Hundreds address county plan updates Mount Airy to get region designation SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

January 22, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Hundreds of people -- but few from Mount Airy -- voiced concerns at public hearings on proposed updates to Frederick County's New Market Region Plan, which designates Mount Airy as a "regional community."

The hearings, the second of which was held Wednesday at Frederick's Winchester Hall, gave the area's 20,000 residents (3,700 in Mount Airy) the opportunity to comment on a plan for the region's growth over the next 20 years.

The region stretches from the eastern boundary of Frederick city to the Carroll County line and includes the towns of New Market, Mount Airy, Ijamsville, Monrovia and New London. About 300 people attended the hearings.

Teresa Bamberger, Mount Airy's town planner, expected to comment on the regional plan -- before the Frederick commissioners -- but wasn't able to because of a long list of speakers Wednesday.

Most testimony during the hearings focused on specific rezoning cases from throughout the region.

The commissioners are expected to hold another hearing on the plan on Feb. 1.

Further workshops will be held before the board takes action on the plan, which has been endorsed by the county planning commission.

Ms. Bamberger is concerned that growth associated with designating the town as a regional community will overburden Mount Airy.

The county, she said, is directing too much growth around the town and not providing money for public services, such as sewers and water.

Mount Airy is one of two regional communities or "principal regional growth areas" designated in the updated plan.

The other is Linganore, west of New Market.

Under the plan, these regional communities would be developed with a mix of residential, commercial and office land uses. They would have populations between 5,000 and 15,000.

Frederick planners have designated Mount Airy as a regional community because of its direct access to Interstate 70 and state Routes 27 and 144, and because of its facilities and size.

The Mount Airy regional community would extend north to the realigned Old Annapolis Road, south to the I-70-Route 27 interchange and Bush Creek, and west to the subdivisions with access to Sidney Road.

Smaller than the Linganore community, Mount Airy would feature both low- and medium-density housing.

Nearly 1,200 additional housing units could be built on the Frederick side of Mount Airy, which straddles the Frederick-Carroll county line.

As population increases, the plan calls for the county to seek new sites for schools.

Commercial and employment areas would be south of I-70 and in the town. Designated commercial acres total 55, about half of which is undeveloped. Under the plan, the county would support efforts to retain and improve rail freight service to an industrial area west of Mount Airy.

Besides designating Mount Airy for growth as a regional community, the plan also calls for the creation of two parks in the area.

One would be a district park of 100 acres or more west of Mount Airy.

The park would contain recreation facilities, possibly a pool -- to be determined by a citizens committee.

The other would be a 20- to 50-acre community park north of Mount Airy. The park would contain fewer recreational facilities, such as a playground, picnic pavilion and tennis courts. A pool also would be a possibility, county planners have said.

The town has been looking for a pool site for some time. A !B citizens committee chose Watkins Park off Route 27 in Carroll County as the best site. However, Carroll commissioners have rejected the 44-acre park as a pool site because a school is slated to be built there someday.

Although Frederick County officials have designated parks in those areas, the land has not been purchased, and money has not been set aside.

Some testimony concerned a rezoning request for a parcel south of Mount Airy.

Some members of the Penn Shop Road Civic Association opposed a request to rezone eight acres on the east and west sides of Route 27 at Mill Bottom Road from agricultural and residential to general commercial.

Residents said the zoning request is incompatible with adjacent residential uses.

The Frederick planning staff has recommended that the rezoning request be denied.

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