Oppose Costly Mandate (SB 266/HB 281) on New Construction BEYOND Bay Critical Area at Homeowners Expense
Dear [Decision Maker],
As your REALTOR and/or homeowner constituent, I appreciate affordable and efficient efforts to protect our Bay. That said, I am opposed to SB 266/HB 281, which does quite the opposite and makes housing even more costly and unaffordable. There are more efficient methods to ensure a healthy bay without harming homeownership affordability.As you know, SB 266/HB 281 reinstates a costly 2012 regulation that was REPEALED by Governor Hogan in 2016. That costly regulation went beyond the scope of the original legislation and expanded the "required" use of Best Available Technology, aka BAT, for on-site disposal systems/septic for new home construction OUTSIDE of the critical area. This is WHY the Governor repealed it in the first place. SB 266/HB 281 is a significant expansion to the program that also uses the Bay Restoration Fund/Fee.I urge you to oppose SB 266/HB 281 for the following reasons below because it negatively impacts homeownership AFFORDABILITY and CHOICE and does NOT EFFICIENTLY improve the health of the Bay -- all at the expense of homeowners:
AFFORDABILITY. BAT systems are $8,000 to $10,000 MORE than a conventional septic system. Some systems can be even more expensive. In addition, these systems require electricity and maintenance agreements that can cost hundreds of dollars a year. This proposed mandate significantly surpasses the Bay Restoration Fund Fees and the controversial stormwater fees currently charged homeowners.HOMEOWNERSHIP CHOICE. This poses an unfair burden for Marylanders seeking homes in rural communities. These communities should not be penalized with unnecessary, costly regulation and a one-size fits all approach. Even existing conventional septic systems in Western Maryland given soil compositions contribute LESS nitrogen to the Bay than the costly BAT systems in the Critical Area. INEFFICIENCY - Due to the high cost of the BAT systems, the 2009 Legislature wisely narrowed the requirement to areas near tidally influenced water ONLY since it was more efficient to target where there is a greater transport of nitrogen from the septic systems to the Bay. SB 266/HB 281 does quite the opposite and targets new construction OUTSIDE of the critical area as well.In fact, other studies that support more efficient, cost-effective strategies to reduce pollution to the Bay point to wastewater treatment plant improvements as well as improved agricultural practices and federal air pollution measures.
The proposed requirement for costly BAT systems for new construction outside of the critical area HARMS housing affordability and choice in Maryland and is an inefficient way to significantly improve Bay health. For these reasons, I strongly urge your opposition to SB 266/HB 281. Many thanks for your consideration.
Respectfully,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]
Maryland Association of REALTORS®,200 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Suite 200Annapolis, MD 21401(800) 638-6425