Carroll capsule

Carroll capsule

January 20, 1991


Members of the Carroll Charter Government Committee have begun theirpetition drive to bring the issue of charter government to voters bythe 1992 general election.

In a series of informational meetings,members of the committee met with neighbors and explained charter government to them, said Naomi Benzil, the student-teacher supervisor at Western Maryland College and a committee member.

"We really want this to be a grass-roots process," she said. "We are all trying to get together with our neighbors and get the information to them.

The charter system is one of the state's three methods of county government that could replace Carroll's Board of Commissioners.

This most recent push is the third in the county. A drive for charter government was defeated in 1968. An attempt at code home rule -- another form of government -- was defeated soundly by county voters in 1984.

Charter government calls for an elected council and executive or an appointed manager. It would give the county legislative, judicial and executive powers. Under the commissioner form, thecounty is left mostly with executive and judicial powers.

The charter committee needs to collect 2,500 signatures to compel the CountyCommissioners to appoint a committee to write a proposed charter. That charter would then face county voters in 1992.

Charter government is used in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Montgomery, Prince George's, Talbot and Wicomico counties, as well as in Baltimore. Four counties have code home rule and the remaining 11 -- all outside the metro area -- are under the commissioner form of government.

Proponents of charter say the county's rapid growth rate and increasingly more complex set of problems calls out for a charter form of government.


MANCHESTER -- The Planning and Zoning Commission has been working with the developers of what could be one of the biggest housing projects in town for almost a year now.

But, for Henry L. Blevins and his proposed 165 single-family home subdivision, Monday brings yet another appearance in front of the commission.

The project -- proposed for the 61-acre Dell farm in the northwest part of town -- has been in front the commission at least a half-dozen times since last year.

It was in late February that Blevins -- a Mount Airy developer -- first told the town of his plans to develop the property.

Since then, the project has faced considerable citizen opposition, despite general support from county and town planning officials.

In fact, his first plans called for a 266-unit mixed-use development. Those plans were nixed after nearly 200 angry residents protested Blevins' proposal.

The original development was to be under construction by now; however, the county and the town have worked with Blevins to revise and refine his plans.

The Dell project is expected to cater to first-time homebuyers, with prices ranging from $80,000 to $100,000.

Tomorrow night's meeting begins at 7:30 in the town hall on York Street.


Carroll County's standards for homes and apartments were made stronger than the state mandates, the County Commissioners learned recently.

J. Michael Evans, director of the department of permits and regulations, presented a beefed-up Carroll County Minimum Livability Code to the Commissioners.

In the code, standards for lead paint removal, minimum temperature requirements and fire safety are more stringent than those required under state law.

"We are trying to set a minimumstandard for housing in the county," Evans said.

All owners of residential property must comply with the code. It is available at the County Office Building on Center Street.


WESTMINSTER -- The Maryland Student Legislature, a diverse group of student delegates who debate and resolve issues pertaining to local, regional, national and global interests, will have its next Interim Council meeting at Western Maryland College on Saturday and Sunday, Feb.9 and 10.

Student delegates from institutions such as WMC, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, and other colleges and universities will be in attendance to have debates, consider legislation, and conduct business in a manner patterned closely after the Maryland General Assembly.

The student legislature, founded in late1989 by students at the University of Maryland at College Park, Prince George's County, is designed to provide college undergraduate andgraduate students with real insights into the state's political process. Students are elected by their own MSL chapters as representatives of their respective colleges and meet in quarterly sessions to draft legislation on a wide range of affairs.

Bills and resolutions -- not restricted to college student concerns -- are researched by student assistants, and brought for consideration by the legislators.

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