Commissioners Reject Forest Plan, Name Builder To Committee

March 29, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

A committee writing the county's forest conservation ordinance welcomed a new member -- a representative from a homebuilders association -- and pressed the commissioners to detail their concerns about a proposed draft.

Working against a state-imposed April 30 deadline, the committee met with the commissioners Thursday, hoping to get at least preliminary approval of the proposed ordinance. The draft is part of a state-mandated program to conserve forests and create new woodlands.

However, Commissioner President Donald I. Dell told the committeethat the draft "was not acceptable."

When asked to elaborate, thecommissioners said they had concerns about "technicalities" within the draft, which has come under fire from developers and home buildersrepresentatives as too restrictive.

"What we really need is for you to specify or state areas

you are concerned about," said Frank Grabowski, the committee chair.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said the panel "was not prepared" to cite its concerns Thursday. She and the other commissioners agreed to submit their concerns in writing to the committee by Tuesday.

To appease the concerns of developers andbuilders, the commissioners agreed meanwhile to let Thomas M. Ballentine of the Home Builders Association of Maryland serve on the committee.

"It's fair to have a home builders (representative) on the committee," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said.

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown argued against the appointment, telling the commissioners that the proper forum for special-interest groups, such as the home builders, to voice concerns was public hearings.

He likened the appointment to "letting a fox in the hen house."

In developing a forest conservation program, county pro

posals must be at least as stringent as the state's plan. County plans must be submitted to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources by April 30.

Carroll's program, so far, concentrates on retaining forests and avoids provisions requiring the creation of new forests.

"You cannot go wrong standing up for the land and for the citizens who love the land," RebeccaOrenstein, a Westminster City Councilwoman, told the board.

The committee has been working on the draft for about nine months.

The county's towns agreed late last year to go along with whatever the county proposed.

Although home builders have pushed the commissioners to follow the state's program, Lippy, citing a legal opinion from the County Attorney's Office, said Carroll "shall have its own program."

"We just want to put together something that works," said Joe Barley, a committee member.

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