Talbot County Council Meeting Highlights, July 11, 2023


Category: County Council

The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 11th at 5 p.m.; all Council members were present.

Proclamation: Parks and Recreation Month – Director of Parks and Recreation Preston Peper accepted a proclamation on behalf of the department to celebrate July as Parks and Recreation Month.


The proclamation marks the annual nationwide recognition program, established by National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), that aims to raise awareness of the essential services that parks and recreation facilities and professionals provide to communities across the United States.

For more information on Parks and Recreation Month: County Highlights July 2023 as “Parks and Recreation Month” - Talbot County, Maryland (talbotcountymd.gov)

Leeds Creek Bridge Replacement

Ray Clark, County Engineer, and Assistant County Engineer, Mike Mertaugh, provided an update on the Leeds Creek (Tunis Mills) Bridge Replacement Project.

The proposed bridge plan includes improvements on the previous bridge. These improvements include: adding approximately two more feet of clearance; replacing current timber piles with steel piles; replacing the timber deck surface with new laminated deck surface which allows for paving on the bridge; using a timber safety rail to preserve the historic look; and replacing the current loading dock with a new similar platform.

If approved, the bridge replacement will be funded with 80% federal funds and 20% local funds. The estimated total project cost is $6,000,000.

Once construction has begun, the bridge crossing will be closed for a year. Traffic diversion suggestions are included in the “Maintenance of Traffic” document, which will be included in the proposed project plan.

Council Members asked several clarifying questions. To review the presentation and subsequent questions, watch the Council meeting starting at minute 12.   

Council Member Lynn Mielke asked how many residents the bridge currently serves. Mertaugh indicated that the surrounding population is approximately 200 people, providing  a good estimate as to  how many people the bridge serves. 

“I presume the material choices on this, certainly some are guided by maintaining the historic look of the bridge, but the steel and concrete pilings and pierheads are driven by federal requirements?” asked Council Vice President Pete Lesher. “That is correct,” said Clarke.

Public Works will host a public meeting to provide specifics of the bridge replacement project and answer questions. Residents are encouraged to attend the community meeting on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Wye Oak Room at the Talbot County Community Center.

Moratorium on Cannabis Operations and Facilities

The Council held a public hearing and subsequently voted on Resolution No. 344 to adopt a moratorium on the processing, review, and approval of applications, site plans, permits, and other authorizations for the location, construction, and/or operation of businesses engaged in growing, processing, and/or selling cannabis for a period of nine (9) months.

The intent of the legislation is to allow the County sufficient time to enact reasonable, thoughtful, and lawful zoning requirements and other regulations to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

The Council voted in favor of the resolution, 4-1 with Council Vice President Pete Lesher dissenting.

Other Business

  • Council unanimously approved Resolution 343, a Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan amendment which authorizes extension of sewer services to two parcels on Yacht Club Road.
  • Public hearings were held for Bill Nos. 1531 through Bill No. 1543. These bills authorize certain capital projects included in the FY24 Budget. Budget authorization requests included:
    • Bill No. 1531, Development of Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe, 13213 Lewistown Road, Queen Anne
    • Bill No. 1532, Expansion of St. Michaels Branch of the Talbot County Free Library
    • Bill No. 1533, Improvements to the Talbot County Detention Center
    • Bill No. 1534, Purchase of improved or unimproved real property for future County purposes
    • Bill No. 1535, Upgrade or replacement of the wastewater treatment plant at The Preserve at Wye Mills
    • Bill No. 1536, Extension of water and sewer lines to the proposed regional medical center hospital site located between Longwoods Road and U.S.
    • Route 50 in Easton
    • Bill No. 1537, Construction of Emergency Medical Services Stations
    • Bill No. 1538, Improvement and Expansion to Chapel District Elementary School
    • Bill No. 1539, Construction and Improvements to Driving Range Complex at Hog Neck Golf Course
    • Bill No. 1540, Gymnasium addition to the Talbot County Community Center
    • Bill No. 1541, Improvements to County roads
    • Bill No. 1542, Replacement of the 911 Division Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system
    • Bill No. 1543, Replacement of roof at White Marsh Elementary School

Bill Nos. 1531 to 1537, and Bill Nos. 1539 to 1543 are eligible for vote on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. The vote on Bill No. 1538 will be scheduled for the Council meeting on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 to accommodate public comment following community stakeholder meetings scheduled by Talbot County Public Schools on the Chapel District Elementary School project on Wednesday, July 12th and Wednesday, August 2nd.

  • A Public hearing was held on Bill No. 1544. The bill proposes to allow inns as a special exception use in the County’s Agricultural Conservation, Countryside Preservation, Western Rural Conservation, Town Conservation and Rural Conservation districts; if approved, the legislation would also permit an increase the number of guest rooms from 10 to 12 and allow historic inns to increase the number of guestrooms outside of the primary structure from 2 to 6. Bill No. 1544 is eligible for vote on July 25, 2023.
  • The Assistant County Manager presented one board nominations for the Council’s consideration:
    • Economic Development Commission – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Walter Chase as the Town of Trappe’s representative.
  • Chesapeake College requested approval to revise their FY24 budget. Their revised budget plan addresses the difference between projected state funding to actualized State funding. State funding saw an increase in the amount of $1,883,004 from the John A. Cade Funding Formula & Budget Reconciliation & Financing Act. The additional funding will allow the college to provide a salary increase of 3% to full-time employees, hire additional employees in vital technical areas such as Information Technology, Health Professions, STEM fields and Skilled Trades, and replace interior door locks on the campus property. There is no additional cost for the participating counties. The Council unanimously approved the new revised budget.
  • Katie Dilley, Executive Director of Mid Shore Behavioral Health, Inc., and Bill Webb, Kent County Health Officer, addressed the importance of a Residential Treatment Center for children and adolescents in our region and requested a letter of support from the Council to the Maryland Department of Health regarding service expansion at the Upper Shore Mental Health Center in Chestertown. The request was unanimously approved.
  • Department of Public Works requested approval to purchase ten (10) septic tank effluent pump (STEP) systems in the amount of $68,679.44 for the Region II (St. Michaels) Wastewater System as part of new connections related to Resolution No. 235.  The cost of the STEP systems will be paid for by the users.  The request was unanimously approved.
  • The Assistant County Manager thanked the Sheriff’s Office, Roads Department, County Building Inspector, Tilghman Island Fire Department, Department of Public Works, Emergency Services, staff of Parks and Recreation, and Communications Coordinator, Sarah Kilmon, for the cross-department and inter-agency response to storms that occurred on July 3, 2023. Property owners are reminded that emergency permits are available for properties damaged by the storm. If residents have questions about the emergency permits, they may contact the Permits Office at 410-770-6840.

The Talbot County Council will hold a work session to discuss a proposed Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan amendment pertaining to Lakeside Development phases and Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs)  on Wednesday, July 19th at 5:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room.  The work session will be followed by a Closed Session. 

The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton.  The work session and the meeting open to the public.

See previous Meeting Highlights on the Talbot County Website here: Talbot County Council Meeting Highlights - Talbot County, Maryland (talbotcountymd.gov)

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