Plan proposes to prevent sprawl SOUTHWEST/Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

October 30, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Preventing suburban sprawl and developing a sense of community are two of the major points stressed in the proposed southwest Carroll master plan.

Details of the plan, under development by a 10-member citizens advisory committee since last November, will be discussed by the committee at a meeting 7 p.m. Monday at the Eldersburg Library.

Citizens are invited to make comments, but the committee will not receive testimony, said county planner Gregg Horner. He has been working on the plan since Carroll's commissioners called for the study in September 1990.

The master plan includes the 50 square miles south of Route 26 and west of Route 97 in Carroll County, Mr. Horner said.

It does not include Mount Airy because the incorporated town has its own master plan. "Of course, we have to keep them [Mount Airy resident] in mind because we don't want to adversely affect them," he said.

The plan must also take the Gillis Falls and Piney Run reservoirs into consideration, Mr. Horner said. Both are expected to be used as water sources either for the county or Mount Airy within the next few years.

Using these parameters, committee members identified six areas of concern: community design and residential development, economic development, recreation, the environment, agriculture, and adequate provision of and funding for public services.

"We discussed the existing conditions and the history of how they developed," said Mr. Horner. "Then we identified our goals and how we would try to achieve them."

In community design, one important concern was retaining the open spaces in southwest Carroll, he said.

Historically, the committee observed, small communities -- such as Berrett, Winfield, Taylorsville and Pickett's Corner -- developed to support the farm life around them. "They each had their own social center, businesses and stores to support the people in the area," Mr. Horner said.

Using this concept, the committee is considering creating two centers, or crossroads villages, in the southwest district.

Each village would have recreation and commercial areas that architecturally resemble the surrounding housing. By concentrating development in these areas, the committee hopes to prevent suburban sprawl in the county.

"We're looking to pattern them after the existing centers, but not looking as extensions of them," Mr. Horner said. "We aren't looking to expand Berrett, for example."

Maximum density and location for the villages will be determined by the availability of water, sewer and other public services. But county planners have not yet completed studies concerning public services, Mr. Horner said.

Instead of simply rezoning the village centers for a higher density, developers will have to purchase development rights from another county property owners. That program, which will operate like the agricultural preservation program, will have private corporations buying the rights instead of the government.

Another idea is to allow smaller lot sizes in conservation areas to increase open space. Currently, density in conservation areas is one for every three acres. Developers can sell two-acre lots if the overall density does not increase, leaving the remaining area for open space.

The committee also is considering allowing one-acre lots and introducing controls that would ensure that open space always remains undeveloped.

Economic development could be stimulated by creating an employment campus in the Hoods Mill area with light industries, consulting firms and banks, Mr. Horner said.

The area already is zoned industrial, and some companies have expressed interest in locating where there are other services nearby, he said.

"There will be very strict landscaping guidelines," Mr. Horner said. "Fifty-five percent of the acreage will have to be devoted to open space, either public or private."

Recreational opportunities will be created by the open space requirements in developments. The committee also has considered creating a recreation center with a swimming pool and increasing the number of riding trails in the southwest area.

"There has been good growth in the number of people interested in equestrian sports, and there aren't as many opportunities to ride as they would like," Mr. Horner said.

Committee members also have stressed that environmentally sensitive areas should be protected and that new types of agriculture developing in the southwest district should be supported.

Finally, the committee insists that the county must promise proper funding for the plan before it is implemented, Mr. Horner said.

A public hearing on the final proposal will be 7 p.m. Nov. 23 at South Carroll High School.

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