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City mulls using sewer money to fund projects

October 18, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

HAGERSTOWN - A new policy to set aside sewer allocation for priority economic development and government projects went before the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday for its review.

City Planning Director Kathleen A. Maher said the policy could lead to the denial of sewer allocation to two residential developments and affect the Sewer Capacity Allocation Program, which is a planning document that indicates where sewer is going each year.

The council asked Maher to develop a set-aside policy upon review of the Linwood Hollow and New Haven sewer requests in August, she said.

Maher said she looked at market factors, school projects, government projects like fire stations, and the balance between commercial and residential development.

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"Lately we've seen office buildings and shopping centers coming along, so that nonresidential supply is starting to get used up more than it has in the past," Maher said.

She suggested limiting the amount the city sets aside for retail and other low-priority commercial and residential development. Maher proposed setting aside 2,500 gallons per day of capacity for the mayor and council's low-priority projects and rolling over any unused allocations at the end of the year to the high-priority category.

Two shopping centers and an office building were submitted recently, pushing the city beyond its nonresidential capacity for 2006.

"One of those projects is undoubtedly going to have to phase and do part of the project. One of these shopping centers (will) do part of the project this year and part of the project next year, so they can get more sewage," Maher said.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire questioned why the city would give the set-aside sewage allocation to a residential development over nonresidential development.

Retail is the lowest-listed priority in the Sewer Capacity Allocation Program, Maher said.

The 2007 Sewer Capacity Allocation Program will be reviewed next month, she said.

The mayor and four council members at Tuesday's meeting had several pages of charts to accompany Maher's presentation.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer last week was given permission to participate in meetings using speaker phone as she recovers from neck surgery. However, Cromer did not participate in Tuesday's meeting because she did not feel well, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.

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