Worcester County News Briefs

SNOW HILL — Discussed at Tuesday’s Worcester County Commissioners meeting was a new Maryland State Police (MSP) tower generator, several grant agreements and the abating of a public nuisance on Germantown Road in Berlin as well as a public hearing was held on an Ocean City Water and Sewerage Plan amendment. Here’s a recap:

MSP Berlin Generator Tower

The commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept a $65,000 bid from Reliant Shelters to install a permanent generator at the MSP Berlin Tower location. The site is one of three tower sites for the county’s 800 MHz Radio System.

Emergency Services Director Teresa Owens told the commission that the location has lacked a fixed generator for years.

“We haven’t had a fixed generator at the building MSP tower site in over three years,” she said. “We’ve been using a portable on a trailer as a backup.”

Owens added that a permanent generator for the MSP tower in Berlin has been much needed. Besides the generator, Reliant will also construct a 12-foot-by-12-foot housing building at the spot.

“The price for the generator, it’s a generator and building in one, is $65,000,” said Owens.

Funding for the project will come from a State Homeland Security Grant program that the commissioners revised in May 2012 to include $75,000 for the purchase of a generator at the site.

Grant Agreements

Funding for two legacy areas in Worcester County, Coastal Bays and Dividing Creek, was awarded this month by the Maryland Rural Legacy Program (RLP), though the county received far less than it requested.

“Boy did we get whacked for the Dividing Creek,” said County Commissioner Virgil Shockley.

The commissioners had requested $1 million in funding for Coastal Bays and $2.25 million for Dividing Creek. The county was awarded $320,000 and $130,631, respectively.

“The funding was obviously nowhere near what we requested with either one,” said County Director of Development Review and Permitting Ed Tudor, “but at least we got something.”

This year the RLP received $5.6 million, which was split amongst 10 Rural Legacy Areas across Maryland. According to a report from Katherine Munson, Planner IV for Worcester, the funding will be used to purchase a conservation easement on a property on Ayres Lane Road. Any remaining funding will be put towards another easement in the Coastal Bays area.

Though disappointed with the amount awarded, the commissioners unanimously voted to accept the Rural Legacy funding. They later voted in favor of the proposed easement sale on Ayres Lane Road, also unanimously. RLP funding fully covered the sale with no direct cost to the county.

Nuisance Abatement

An overgrown property located at 10112 Germantown Rd. in Berlin was inspected and declared a “public nuisance” this week. Earlier in the year, Tudor requested that the property be inspected, which necessitated the removal of overgrowth that had “completely engulfed” the home.

“It was clearly overcome with vegetation,” he told the commission. “You couldn’t even see the house behind the vegetation.”

After clearing the property, Tudor acknowledged the appearance of the house wasn’t obviously decrepit. However, investigating the interior led him to determine that the building is “most likely beyond all reasonable hope of rehabilitation.”

“In the pictures it doesn’t look all that bad but I’ve had my building inspectors take a look on the inside and there is extensive rot,” said Tudor.

Because all attempts to contact the property owners has failed, including correspondence being marked “Return to Sender,” Tudor also suggested that the Order of Nuisance Abatement and Request to be Heard only be set for the 15 day minimum posting.

The commission agreed and declared the property a public nuisance. If no owners step forward with a plan to abate the nuisance, the property will likely end up demolished.

Sewer Plan Amendment

A public hearing was held for a proposed amendment to the county’s Water and Sewerage Plan. The proposal came from the Town of Ocean City in regards to a Refinement of Technical Data and Updated Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Water and Sewer Services. The amendment would allow the implementation of the town’s CIP including a new well at 51st Street, the removal of a water tank at 66th Street, a future water treatment plant at 66th Street and a new water main from 45th to 51st streets.

“We’re trying to project Capital Improvement Projects,” said Ocean City Public Works Chief Deputy Jim Parson.

County Director of Environmental Programs Bob Mitchell added that the proposal is more of a “consolidation” and won’t change the service area maps.

The project received a favorable recommendation from the Worcester County Planning Commission and no public comments were given during the hearing. The County Commissioners unanimously agreed.

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