Rising Sun updates its rules on commissions, makes appointments

Calvin Bonenberger, Rising Sun Town Administrator, reads Ordinance 2021-02 into the record at the Tuesday night town meeting. The commissioners passed it by emergency vote, updating the town code to match Maryland COMAR Article 66-B.

RISING SUN — The board of town commissioners introduced two ordinances — approving one and setting aside another Tuesday night — both of which are geared toward preparation for the approaching building boom.

Ordinance 2021-02 was passed unanimously by emergency vote. Ordinance 2021-03 was introduced with a vote set for a later date by the Rising Sun Commissioners.

With infrastructure roadblocks behind them, and vacancies on the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, the elected board moved to amend the requirements to serve on both boards and to offer compensation for that service. All of these changes also bring the town charter in line with Maryland’s annotated code, specifically Article 66-B Land Use and Development.

“The Planning Commission had been working on zoning code revisions and the comprehensive plan for a long time before COVID,” said Calvin Bonenberger, town administrator.

Now the town should be looking at the make-up of these groups, which will essentially guide the future of Rising Sun.

“The level of intensity is higher because now we have the infrastructure,” Bonenberger said.

Rising Sun invested some $40 million to update its wastewater treatment plant and devise a new water supply. The orbal ditch wastewater plant went online in July 2015. The water interconnect with Chester Water Authority was activated in early 2019. Completion of both ended an almost 20 year long building moratorium.

“We need to look at how to get people interested in serving,” Bonenberger said. He suggested providing a more detailed description of the role of both boards. “I think you’ll have a better shot at getting young professionals interested.”

Since Maryland passed Article 66-B in 2009 while the town was in a moratorium no changes were made. Now, Bonenberger reports new houses are being built and many existing homes are in permitting for additions such as decks and garages so there is a recognized need to revamp the code and rebuild both boards.

If Ordinance 2021-03 is passed members of both these appointed boards could be compensated for their time. Bonenberger said that compensation would then be established by resolution.

At the same meeting four PC vacancies were filled by Resolution 2021-05, naming Judith Fisher, Joanne Osborne, Michael Hvizdzak and re-appointing Thom Gobble to the Planning Commission. Gobble’s term expired in 2020.

Also the board re-appointed Joe Szkalac to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

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