HAMPSTEAD — About 40 residents from North Carroll Farms looked on in disbelief Monday evening as the Hampstead Planning and Zoning Commission grantedpreliminary approval to North Carroll Farms Section Four.
The residents have been attending the town council and planning meetings forthe last few months to oppose plans for 72 town homes and 148 single-family dwellings on the 60 plus acres that backs up to their community of 97 single-family homes.
They are concerned about traffic safety, water and schools.
Commission Chairman Arthur Moler asked for the vote, despite numerous attempts by North Carroll residents to raise further concerns regarding a proposed railroad crossing at Farm Woods Lane.
"Quite frankly,I am pretty well disgusted," said 36-year-old Kris Koch, following the commission's vote to grant preliminary approval. "I would like to know why we were not on the agenda. We went through the proper procedure. I object to the fact that we were not given time for questions before the commission took a vote on the preliminary plan."
The preliminary approval, with conditions, was given to Manchester developerWoodhaven Building and Development Inc., owned by Martin K. P. Hill.One condition was to gain approval from CSX railroad officials to close the crossing at Greenmount Church Road, before the proposed public crossing on the extension of Farm Woods Lane could be incorporated.
Anne Poissant, a plan reviewer for the county said, "In order forthe developer to get approval for the new crossing, he must first close the Greenmount Church Road crossing. This would require a public hearing which could lead to a lengthy process."
Poissant added that if the Greenmount crossing is not closed, the developer would have to begin a new design process.
The second condition required Hill to place a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 30 and the newFarm Woods Lane.
In addition to concerns about the railroad crossing, North Carroll Farms resident Larry Hentz said he was still awaiting answers to his questions regarding the traffic study.
"I wroteyou (the Planning and Zoning Commission) a letter and specifically addressed the traffic study," said the 38-year-old Hentz. "Where are the answers? Are you going to request that the state review that traffic study?"
Moler, answering for the planning commission, said theywould not ask state transportation officials to review the traffic study.
"We feel that the study is adequate," he said.
At last month's Town Council meeting, nearly 20 residents asked officials for their help in obtaining answers to their questions.
In essence, theresidents were told they should address their concerns to the planning commission.
Hampstead Councilman Gary Bauer wrote a letter to the planning commission requesting that a workshop meeting be arrangedso that planners and residents could discuss the issues informally.
When asked point-blank about setting a date for the workshop, Moler would not commit but said he would make his response to the homeowners in writing at a later time.
"What I have seen here is rude, very rude," said Steve Harmon, president of the homeowners' associationfor neighboring Small Crossings. "You are treating these people likethey are children. They are not children, they are adults.
"They are trying to be heard and all they get is rejection. All they are asking for is some help."
The North Carroll residents vowed to keep coming back.