Warehouse owner does landscaping his way, defying county NORTH -- Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

November 19, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Martin K. P. Hill figured the best way to show the Carroll Planning Commission how he wanted to landscape his mini-warehouse property on Route 30 in Greenmount was to do it.

So he did, and his efforts most likely will pass inspection, although Neil Ridgely, the county worker in charge of landscaping, said last night that the way the Hampstead developer went about his work was "brazen."

"I went ahead and did the landscaping the way I wanted to do it," Mr. Hill said last night shortly before the Planning Commission visited Lizzie's Lockers. Mr. Hill owns the lockers with partner Jack Reedy.

At last month's Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Hill asked for a waiver from the landscaping plan the commission has approved for the two-acre property.

Mr. Ridgely, Carroll's program manager for landscaping and forest conservation, argued that Mr. Hill should not be given a waiver and should be required to plant trees or shrubs to screen the warehouses from the homes on each side.

Planning Commission members decided to see for themselves. They did not comment on the landscaping last night, but member David T. Duree said he will abstain from a vote on the issue because Mr. Hill supported efforts for charter government and contributed $500 to the charter campaign.

Mr. Duree was chairman of a committee that tried to get charter government approved in Carroll. He said it would be a conflict of interest for him to vote on an issue involving Mr. Hill so soon after the Nov. 3 election.

Mr. Hill's son, Martin P. Hill, who owns a landscaping business, planted leatherleaf viburnums -- which will grow to be about 10 feet high -- mugo pines and red twig dogwoods on the perimeter of the warehouse property.

Mr. Hill and his son said the cost of the plantings was about twice that of the plantings the county recommended.

Mr. Ridgely disagreed, saying the cost probably would have been the same.

After seeing the landscaping, Mr. Ridgely said, "It looks fine. I could accept it that way."

The plantings weren't what Mr. Hill showed on his plan last month, Mr. Ridgely said. If Mr. Hill had said he would plant viburnums -- which keep their leaves in winter -- 1 1/2 years ago when they began discussions about the landscaping, there wouldn't have been such a problem, Mr. Ridgely said.

The Planning Commission did not expect to see the landscaping finished yesterday, but members still must pass judgment on the work. They also looked at the lighting on the warehouse buildings.

Dorothy Harper, whose house is about six feet from the fence on the south side of the warehouses, said she didn't want large trees screening her home from the business. She and her husband enjoy watching activities there, she said.

"Please approve the new landscaping plan so we are not closed off from our small part of life's activity," she wrote in an Oct. 16 letter to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Hill owns the house on the north side of the business.

Lizzie's Lockers opened in August and will have about 190 units when the second phase of the project is finished, Mr. Hill said. The business is named for Mr. Reedy's granddaughter.

The developer also faces a county violation for placing a sign in front of the warehouse property that does not conform to setback requirements. A hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals on that issue is set for next week.

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