Carroll residents soon will get the chance to learn all they ever wanted to know about the county's proposed mining plan.
The final draft of the plan was presented yesterday to the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission at its monthly meeting.
"We're moving to the end of the process, hopefully," K. Marlene Conaway, assistant county planning director, told the commission.
The commission tentatively scheduled two information sessions and a public hearing on the plan, which is aimed at balancing the concerns ofcitizens and mining companies.
"This should give the residents, right up front, a chance to say what they would like to see occurring," Conaway said of the upcoming public meetings.
A recent state mandate required Carroll and other non-charter counties to develop a mining plan as part of comprehensive master plans, Conaway said.
The plan was drafted by the nine-member Mineral Resource Advisory Committee, appointed by the planning commission to develop a comprehensive mineral mining plan for Carroll.
The citizens committee began work on the plan in January.
Two information sessions will be scheduled: one for the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 19, and one the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The afternoon meeting will be held after the daylong meeting of the planning commission, while the evening session likely will be conducted at Francis Scott Key High School in Uniontown, Conaway said.
County planners are hoping to schedule the public hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Key High School.
Thereis a subtle difference between public information meetings and public hearings, the planners said.
At the information session, residents and other interested parties will get an overview of the plan and be able to ask questions.
The public hearing, on the other hand, will be the opportunity for people to comment on the plan.
Also yesterday, the commission formally sent the plan out for 60 days for review by several other government agencies.
Agencies that will look at the plan include the governments of Frederick, Howard, and Baltimore counties; the state departments of Natural Resources, Environment and Health; all municipalities in Carroll; and the Baltimore RegionalCouncil of Governments.
Those bodies will review the plan and make comments and suggestions to be considered for the final version of the plan, which must be approved by the planning commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
The county's most plentiful mineral resource -- marble -- is concentrated in the Wakefield Valley area, where two companies mine and a third wants to begin.
Last November,the commissioners declared a moratorium on development in the Wakefield Valley area until a mining plan was developed.
The moratorium expires in December, but because completion of the plan is about one month behind schedule, the mining committee has requested that the ban be extended through February.
A public meeting to answer questions about extending the moratorium will be at 3 p.m. today in Room 309of the County Office Building with planning staff members.
A public hearing to take formal testimony will be at 7 p.m. Monday in Room 07 of the same building with the Board of County Commissioners.
The commissioners then will vote on whether to extend the moratorium.