Stormwater Changes Advance In Berlin

Travis Brown
Staff Writer

BERLIN – The Town of Berlin and EA Engineering are partnering together to update the town’s stormwater management plan.

Maryland recently asked all municipalities to revise their current plans in hopes to reduce flooding. Berlin, which traditionally has let Worcester County handle any changes, has decided to take control of the process itself this time.

At a town council meeting on Wednesday, EA Engineering representative Darl Kolar presented information on stormwater waivers, the application process, fee schedule and agreements. As Kolar began his presentation, Councilwoman Paula Lynch jokingly commented on the 12-inch stack of books and material he had brought with him.

“You’re not going to read all of that, are you?” said Lynch.
Kolar laughed and replied that it was only there incase the council needed specific references.

New building projects will be required to meet the criteria for stormwater management outlined in the plan and to pay all applicable fees, unless they are granted a waiver. An example of the waiver request form was presented at the meeting. All waiver requests carried a flat fee of $180.

Councilman Troy Prunell, who would be receiving a waiver himself for one of his projects, explained the process.

“There’s a long list of things necessary to qualify for a waiver,” he said. “Basically, it’s for projects that have already been approved and are already in the works.”

For new projects that don’t qualify for the waiver, a plan review fee schedule was provided. The schedule detailed plan review fees for single dwelling homes, which start at $7 per 1,000 square foot of disturbance up to 130,000 square feet and change to $2 per 1,000 square feet for any amount of disturbance caused by the building to an area greater than 130,000 square feet. The plan review carried a minimum of $600.

The cost for multi-family, agricultural, commercial or industrial plan reviews were all $10 per 1,000 square feet of disturbance up to 220,000 square feet and $2 for area over 220,000.

When questioned by the council about payment of the fees, Kolar explained that all plan review fees would have to be paid in advance.

Council Vice President Elroy Brittingham asked who would have the final say in stormwater issues, the town or EA Engineering.

“We really want to form a connection the town,” stressed Kolar. “In the case of review problems, we’d make a recommendation to you. We don’t want to discourage building, but we do want to protect against flooding.”