German aristocrat and statesman Otto von Bismarck is often quoted as saying “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” The same might be said about making tier maps.
In 2012, the state required that counties prepare tier maps which identify where major subdivisions on septic systems would allowed based on state criteria. If this week’s decision by the Charles County Board of County Commissioners is the final decision, it is a good one. However, there was a circuitous path getting there.
As mentioned in a previous blog, a six-member work group was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to develop a draft tier map. The Planning Commission had recommended what was known as the BGI tier map, but the Board did not adopt it. After hearing the workgroup’s recommendation of a prototype map, the Board asked staff and Maryland Department of Planning staff to prepare a final draft for consideration based on the workshop’s recommended criteria. The following week, three members of the Board voted to modify the map to change 9,000 acres in the Mattawoman Creek watershed from Tier 4 to Tier 2. Now that decision has been reversed.
Though not much has been said about it, the workgroup also recommended changes that would improve prospects for agriculture, forestry and fisheries economies, while improving the prospects for builders to construct homes in designated growth areas. If all of the workgroups changes are made, this might be sausage worth waiting for.