Maryland Sewage Treatment Tax Is Green Light For Developers

A Maryland statewide tax that provides communities with funding to improve sewage treatment facilities has been used as an excuse to increase sprawling development.
September 12, 2006, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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New housing developments are being approved across Maryland as a state tax is generating funding for municipalities to improve existing sewage treatment facilities and in some cases build new plants. Some cities in Maryland see the new sewage handling capacity as a green light to increase population and have approved large suburban housing developments in response. Many in the state's conservation movement are upset that a law intended to clean up the Chesapeake Bay has turned into a free pass for developers which will increase the amount of treated sewage that eventually makes its way into the Bay's waters.

"Elkton officials reversed their policy against annexing land for development as soon as the town received $7.5 million from the state's Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, according to town documents and officials. The fund provides grants to improve sewage plants using $30 annual fees paid by homeowners across the state."

"Half of these new plants will have more capacity than the ones they're replacing, to enable the construction of more homes. At least three of the plants - in Elkton, Kent Island and St. Michaels - will serve proposed developments with hundreds or thousands of new houses on environmentally sensitive waterfront areas, state records show."

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Published on Monday, September 11, 2006 in The Baltimore Sun
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