Md. reports on county growth law compliance

ANNAPOLIS — Land development maps adopted by Frederick and Cecil counties have “largely ignored” a state law designed to limit septic system growth to fight pollution, according to a state report. But the law does not allow the state to mandate changes to the plans.

The Maryland Department of Planning said in the report, released Friday, that the two counties have failed to designate much land that wouldn’t allow major residential subdivisions that rely on septic systems.

“This approach essentially neutralizes the impact of the law,” the report concluded. “This will allow many more major subdivisions on septic and result in significant land consumption and water pollution impacts.”

The law passed last year by the General Assembly creates a four-tiered system limiting where residential subdivisions on septic systems can be built.

Officials in Frederick and Cecil counties have decried the law as overreaching.

“At the time of writing, the administration is considering options for how to best respond to the counties with problematic tier maps,” the department wrote in its report.

The report found that eight jurisdictions appear to substantially comply. They are Baltimore city as well as Montgomery, Prince George’s, Baltimore, Harford, Kent, Talbot and Garrett counties.

Somerset County has adopted a plan, but it has not yet been reviewed by the state. Allegany County has adopted a plan, but the report found the county’s Terrapin Run area, which is dominated by agricultural or forest land, is required to be designated as an area not planned for sewerage service to be in compliance.

Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Howard, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester have not yet adopted plans.