Planning for Change CARROLL COUNTY

December 10, 1992

Citizens in southwest Carroll are upset that county planner are proposing the creation of new villages to concentrate future development and prevent suburban sprawl from covering the rolling hills in that section of the county. At a recent meeting, several citizens said if they wanted to live in a village, they would not have moved to Carroll and would have remained in Howard County's Columbia.

It is understandable that the residents of southwest Carroll want to preserve the area as it is, but their desire to freeze development is not reasonable. All the people who have moved into the area over the past two decades would like to pull up the figurative drawbridge and prevent further development and population growth.

Given the reality that many of the larger landowners would like to cash in on the value of their holdings by selling off parcels for development, preserving the status quo is totally unrealistic.

The task facing the county and its residents is straight-forward, if difficult to achieve: Developing the area while protecting the attributes that attracted new residents in the first place. Growth invariably will change the appearance of the area, but development does not have to destroy the existing sense of a rural -- rather than suburban -- community. If development is well-planned, southwest Carroll can retain its wide green spaces and preserve a rural feel.

The department, along with its community advisory committee, has been trying to develop a master plan that meets those goals.

As proposed, one village would be located west of Route 97 in an area bounded by Eden Mill, Hoods Mill and Fannie Dorsey roads. The village would contain about 4,000 housing units on about 900 acres. Industry would also be concentrated on campus-like settings.

The proposed plan would restore the concept of community centers that would be the focus of commerce, shopping and civic activities. The plan, if fully implemented, intends to encourage people to work in their community rather than commute long distances. It would also slow the loss of working farms.

If the proposed southwest plan can fulfill those objectives, it will go far in preserving the best of the Carroll's attributes as the county grows.

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