Council Highlights for December 12, 2023
Category: County Council
The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on December 12 at 6 p.m.; all Council members were present.
Black Dog Alley Weight Limit
The public hearing and subsequent vote occurred for Resolution No. 351, which establishes a vehicle weight limit on Black Dog Alley. The resolution aims to reduce heavy “through traffic” in the area.
Vehicles exceeding 17,000 lbs. in gross combination weight rating (GCWR) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) will be prohibited from traveling on Black Dog Alley, which runs between Cordova Road and Dover Road.
The resolution includes exemptions for these vehicles:
- Vehicles owned or operated by governmental entities or their employees
- Vehicles engaged in agricultural production or operations
- Vehicles responding to an emergency (e.g., emergency services vehicles)
- Vehicles used in connection with providing services to property owners, residents, and businesses on Black Dog Alley, (e.g., delivering goods, picking up trash or other items, conducting work related to the property).
- Vehicles of property owners whose property is located on, or only accessible by, Black Dog Alley provided the vehicles are routinely kept or stored on the property
Resolution No. 351 can be reviewed in full at www.talbotcountymd.gov/blackdogalleylegislation
During public comment, staff from the Talbot County Department of Public Works provided additional details on the new regulation.
“We have an identical restriction on Dover Neck Road by the landfill. At Chilcutt Road that runs into Dover Neck Road there is a 10,000 pound weight limit restriction; there is a 17,000 pound weight limit restriction on Dover Neck Road. Those have been in place for 7 years,” said Assistant County Engineer Mike Mertaugh. “From input I’ve received from the Sheriff’s Office, there was an initial educational period…but really it has not been onerous in effort since.”
Talbot County Sheriff, Joe Gamble, provided accident data on Black Dog Alley. “[That section] is the most accident-prone road outside of intersections…the [vehicles] that are just running off the road are in the stretch between Dover Road up to where the housing developments start.”
The Roads Department, Public Works, and the Sheriff’s Office will work together to ensure citizens are informed of the change through advanced signage and an educational period. The Talbot County Sheriff’s Office will be responsible for enforcing the new regulation.
It was noted that this is a stop gap solution, as the County intends to make improvements to sections of Black Dog Alley to improve safety measures and to accommodate anticipated additional traffic once the new regional medical center is built.
“The County has initiated design [for improvements] for Black Dog Alley,” said County Engineer Ray Clarke. “We plan to come before the Council during the Budget season and look at doing for Black Dog Alley in phases …in addition to that, we will go through the final design approval for permitting for that phase.” Public Works plans to work with the State Highway Administration and seek federal funding for the project.
Following the public hearing, the resolution was approved unanimously by Council.
- Resolution No. 352, introduced by Council members Callahan, Haythe, Lesher, and Stepp, would allow the Town of Trappe to apply its industrial zoning (“M”) classification to a portion of Tax Map 54, Parcel 302. Approximately 32.735 acres of the subject property is already located within Trappe’s corporate limits and is zoned M. The subject parcel consists of approximately 5.125 acres and is zoned Town Residential (“TR”) under the County’s zoning. The zoning change from the County’s TR classification to the Town’s M classification will result in substantially different uses or higher density; therefore, the County Council must grant a waiver in order for the Town to apply its M classification; otherwise, the Town must wait five years to do so. The public hearing on Resolution No. 352 will be held on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room.
- A public hearing was held on Bill No. 1550, which, if approved, would create an exception to the market test of for a single Class E Beer, Wine, and Liquor License in any County municipality without requiring a market study, thus ensuring that each municipality has at least one Class E alcohol dispensary. At the present time, the Town of Trappe is the only municipality that does not currently have a Class E Liquor License. The bill will be eligible for a vote on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.
- Clay Stamp, County Manager presented the following board nomination for the Council’s consideration:
- Upper Shore Aging, Inc. Board of Directors - Council unanimously approved the appointment of Kevin Moran to the Board.
- The Town of St. Michaels Climate Change Sea Level Rise Commission requested Letters of Support from the Council for their application for two Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Gateway Grants to implement recommendations from their recent DNR Outcome 2 grant for the San Domingo Creek/Westside Waterfront area. The grants would include expansion of the living shoreline at Back Creek Park (DNR Outcome 3 grant) and completion of an assessment and preliminary design for a tide gate under the Nature Trail Bridge (DNR Outcome 2 grant), which would protect most of the at-risk flooding areas outlined in the original Outcome 2 study. Council unanimously approved the requests.
- Pickering Creek Audubon Center requested a Letter of Support for their grant application to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Grants Gateway – Outcome 3 for a living shoreline project on the property. Council unanimously approved the request.
- Mr. Stamp noted County offices will be closed on Monday, December 25, 2023, Tuesday, December 26, 2023 and Monday, January 1, 2024.
The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on January 9, 2024 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton. The meeting is open to the public.Return
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