WINFIELD — Protect the water supply, build more ball fields, cluster homes and keep the charm, Southwest Carroll residents told a citizens committeeworking on a plan for development in the area.
Because area residents have had problems with wells pumping slowly or running dry, manyof those who attended a community meeting Thursday night at South Carroll High said the water supply should dictate where and how development should occur.
Paul Baker, a Sams Creek Road resident, said the county should provide another water source before allowing more growth.
Plans for Gillis Falls reservoir, which would provide water to area residents into the 21st century, are on hold now while the county wrestles with state and federal regulations, Assistant County Planning Director K. Marlene Conaway said.
"But the need is not as great as it was fiveyears ago," because Mount Airy located a good well, she said. "MountAiry isn't as thirsty now."
Five years ago, officials said a reservoir would be needed by 1995. Now it will be needed by 2010, Conawaysaid.
About 45 people attended the first community meeting sponsored by the Southwest Carroll Citizens Advisory Committee.
The committee invited residents to give their ideas about where and how area development should occur. The group is examining a 50-square-mile area bounded on the north by Liberty Road, the east by Route 97, the south by Howard County and the Mount Airy town line, and the west by Frederick County.
About 11,000 people live in the area, county Planner Gregg Horner said.
Flo Combs of Mount Airy said growth will occur no matter what.
"The issue is really controlling it," she said.
As a member of the Mount Airy Recreation Council, she suggested the county set aside land to build ball fields for children.
Anotherresident said more public golf courses are needed.
Maureen M. Rice of Eldersburg, treasurer of Carroll Earth Care, said homes should be clustered on smaller parcels with the remaining land left for open space. Communities should share wells and septic systems, she said.
Arthur James, who lives off Gillis Falls Road, said it's important to maintain the beauty of the area while it grows.
"We have a history down here."
Conaway, an area resident, said she hopes the character of Southwest Carroll and the views from the ridges will not be lost as the area develops.
Committee member Roger E. Wolfe of Sykesville said the county should consider attracting "non-polluting industry" to the area to provide jobs for people who commute to other counties.
Horner said the county is looking into developing an "employment campus" zone to spur economic development.
If more industry moves to the area, volunteer fire departments would be stretched to the limit, Winfield Fire Chief Tim Warner said. The company has 55 active volunteers and is able to handle current demand for services, butwould be hard pressed to keep up if more industry comes in, he said.
The committee is scheduled to finish its work by December. Its biweekly meetings are open to the public. Information: 857-2145.