This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2014.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett might be interested in a study to look at the potential effect of development on a Clarksburg watershed.
In a meeting with Gazette reporters and editors Friday, Leggett said he thinks there’s “some merit” in a county-funded study in Clarksburg’s Ten Mile Creek.
Leggett said he’d like to evaluate some additional information from environmental agencies and the Washington Sewer and Sanitary Commission. He would have to see what a study would cost and how long it would take before deciding if he would support it, he said.
Two council committees are scheduled to hold a work session to consider whether a proposed residential development in Boyds and a mixed-use fashion outlet mall in Clarksburg pose a threat to the Ten Mile Creek watershed, which drains into Little Seneca Lake.
The lake is a backup water supply for parts of the county during droughts.
The committees are also scheduled to meet on Jan. 17 and 24.
A county study could have a significant effect on the various development projects planned for the Clarksburg and Boyds areas.
Leggett said a decision on whether to halt projects until a study is completed would depend on how long the study will take.
“There are some huge decisions that need to be made here, and decisions that you want to be sure you’ve got the right information on,” Leggett said.
A representative from The Peterson Cos., the developer of the proposed outlet mall, did not respond to a request for comment on what impact halting the project until a study is complete might have on the company’s plans.
On Jan. 9, Leggett sent a letter to the coordinator of the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition saying the county will not develop more than 400 acres of land it owns in the Ten Mile Creek area, including a proposed addition to the county jail in Clarksburg.
Not developing that land will reduce the amount of impervious surface and the amount of runoff into the watershed, Leggett said.
“I am committed to protecting Ten Mile Creek and believe we can do that and still provide the appropriate infrastructure for the Clarksburg community, and for a successful town center,” he wrote.
Caroline Taylor, executive director of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, said Friday that the coalition was cautiously optimistic that Leggett and the County Council will do the right thing to protect the residents and drinking water in the region for decades.
“We’re really hopeful that the county is going to take a long view on this,” she said.