MACo Supports Prompt County Water & Sewer Plan Approval

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel, Les Knapp, testified in favor of legislation (SB 1040) that would provide greater clarity and expedite the review process for a county water and sewer plan or amendment by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Senator Justin Ready sponsored the bill.

MACo’s testimony states,

A county water and sewer plan is a critical component of the county’s long-term land use and development plan. Without prompt approval, counties are unable to implement key Smart Growth initiatives and developers may be forced into a “holding pattern” – losing both resources and time that ultimately may lead to a project’s stagnation or even cancellation.

MACo recognizes reviewing a plan or amendment can be complex, but SB 1040 would still allow for a 90-day extension, similar to current law. However, MDE must communicate the reason for taking an extension beyond the initial 30-day extension. MACo believes this will provide more certainty and potentially increase the response time of MDE.

SB 1040 would place reasonable efficiency and response requirements on MDE during the review of a county water and sewer plan or amendment.

SB 1040 was heard by the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on March 7, 2017. Carroll County’s Planning Director and Legislative Liaison, Phil Hager, supported Mr. Knapp in testifying on this bill.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation testified against the bill.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 Legislative Session here.