New faces on zoning panel Rash and Halstad join appeals board

September 09, 1992|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Two new members this month will join Carroll's three-member county Board of Zoning Appeals, including a retired farmer whose property was the subject of the county's largest rezoning petition.

The county commissioners have appointed Claude R. Rash, a Woodbine resident whose family ran a South Carroll family farming operation, to a three-year term. Mr. Rash will replace John Totura, a 10-year board member who has been serving as as chairman.

The commissioners appointed Damian L. Halstad, a Westminster attorney, to fulfill the remaining two years of former commissioner John L. Armacost's term. Mr. Armacost, who was on the zoning board for one year, resigned Sept. 1, saying he would be away from Carroll County too often to serve effectively.

A new chairman will be elected by the newly constituted board. The third board member is William Law.

Mr. Rash is one of three brothers who petitioned to have a 360-acre farm near Berrett rezoned from agricultural use. Approval would have opened the way for plans to build a 108-home subdivision with an 18-hole golf course. The commissioners denied the request in April 1991, but ordered a comprehensive zoning study of southwest Carroll as a result.

"I've felt for a long time that I'd like to get Claude on there," said Commissioner President Donald I. Dell.

Mr. Dell said Mr. Rash is a good choice for the zoning appeals board because he is a farmer and lifelong South Carroll resident, and has personally experienced the zoning appeals process.

"Experience always helps," said Mr. Dell. "It will probably be advantageous. He has a general idea how the system works."

The Rash rezoning request came before the county Planning and Zoning Commission and the commissioners, but not to the zoning appeals board, which decides variances and exceptions.

If a case involving property owned by the Rashes came before the zoning board, Mr. Rash would be replaced by an alternate and would not vote, Mr. Dell said.

"My main interest is to always be fair in my judgments," said Mr. Rash, 54. He said he doesn't expect any cases involving Rash brothers property before the zoning appeals board.

Mr. Halstad, 30, has been an attorney for two years with Hoffman & Comfort, a Westminster firm that specializes in estate and real estate contracts. He previously served as a clerk for former Carroll Circuit Court Judge Donald Gilmore.

Mr. Lippy said Mr. Halstad was appointed partly because he volunteered for civic duty.

"This is probably one of the more important boards in county government," said Mr. Halstad. "The county is growing at a rapid rate. We need to make sure that growth is handled correctly."

Mr. Halstad said his law firm will discuss a policy on representing clients before the zoning appeals board.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said Mr. Halstad would be replaced on the board for any cases in which Hoffman & Comfort is involved.

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