MOUNT AIRY — The Town Council agreed Monday to continue to talk with CSX Transportation about building a third pedestrian crossing on a railroad tracknear a new housing development called Summerwood.
The council hadrequested three pedestrian crossings on the railroad spur, which runs between Route 144 and Mount Airy Cold Storage and near a new elementary school, but CSX agreed to build only two, Councilman Marcum N. Nance said.
The third would have been near Twin Ridge Elementary School -- which is under construction -- and would be used by children walking toschool, he said.
The council originally had required that Frall Developers -- which is building Summerwood -- pay for one of the crossings.
But because negotiations with CSX are continuing, the council agreed Monday to allow the developer to begin work with the understanding that he will pay for a crossing when it's approved, Nance said.
Also on Monday, the council:
* Agreed that once the developers of the Village of Tall Oaks -- a town home community off RidgevilleRoad -- put a final coat of asphalt on the development's streets, the town will accept a $20,000 bond and release building permits for six remaining lots, Nance said.
* Set a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. May 4 to hear comments on two proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance on paving of required parking areas and modifications to front-yard setback requirements.
MCEA OFFERS PROPOSAL
Realism was the name of the game yesterday as the Carroll chapter of the Maryland Classified Employees Association met with the county commissioners yesterday to present its proposals for next year.
Although the county employees' unit isn't recognized as a bargaining union, the commissionersdo have a "meet and confer" agreement where they listen to the group's proposals each year.
"We normally would come in here with a full economic package with pay increases, increases in steps and benefits," said J. Roger Murphy, MCEA's negotiator. "But this year isn't theyear for those type of proposals to be flowing across the table."
The group -- represented by Murphy and Ed Bilz, Carroll's unit president -- requested a restoration of the grade step pay increases, payment into an employee's 401K retirement plan for unused sick days, maintaining current employee benefits and a reward system for exceptional employees.
"This is for the employee who put out 110 percent allyear long and knew that he wasn't going to get anything out of it," said Bilz of the reward system. "This is something to strive for."
The commissioners said the requests were reasonable. However, they are unsure how many they will be able to grant because they don't knowhow much money the county will receive from the state.
Representatives from the county's Therapeutic Recreation Council Monday pressed the commissioners for money to build a playground that would be accessible to the disabled.
Council member Heather Lee said the panel has received a commitment from the county's four rotary clubs to provide up to $5,000 for the $11,875 project. The remainder of the money is being sought from the county and other sources.
"We feel very strongly about this," she said.
The playground would be the county's first for the disabled. Council members said the playground would provide recreation opportunities for the disabled and allow them to interact with other children.
It also would allow disabled adults to use the playground with their children. The playground would be built at the Community Pond off Route 140.
Commissioner President Donald Dell said he wanted to evaluate the county's budget situation before making a commitment to the project.
"I'd liketo evaluate where we're going with our budget," he said.
Lee saidthe playground would serve as a good example of the county doing something to meet the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, which recently went into effect.
BOARD DEFENDS CLOSED VOTE
The county commissioners yesterday defended discussion of land acquisition during a closed session in late February or early March.
Under contention, though, is whether the commissioners voted to begin the land-acquisition process during the closed session.
Commissioner Elmer Lippy said he believed the board voted to proceed with the process after discussion during closed session.
The commissioners, on a 2-1 vote, agreed to purchase a strip of property in the High Ridge development near Gamber to connect a cul-de-sac to property owned by Aaron Green.
The High Ridge Homeowners Association has objected to the purchase and has said it will not sell the land. The county planning commissionhad recommended the cul-de-sac be opened to the Green property.
If the community association fails to sell the strip, the county is expected to begin condemnation proceedings, commissioners said.
"We were within our right," said Commissioner President Donald Dell, about the closed session.
Added Lippy, "Since it involved land acquisition, we had every right to be in a closed session."