction, which will include 214 single-family lots and the golf course.

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