Per­mit fee, plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber­ship bills ap­proved

Times-Record - - NEWS - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­[email protected]­o­line­times­record.com

DEN­TON — The Caro­line County com­mis­sion­ers at their meet­ing Tues­day, Nov. 27, ap­proved two new bills, one that makes pub­lic land­ing per­mit fees the same for in-state and out-of-state users, and one that clar­i­fies and changes mem­ber­ship re­quire­ments for the Caro­line County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Both bills were in­tro­duced Tues­day, Oct. 9. Pub­lic hear­ings for each were held Tues­day, Nov. 13. Other than sup­port for the per­mit fee bill from the Caro­line County Depart­ment of Recre­ation and Parks Ad­vi­sory Board, nei­ther bill gen­er­ated any pub­lic feed­back.

Act­ing Caro­line County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Sara Vis­in­tainer said at the bills’ in­tro­duc­tion in Oc­to­ber the bill to elim­i­nate the dif­fer­en­tial in per­mit fees for in-state and out-of-state users will al­low the county to qualify for fed­eral grant money, to make im­prove­ments to pub­lic wa­ter­ways.

“There’s a sig­nif­i­cant fed­eral fund­ing source avail­able for lo­cal gov­ern­ments, but since it’s fed­eral money, they re­quire we treat dif­fer­ent state users the same,” Vis­in­tainer said.

Specif­i­cally, there is a $350,000 pro­ject that needs to be com­pleted at the Chop­tank Ma­rina, Vis­in­tainer said, that could be paid for with the grant money.

Elim­i­nat­ing the up-charge for out-of-state per­mits would only re­sult in a loss of about $3,000 in rev­enue, Vis­in­tainer said.

“It’s a good re­turn,” she said.

Af­ter the com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously ap­proved the bill, Vis­in­tainer said it will be ef­fec­tive in 45 days, Jan. 11, 2019, mak­ing the county el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for the fed­eral grant when it be­comes avail­able next year.

Cur­rently, an an­nual per­mit for a boat or trailer reg­is­tered in Mary­land is $20; one for a boat or trailer reg­is­tered in any other state is $50.

The other ap­proved bill does not change the num­ber of mem­bers of the seven-seat plan­ning com­mis­sion, but makes a few small changes to com­po­si­tion re­quire­ments.

As was al­ready the case, one county com­mis­sioner will be serve as an ex of­fi­cio mem­ber of the plan­ning com­mis­sion, but the new lan­guage states in the event that com­mis­sioner can­not at­tend a meet­ing, ei­ther of the other two com­mis­sion­ers can serve as al­ter­nates.

Of the other six plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers, only one can be a res­i­dent of an in­cor­po­rated town, at least one shall be a de­vel­oper or builder and at least three should have agri­cul­ture ex­per­tise, ei­ther through ed­u­ca­tion or work ex­pe­ri­ence.

Those re­quire­ments are the same as in the cur­rent lan­guage.

How­ever, the ap­proved bill adds that elected of­fi­cials at the state, county or mu­nic­i­pal level are not el­i­gi­ble to serve on the plan­ning com­mis­sion, to avoid a sit­u­a­tion in which one per­son has dual re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, or a con­flict of in­ter­est, Vis­in­tainer said.

Terms shall re­main at five years.

The bill also makes clear a plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber serves un­til a suc­ces­sor is ap­pointed, Vis­in­tainer said.

That bill is ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, Vis­in­tainer said.

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