Council Highlights for June 11, 2024


Category: County Council

The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on June 11 at 5 p.m. following a work session at 3:30 p.m.; Councilmember Keasha Haythe was absent.

Work Session to Discuss Update of Report of Review, Comprehensive Plan, and Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan

County Engineer, Ray Clarke, and Planning Officer, Brennan Tarleton, discussed timelines for updating several planning documents for the County.

These documents are guidelines for County planning, development, and engineering.

The Report of the Review (ROTR) offers a snapshot of current and approved water and sewer policies, plans, and data in Talbot County. In addition, it identifies sections of the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan (CWSP) that have been amended by legislative action, and updates maps, figures, etc. since the last ROTR. Once the 2024 ROTR has been completed, the Department of Public Works aims to update the ROTR every three years; the current version was last updated in 2002.

The Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) offers guidance for land use decision-making across Talbot County. The Department of Planning and Zoning writes and manages the Plan working with a consultant, aiming to update it every ten years. The Comp Plan was last revised in 2016.

The Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan (CWSP) focuses on the County’s Water and Sewer capacity, planning, and development. The CWSP incorporates the previous ROTR(s), as well as data and information from the Comp Plan to create a detailed guide of policies, plans, and procedures for responsible stewardship of the County’s water and sewer systems.

All of these documents are reviewed by County staff, the Public Works Advisory Board and the Planning Commission.  Members of the public are provided an opportunity to submit written comments and to testify at the public hearings prior to Council’s consideration of approval. The ROTR and CWSP must also be approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Public Works anticipates the draft 2024 ROTR to be completed by September. Planning and Zoning expects to start work on the Comprehensive Plan shortly, with a request for proposals for project management anticipated to be issued in July. The process of updating the Comp Plan is expected to take approximately 12-18 months, with a goal of adopting the updated Plan by 2026. Following adoption of the updated Comp Plan, Public Works will resume work on the CWSP for an extensive review and final approval by Council in 2026.

The current Report of the Review (2002), Comprehensive Plan, and CWSP can be found on the Talbot County Website.

Capital Enabling Legislation

Each year, following the adoption of the budget ordinance, Council introduces a series of bills that authorize a County Department or agency to expend money related to capital projects established in the budget. In their June 11th meeting, the Council introduced 21 resolutions that authorized funding for, or amended previous appropriations for, capital projects ranging from recycling stations to expansion/renovation of the Chapel District Elementary School located in Cordova.

The FY25 Capital Enabling legislation authorizes funding for the following projects:

  • Bill No. 1554 - New recycling stations
  • Bill No. 1555- Expansion of Talbot County Free Library, St. Michaels Branch
  • Bill No. 1556 - Improvements to Talbot County Detention Center
  • Bill No. 1557 - Appropriation for purchasing improved and unimproved real property for future County purposes
  • Bill No. 1558 - Replacement of County Courthouse HVAC system
  • Bill No. 1559 - Extension of water and sewer lines to Talbot County Community Center and proposed Regional Medical Center
  • Bill No. 1560 - Construction of Emergency Medical Services stations
  • Bill No. 1561 - Acquisition and construction of Talbot County Health Department Facility
  • Bill No. 1562 - Expansion of broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the county
  • Bill No. 1563 - Replacement and improvement of 911 technologies and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System
  • Bill No. 1564 - Construction of a Public Safety Center
  • Bill No. 1565 - Improvements to County bridges
  • Bill No. 1566 & Bill No. 1567 - Improvements to Black Dog Alley and other county roads
  • Bill No. 1568 - Stormwater management and improvements for Goldsborough Neck Road and Airport Road
  • Bill No. 1569 - Construction and improvement of the concession stand at the Talbot County Community Sports Complex
  • Bill No. 1570 - Construction and improvement of bulkhead at Sinclair Avenue Waterfront Park in Tilghman
  • Bill No. 1571 - Replacement of dehumidifier at the Talbot County Community Center
  • Bill No. 1572 - Replacement of generator at the Talbot County Community Center
  • Bill No. 1573 - Improvements to vacuum collection system service for the Region II Martingham sewer service area
  • Bill No. 1574 - Improvements and expansion of Chapel District Elementary School

The public hearings for these resolutions, introduced as Bill Nos. 1554 to 1574, will be held on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.

Changes to the Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement regarding Regional Hospital System

Council held a public hearing for Resolution No. 357, which amends the Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) dated October 14, 2014, by and between Talbot County, the Town of Easton, and Shore Health System, Inc. pertaining to the regional medical center project.

In general, a DRRA is a contract between a developer and government to govern future development of a property and rights of both parties. Since 2014 when this DRRA was written, the scope and goals of the regional medical center shifted. As a result, all parties agreed to come to the table to make adjustments prior to the regional medical center project’s anticipated approval this year.

On June 5, 2024, the Planning Commission found the amended DRRA consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

“This amendment mainly updates outdated provisions of the existing DRRA, and moves public works related language into the Public Works Agreements, which is still being worked on by all parties,” said Patrick Thomas, County Attorney. The amended DRRA also adjusts the starting dates for the agreement.

“Any of the items that would raise possible concerns have been redlined out of this amended version” said Council Vice President Pete Lesher. “This has been struck down to barebones, to items that should not raise concerns for the Council.”

Following the public hearing, Council discussion ensued, and Resolution No. 357 was moved forward to vote. Stepp, Lesher, and Callahan voted in favor, Mielke abstained.

Other Business

  • Resolution No. 360, introduced by Council members Callahan, Lesher, Stepp and Mielke, aims to amend the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan for the purpose of providing sanitary services to the new regional medical center by identifying an alternative location for a pump station and expanding the potential route for a force main line to the new regional medical center to be located at 10000 Longwoods Road and the Talbot County Community Center located at 10028 Ocean Gateway, Easton. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.
  • The County Manager presented board nominations for Council’s consideration:
    • Airport Board – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Charles Daffin and Jack Pettit
    • Ethics Commission - Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Anthony Kern
    • Weed Control Committee- Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Levin Schwaninger, Jr. and Donald Webster
  • Mike Mertaugh, Assistant County Engineer, requested Council approval to purchase 10 Orenco Prelos Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) Systems in the amount of $69,400, delivered. Council previously approved the award of Talbot County Bid No. 23-12 to the sole bidder, Orenco Systems on November 14, 2023, and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) subsequently approved as well.  Over the past few years, the Department of Public Works has worked to standardize their pump systems across the county. To date, 25 tanks have been purchased, both for new construction projects and properties converting from septic to County sewer. Council unanimously approved the request.
  • Brian LeCates, Director of Emergency Services, requested Council approval to enter into a Lease with Option to Purchase with Meadow Farm Joint Venture, LLC for five (5) acres for property located at 11340 Cordova Road, Cordova, Maryland 21625; said property will be used for the location of an emergency services station and will be the County’s sixth paramedic station. “Talbot County Emergency Services strives to respond to calls for assistance within 8 minutes 90% of the time,” said LeCates. “With this station strategically located in the northern area of the county, we hope to improve our call times, specifically in the Queen Anne/Hillsboro area.” The property is located across the road from Chapel District Elementary School. Mr. Callahan thanked the Gannon family for providing the County an opportunity to make the new emergency services stations possible.  County Manager, Clay Stamp, stated that Sylvia Gannon was a longtime supporter of paramedics and emergency services in the county and noted this was a great way for the family to continue her legacy.
  • Elisa Deflaux, Department of Planning and Zoning requested Council approval to forward the listing of the County’s highest ranked FY25 Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) applications to the State for consideration for funding. MALPF is in its 44th year of permanently preserving prime farmland through acquisition and retirement of development rights. This year, the Talbot County Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board, who accepts and reviews the applications, received a total of 35 eligible applications which were then ranked for consideration. The Council unanimously approved the request to forward the16 highest ranked applications to MALPF for consideration; the County contributes matching funding provided through a portion of Transfer Tax receipts.
  • Council discussed the letter received from attorneys for the Town of Trappe and Trappe East Holdings Business Trust to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)requesting MDE’s disapproval of Resolution No. 338, or at a minimum, to delete the 100,000 gpd capacity limit and the requirement for a Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan Amendment for each expansion of the Lakeside Development.  At Mr. Lesher’s request, Council chose to take no action until Council can review draft language of a response and Ms. Haythe is able to provide input. He encouraged individual Council members to reach out to Mr. Thomas to discuss.

The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 25th beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton.  The meeting is open to the public.

council highlights county council drra shore regional medical center malpf planning and zoning


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