Maryland Governor Moves Ahead with Anti-Development Bill: Said to be a Power Grab by the State

Maryland Society of Surveyors Members,

We have confirmed that Governor O’Malley is pursuing the passage of the “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act (Senate Bill 846 and House Bill 1107). Passage of this act will be devastating to our profession and the homebuilding industry. MSS is collaborating with the homebuilders association to oppose Senate Bill 846 and House Bill 1107. Please read the message below and Call to Action from Tim Granger and the Home Builders Association of Maryland. I urge all MSS members to take action to oppose these bills.

A Septic Reversal – Governor reverses decision on septic task force
This Bill (SB 846 and HB 1107) is bad, and is nothing more than a power grab by the state. It will severely limit subdivision of land, and will once again devalue agricultural land. It will take the zoning and subdivision authority away from the local jurisdictions and give it to the state.

Please read the notice below, and take action by clicking on the link to send an email to your Senators and Delegates.

Then forward to everyone you know, especially farmers and large tract land owners, and encourage them to contact their representatives as soon as possible.

Home Builders Association of Maryland Position
March 3 – Despite concerns recently raised by the ENV Committee Chair, other Delegates and Senators, local government officials and the business community, Governor O’Malley reversed course and announced last night that he is NOT pulling the septic bill as previously indicated and in fact is pushing harder for its passage by personally testifying at the bill’s hearing on March 11.

Also, the Senate bill has been voted out of Rules Committee and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate EHEA Committee on March 11, the same day as the House hearing.

HBAM and others working to stop this bill are ramping up our grassroots efforts in preparation for the March 11 hearings. You can help TODAY by clicking the link below and sending a strong message to the Committee members hearing this bill to stop this bill.

If you have any questions, please contact HBAM at 410-265-7400.

The measure would prohibit the use of individual septic systems for major subdivisions outside the planned water and sewer service area. In addition, it restricts subdivision of agricultural land.

What it does:
• Defines major subdivision as 5 or more lots, plats or building sites
• Requires that major subdivisions located outside the planned water and sewer area utilize a “shared facility” waste disposal system that is managed, operated and maintained by an approved controlling authority
• Requires the use of advanced technology septic systems for smaller subdivisions of 4 or fewer lots, plats or building sites
• Prohibits local authorities to record or approve any major subdivisions outside the water and sewer service area after July 1, 2011
• Restricts any resubdivision or further subdivision of a tract or parcel of land once it has been subdivided into a residential minor subdivision

Why it’s bad:
• Definition of major subdivision will capture virtually all future development outside of planned service areas
• Approval for a shared facility requires a category change to the local water and sewer plan—category change requests require a local public hearing and approval by MDE and MDP—THIS GIVES THE STATE A VETO OVER LOCAL LAND USE DECISIONS
• Shared facilities are extremely expensive to build and maintain. Cost of construction and installation exceeds $1 Million and estimated operation and maintenance cost run between $80-100K per year. So they are only economically feasible for high density subdivisions
• Destroys economic development outside designated growth areas
• Eliminates a huge segment of the construction industry resulting in a further loss of skilled blue collar jobs in the state
• Restricts farmers from subdividing their land more than once—in perpetuity
• Devalues Agricultural land