Com­mis­sion­ers set fees for KI sewer project

The Star Democrat - - REAL ESTATE - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@ches­pub

STEVENSVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers again heard from the public about the con­tro­ver­sial south­ern Kent Is­land Sewer Project.

The meet­ing on Tues­day, Aug. 21, at Kent Is­land High School, was at­tended by Com­mis­sion­ers Mark An­der­son, Jim Mo­ran and Jack Wil­son, and was an op­por­tu­nity for the public to have their com­ments en­tered into the record about the four­phase project started in 2015 and slated to be com­pleted in 2025.

Much of the public ire fo­cused on the project as a harbinger of largely un­wanted fu­ture de­vel­op­ment on Kent Is­land and op­po­si­tion to ris­ing sewer rates for de­vel­oped and un­de­vel­oped lots.

The Queen Anne’s County San­i­tary Com­mis­sion es­tab­lished the south Kent Is­land Waste­water Sub-dis­trict of the Queen Anne’s County San­i­tary Dis­trict to pro­vide public sewer to nine ex­clu­sive com­mu­ni­ties on South Kent Is­land.

That in­cludes 1,518 ex­ist­ing sin­gle fam­ily res­i­den­tial homes, eight non-res­i­den­tial uses and a max­i­mum of 632 va­cant in­fill lots. Phase I of the project is es­ti­mated to be com­plete within the next five years.

Phase I in­cludes Kent Is­land Es­tates and Ro­man­coke on the Bay, Phase II ex­pands to Tower Gar­dens, Phase III de­vel­ops in Queen Anne Colony and Kent­morr, and the fi­nal phase com­pletes Ch­e­sa­peake Es­tates, Sunny Isle of Kent, Nor­mans and Mat­a­peake Es­tates.

Health con­cerns arose about the need for a sewer sys­tem as far back as 1990 when a county Health De­part­ment San­i­tary Sur­vey doc­u­mented “70 per­cent to 90 per­cent of the sep­tic sys­tems on south Kent Is­land were di­rectly dis­charg­ing into ground­wa­ter.” Five years later, another Health De­part­ment San­i­tary Sur­vey “con­firmed 80 per­cent of sep­tics di­rectly dis­charge into ground­wa­ter.”

Not un­til 2011 did the county pro­pose a public sewer for the area as a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the threats to ground­wa­ter. In 2013, prop­erty own­ers got their first no­tice of as­so­ci­ated fees for the public sewer with the county an­nounc­ing a pro­posal to ex­tend public sewer to the Kent Is­land com­mu­ni­ties with a tar­get charge to home­own­ers of “less than $100 per month for a 20-year as­sess­ment term.”

The Aug. 21 public meet­ing was to ad­just method­ol­ogy to ap­ply spe­cial ben­e­fit as­sess­ments by amend­ing Res­o­lu­tion #14-07.

Amend­ments in­cluded set­ting max­i­mum spe­cial ben­e­fit as­sess­ments for im­proved prop­er­ties at $210 per quar­ter, or $70 a month. Changes also in­cluded set­ting a de­fault op­tion to col­lect spe­cial ben­e­fit as­sess­ments on va­cant prop­er­ties to min­i­mum value at $96 per quar­ter or $32 a month. Also among the re­vi­sions in­cluded ex­tend­ing the pe­riod for vol­un­tary lot com­bi­na­tions or lot ad­just­ments to Oct. 1, 2018.

Fi­nally, the first part of the amend­ments in­cluded clar­i­fy­ing that the Bay Restora­tion Fund Re­serves Treat­ment Ca­pac­ity for the sub­dis­trict.

The se­cond part of the hear­ing was to es­tab­lish the rate sched­ule ef­fec­tive Oct. 1, 2018. What fol­lowed was a pro­posed quar­terly billing sched­ule on the first of the months of Oc­to­ber, Jan­uary, April and July with util­ity bills be­ing mailed to prop­erty own­ers ad­dresses on record. Rates in­clude cus­tomer charge Bay Restora­tion Fee & Usage Charge, Con­nected Rate, when de­vel­oped, equal­ing $90 a quar­ter or $30 a month. The va­cant rate to un­con­nected lots is $30 a quar­ter, or $10 a month.

Other fees in­cluded the new home con­struc­tion per­mit fee at $250, and a sewer al­lo­ca­tion fee at $8,550. Any new lots cre­ated pay a con­nec­tion charge of $27,920, and a wa­ter con­di­tioner con­nec­tion charge to­tals $100 per quar­ter.

The third and fi­nal por­tion of the hear­ing fo­cused on two prop­erty classes in Kent Is­land Es­tates and Ro­man­coke. They are Class B va­cant lots without a valid per­co­la­tion test, es­ti­mated to be 357 lots, and Class C va­cant lots with a valid per­co­la­tion test, es­ti­mated at four lots. The sewer base cost for Class B is $2,320 with an eco­nomic ben­e­fit pre­mium of $27,920. Re­pay­ment op­tions were of­fered by the county dur­ing the meet­ing.

Class C lots have a sewer base cost of $2,320 with the same amount be­ing the eco­nomic ben­e­fit pre­mium. Two re­pay­ment op­tions for this des­ig­na­tion also were of­fered to the public.

Dur­ing the Aug. 28 county com­mis­sion meet­ing, Res­o­lu­tion #14-07 passed with a unan­i­mous vote. The pro­posed rate sched­ule, ti­tled Res­o­lu­tion #18-44, also passed with the ex­clu­sion of the wa­ter con­di­tioner con­nec­tion fee with a unan­i­mous vote. The es­tab­lish­ment of a wa­ter con­di­tioner fee of $100 per quar­ter if the con­nec­tion of the wa­ter con­di­tioner unit was con­nected to back­wash into the sys­tem was re­moved from the rate sched­ule.

Fi­nally, Res­o­lu­tion #18-45, which deals with clas­si­fi­ca­tions and fees for un­de­vel­oped lots into Class B and C also passed unan­i­mously.


Kent Is­land res­i­dents study the maps provided by the county to see the fi­nan­cial im­pact of the pro­posed amend­ments.

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