Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners move ahead on animal control ordinance

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners move ahead on animal control ordinance and hear Fort Ritchie report

As part of its regular meeting on August 31st, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard reports from Division and Department Heads and the County Administrator on goals set for the 2006-2010 Board term (See attached release).
The Board discussed further changes to the Animal Control Ordinance including regulation of vicious and dangerous dogs, and will revise licensing procedures. The Washington County Humane Society will issue licenses for dogs and kennels, and receive all fees for those services, under changes discussed in the meeting. Commissioners reached consensus to move forward with the ordinance and will hold a public hearing on the issue, date to be announced.
Commissioners will provide a letter of support to the U.S. Army on its lawsuit that has stalled redevelopment of Fort Ritchie.
Representatives of Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) and the PenMar Development Corporation (PMDC) reported that progress on the efforts to develop property and bring new business to the former fort are at a standstill due to the lawsuit, which claimed that the Army did not provide adequate information in its Environmental Impact statement filed in 1998.
William Hoffman, COPT Senior Property and Environmental Services Manager told the Board that the Army's Record of Environmental Consideration (REC), which is open for public comment until September 19th, shows that further review of the environmental impact of the proposed development is not needed.
The County Commissioners had not been involved in the legal proceedings on advice of counsel, but weighed potential benefits in sending a letter of support. PMDC representative Michael Zampelli said such a letter would be helpful to the redevelopment effort and the revised development plan that COPT has proposed, which reduces the number of planned jobs from 4,500 to 3,343.
The plan would create a hotel, a conference center, nearly 7,000 square feet of office space and about 700 homes.
The Board requested staff of the Economic Development Commission to draft that letter for email to the appropriate authorities. Information on the REC and Master Plan for Fort Ritchie are available at www.hqda.army.mil/acsimweb/brac/env_rec_review.htm.
In other actions, a contact was awarded to the Boys' and Girls' Club of Washington County for Provision of Rural Out-of-School Time Initiative (ROSTI) in the amount of $125,000. The purpose of the service is to offer supervised out-of-school time activities for 145 at-risk school age children.
The Board awarded a contract for Post Secondary Education and Training for Teen Parents to Hagerstown Community College in the amount of $61,020.00. The project provides support to teen parents who are enrolled in post secondary educational activities.
New York Marine and General Insurance of New York City, New York was awarded placement of the County excess workers compensation insurance coverage for a total premium of $88,335 for the policy year from September 1st, 2010 to September 2nd, 2011, a saving of approximately $20,300 below the budgeted premium level.
The Board appointed Andrew Bowen to his first full 5-year term on the Planning Commission.
Commissioners approved advertising a Deputy Director for Operations Position at 9-1-1 Dispatch, made vacant by a resignation.
Planning Director Mike Thompson reported that Allegheny Power will upgrade its line from Ringgold to Frederick and Carroll Counties by replacing wooden poles with steel structures. This is not the PATH project, Thompson said, and will use existing power company rights of way. Planning staff is meeting with Allegheny to discuss the project later in the week.
Thompson also presented an update on makeup of a committee to review the Forest Conservation Plan. Representatives of the Soil Conservation District, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Forest Conservancy Board, the engineering community and the environmental community were recommended. Additional interests could be included in the committee makeup.
Permits and Inspections Director Dan Divito told the Board that those individuals and developers involved in the residential stimulus program were initially given 6 months until the first framing inspection was to occur, and 18 months to receive use and occupancy (U&O) permits. The Commissioners requested some leniency in the process and a letter to all interested parties is asking for the 6-month time frame but stating that there is no requirement that the inspection take place within that period. However, the 18 months time limit for U&O is still a requirement and is non-extendable.
Commissioners approved a change order to the Pavement Maintenance Project in the amount of $233,000. Public Works Deputy Director for Capital Projects Engineering Rob Slocum reported that due to paving of Federal Aid Roads having been completed under budget, the funds were available to allow for paving of two roads listed in the Priority Two classification, Halfway Boulevard and Mount Aetna Road. The funds will be added to the current paving contract held by C. William Hetzer.