HAMPSTEAD — Jerry and Virginia Wilhelm got some bad news at Monday night's monthly Town Council meeting.
The Wilhelms, who live in Hanover, Pa., but own property in Hampstead, received a rezoning recommendation fromthe town's Planning and Zoning Commission last month.
But the Town Council did not vote to resolve a 20-month battle tohave the Wilhelms property in the 1300 block of North Main Street rezoned to business-local.
The parcel had been zoned business for many years until it was rezoned residential during the town's Master Plan revision in 1986. The Wilhelms, who bought the property in 1985, said they were unaware of the rezoning a year later.
Jerry Wilhelm told members of the council that he was discouraged by the "constant roadblocks" he has surmounted in the last 20 months in an attempt to obtain the business zoning.
The Wilhelms submitted a petition lastmonth to the Planning and Zoning Commission stating that the building historically had been zoned for commercial use.
In a Dec. 4 letter, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the rezoning to the council because the majority of the planners found the property to have "no residential value."
The Wilhelms expected the council vote to follow the commission's recommendation.
But before the council's vote, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Arthur Moler read froma letter written by Charles O. Fisher Sr., town attorney, requiring the panel to define further its recommendation for the rezoning.
"We were here last month and received a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission, and we thought this would be settled tonight," Wilhelm told the Town Council. "They voted on it and now you are telling us on the day of the meeting that you can't vote on it."
Councilman Lewis O. Keyser, Jr. questioned Moler, asking why the council and the Wilhelms did not receive this information before the meeting.
Moler, who had received a copy of the letter from Town Manager John A. Riley about two weeks before the Monday evening meeting, did not respond.
In his letter, Fisher cited Article 66 B, Section 4.05 of the Annotated Maryland Code, which requires that a zoning change be based on a specific finding of facts.
Findings of fact include a change in population, the availability of public facilities, and present and future transportation patterns.
"Basically, what they (planners) need to do is give more in-depth information as to why they decided upon this recommendation," Riley said after the meeting. "There have to be reasons stated as to why they came to this decision."
Riley added that before the council could vote on the recommendation, a public hearing also must take place.
Mayor C. Clinton Becker said that a letter would be sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting further definition of its rezoning recommendation.
He also directed Riley to arrange for a public hearing.
In other business, Councilwoman Jackie Hyatt presented a report on the Hampstead pool.
Hyatt proposed a number of changes that included not only repairs, but also the replacement of the concession area with vending machines and the introduction of swimming lessons to generaterevenue.
"I would like to make a go of it," Hyatt said.
"We can make the repairs and stay within our budget, and we will have this affordable type of recreation which we can offer the community."