Ocean City Today

County relents, allocates Frontier Town EDUs

By Brian Gilliland | May 17, 2018

(May 18, 2018) Bringing the issue to rest for a couple of years at least, the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the 34 equivalent dwelling units of water and sewer capacity requested by Sun Communities, the owners of Frontier Town, for the first phase of its expansion.

As a result, the case pending in circuit court to appeal the decision was dismissed, according to Frontier Town’s lawyer, Hugh Cropper.

Previously, Frontier Town was on a septic system that required a drain field. Sun Communities, when it purchased the attraction in 2015, intended to migrate the site to county services and then expand the campground on top of the drain field. It had already done this at its other properties, including one in Worcester County.

Moving county properties off septic and onto public services is a goal of the county’s comprehensive plan.

Sometime during the process, the Maryland Department of the Environment required the county to develop an allocation plan for its water and sewer capacity: equivalent dwelling units or EDUs.

The county had to allocate a certain number of EDUs for a certain areas and for specific purposes.

However, when it came time for Frontier Town to purchase the capacity to allow the expansion, there wasn’t enough left in the attraction’s area, and the commissioners denied the request late last year.

There was capacity in neighboring areas, but to move what amounts to a paper number from one column to another required the approval of MDE. The commissioners were initially reluctant to take that step, instead deciding to fight the issue at the local level.

But Frontier Town fought back, eventually landing the case in circuit court.

Since then, the issue has been back and forth until April when Cropper filed an amended request for 34 EDUs to cover the first phase of the proposed expansion. Cropper presented the application, but the commissioners took no formal action, leaving the project in limbo.

That changed on Tuesday, when Commissioner Bud Church moved to file an amendment to the MDE plan to allocate the 34 EDUs Frontier Town said it needs to add another 100 campsites to the property. The measure passed without objection.

Cropper said if everything goes to plan, the expansion would open next year, with construction beginning in September.

The timeline for additional phases has not yet been set.

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