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Comments sought on Hagerstown's comprehensive plan

July 03, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown's planning commission has given the public additional time to comment on an amendment to its comprehensive plan.

A state law passed in 2006 mandated that certain municipalities update their comprehensive plan with a Water Resources Element (WRE) that addresses water, sewer, stormwater and nutrient discharge, Planning Director Kathy Maher said.

The planning commission opened a public hearing on its WRE amendment Wednesday, but no one attended or offered any comment, Maher said. Anyone who wants to comment on the amendment will have until July 14 to weigh in, she said.

Hagerstown included plans for water and wastewater in its 2008 comprehensive plan, planning commission chairman Douglas S. Wright said. It did not include stormwater, he said.

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Stormwater was delayed because the city was planning to join with Washington County in preparing their mandated WREs, but the commissioners voted in 2009 to not use a consultant, but do the work in house, Maher said.

Hagerstown's WRE amendment was prepared by Annapolis-based consultant Environmental Resources Management, Maher said.

The amendment is highly technical, she said, and focuses on addressing "hot spots" in the city where there is the most untreated water entering state waterways.

Water supplies in Maryland are facing increasing demand from a growing population, and the requirement for WREs was meant to ensure development does not occur without sufficient planning, according to a presentation from Water Management Administration Director Robert M. Summers on the Maryland Department of the Environment Web site.

Hagerstown has until Oct. 1 to adopt the amendment, Maher said.

The state extended the deadline for passing the amendment twice, she said.

The planning commission will discuss the amendment again July 14 and likely will vote then, Wright said.

By voting, the planning commission will make a recommendation of approval or denial to the mayor and city council, he said.

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