Letters to the editor 1/16

January 16, 2003

Keep the moratorium

To the editor:

Last Tuesday Washington County Commissioner John Munson proposed lifting the very limited subdivision moratorium in place at this time. The moratorium's purpose is:

1. Protect the wells of rural residents and agricultural enterprises by restricting the number of new wells until the aquifer has time to recharge from the drought of the last three years and;

2. Give the planning department time to implement the new comprehensive plan, which was adopted after four years of research and formulation.

We were told in September that in order for the aquifer to return to normal levels it would take two years of extraordinary precipitation. We have been blessed because the precipitation since September has been excessive and we can only hope that the trend will continue into next year. The streams and rivers are running above their banks, but this does not mean the aquifer is recharged. What do the county test wells indicate regarding the level of ground water?


The planning department has not had time to put into place the necessary ordinances and rezoning to make the vision of the comprehensive plan a reality. We must give them an opportunity to accomplish this if we do not want "out of control" development in our rural areas which would eventually entail incurring more debt to extend the water and sewer lines.

The State of Maryland's "Smart Growth" policies will not allow state aid in the building of water and sewer lines in rural areas and we certainly cannot afford it on our own.

This moratorium is very limited - it restricts the processing of requests for subdivisions of six or more houses in the areas outside of the urban growth area that rely on wells and septic. It allows for construction of any homes already approved with a preliminary final plat regardless of the size of the subdivision.

It allows for unrestricted subdivision and building in the urban growth area. Planning Director Bob Arch has stated that there are 5,000 to 6,000 dwelling units already approved in the pipeline. Even half this number should be enough inventory to keep everyone busy for at least a year and also allow time for the aquifer to recharge and the planning department to implement the comprehensive plan.

The moratorium should be kept in place at this time. The health and well-being of our rural residents and the agricultural community is more important than the wishes of "a couple of contractors" that Commissioner Munson referred to in his request to lift the moratorium last Tuesday.

Henryetta S. Livelsberger


Munson office taking your calls

To the editor:

The 2003 Session of the Maryland General Assembly convened Wednesday, Jan. 8, at noon. The Washington County Legislative Delegation will, therefore, spend most of the next 90 days in Annapolis.

For the past 28 years, I have maintained a local office to better serve the people of Washington County. During the session, my local office, located at 28 W. Church St., Hagerstown, will be staffed by my secretary, Jennifer Roane. The office is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For administrative purposes, the office is closed on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you have an interest or concern regarding pending legislation, or should you need help with a problem involving state government, I stand ready to assist you. You may call Roane at 301-791-4511, and she will relay the message to me.

If you prefer, you may call me in Annapolis at 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3609. My secretary, Patricia Hinchliff, will be happy to take a message for me.

I encourage all citizens to express their thoughts about matters before the Legislature. Government works best when you get involved.

Donald F. Munson

Senator, District 2

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