WESTMINSTER -- When county planners think of historic preservation, it's as much for the rolling farm scapes as for the tree-lined Main Street, said K. Marlene Conaway, assistant planning director.
Ms. Conaway spoke at one of a series of workshops offered around the state by the Maryland Historical Trust. Yesterday's workshop was held at the Carroll County Historical Society on East Main Street, drawing participants from surrounding counties.
The Historical Trust, a state agency, is using the workshops to get area planners, architects, historical commission members and interested residents talking about issues in preservation, said director Rebecca Bartlett Hutchison.
In addition to giving out information, the Historical Trust also wants input from local professionals and residents as it revises its goals, Ms. Hutchison said.
Ms. Conaway showed several slides of Carroll County to the group of about 25, most of whom were planners from Carroll, Howard, Frederick and Baltimore counties. Some of the slides showed aerial farmland vistas with patterns of brown and green, and with houses built on the edge of woods so that they don't interrupt the flow of the rolling hills.
"If we put the houses back in the trees, we would keep the valuable [farmland]," she said.
el,.5l "We have the dubious honor of being the county in the state with the least trees in Maryland," she said. "That is because we have some of the best agricultural ground in Maryland."
Ms. Conaway showed slides of a few subdivisions that detract from the historic look of Carroll County, such as a mobile home park sprouting up around an old farmhouse and tracts of generic-looking split-levels that could be in any state.
"Most of our subdivisions are the same kind of house," she said. The older neighborhoods in the towns maintain a mixture of duplexes next to single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
She also said new subdivisions should start bringing back the concept of alleys.
During small-group discussions later, at least two other people from Howard County also urged growth along the pattern of the traditional Main Street.
Alice Ann Wetzel, a Howard County planner, said ordinances need to allow for mixed-use downtowns that include some residential zoning along with the business and commercial buildings.
Nick Mangraviti, an architect with Design Structures in Columbia, said he was interested in the "appropriate expansion" of small towns. For example, he said, preservation should not just treat the historic downtown districts as if they are frozen in time.
Mr. Mangraviti said malls and shopping strips built outside such small towns often bleed the main-street businesses. He said counties need to pay as much attention to what goes on at the edge of towns as to what goes on in them.