Sykesville, County Debate Obrecht Rd. Maintenance

September 15, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — The new Obrecht Road realignment is probably 18 months away, but a portion of the road already is raising questions over who will be responsible for maintenance.

In December 1978, Sykesville annexed whatwas known as the Rynland property, which extended to Obrecht Road onthe town's northwest side.

"At that time, the town entered into an annexation agreement withthe county when the boundary was created down the center of Obrecht Road, from just east of Gaither Road to the ball fields," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.

Although half of that 2,000-foot section of the two-lane road was on town property and half in the county, the county agreed to take over maintenance. Obrecht, from Route 97 tojust east of Gaither, is a county road.

The county also agreed tomaintain Obrecht south of the ball fields to Norris Avenue, althoughthat part of the Rynland annexation extended across the road, makingit town property.

The county is now asking the town to take over the portion of Obrecht east of Gaither to the planned extension, slated for construction in 1992-1993. The mile-long realignment is expected to cost about $1 million.

The town has offered a counterproposal.

"What we're recommending is that the town take over ownership and maintenance responsibility for that portion of Obrecht Road from Norris Avenue to the current entrance into the Little League ball fields," Schumacher wrote in a letter to county Public Works Director John T. "Jack" Sterling.

That part of Obrecht would be renamed Third Avenue.

Since the new section of Obrecht would be a county right-of-way, Schumacher is asking the county to take over all of Obrecht from Route 97 to Route

32, rather than leave a portion of town road sandwiched between county sections.

"Leaving that portion of Obrecht to us would create all kinds of problems," Schumacher said. "Maintenance would be a problem -- there's no place for a snowplow to turn around. Another problem would be the speed limit," he said. "The county speed limit is 40 miles per hour, but we have an ordinance that calls for residential roads to be 25 miles an hour.

"People would think it was a speed trap if we made the speed limit for that part 25 miles an hour."

Police protection and road signs would also create problems, he said.

Chief Wallace P. Mitchell said Sykesville police would patrol the section if the town takes it over.

The county also is asking for an additional 20-foot right-of-way for Obrecht, from east of Gaither to the new section, so the road can be widened fromits current 24 feet, Sterling said.

That additional 20 feet wouldhave to come from the developer of the Hawk Ridge subdivision, who was already asked for the standard 80-foot right-of-way in accordance with town and county specifications, Schumacher said.

"We'll require the developer to deed over the necessary right of way and widen the road in accordance with specifications," the town manager said.

No properties on the north side of that section of Obrecht would be affected by the project, he said.

Sterling and Schumacher both saidthe county and town attorneys would have to work out an agreement onObrecht.

County Attorney Charles W. Thompson Jr. said he didn't know enough about the Obrecht Road situation to comment on what would be required in turning over the portion.

Town Attorney Dennis Hoover said it probably would involve a simple transfer of ownership of the property after the town and county reach agreement.

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