MACo Seeks Amendment to Septic Tier Property Rights Restoration Bill

MACo Policy and Legal Counsel, Les Knapp, sought to amend legislation of House Bill 1355, “Sewerage Systems – Residential Major Subdivisions in Tier III and Tier IV Areas” before the House Environmental and Transportation committee on March 1, 2017. The bill would restore property rights that were extinguished with the passage of the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (SB 236), but only if certain land preservation conditions are met. The bill does not create new development rights. The bill was sponsored by Delegate April Rose.

MACo’s testimony states

The bill would provide an alternative under the Tier system to address issues of the loss of development rights in rural areas while not repealing the Tiers. The bill balances the restoration of the taken rights with land protection requirements – and a fair recognition of jurisdictions that have wide portions of un-developable land due to state limitations, development easements, etc. By excluding the creation of new development rights, the bill does not encourage or create growth potential beyond what previously existed before the passage of SB 236 in 2012.

MACo does request an amendment to HB 1355 stating the bill’s tier provisions would only apply in a county where the local governing body has formally adopted the provisions of § 9-206(f)(2) and (3) into a local ordinance. This allows counties the option of whether to utilize the bill’s provisions rather than mandate that all counties be subject to the provisions. It also would empower citizen input into the local public hearing process before any changes occur.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.