Church cemeteries in residential areas considered Zoning oversight board also to weigh rules for shooting ranges, sales offices

March 17, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Should churches be allowed cemeteries in residential zones? Should builders be allowed temporary sales offices in new developments? And should indoor shooting ranges be subject to the same distance requirements as outdoor ranges?

Those questions are now before the county's Zoning Ordinance Oversight Committee.

The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission yesterday referred the proposed amendments to the technical committee for review and recommendation.

Solveig Smith, Carroll's zoning administrator, said the cemetery request has come from a Finksburg pastor who wants permission to have three burial sites on church grounds. Currently, cemeteries are not allowed in residential zones. They are allowed as conditional uses in other zones, such as agriculture and conservation.

"It seems totally reasonable to have cemeteries near churches," Ms. Smith said.

The county also has received three requests from developers to allow temporary, modular buildings as sales offices in developments under construction. Currently, developers are allowed to use model homes as sales offices.

Ms. Smith said she would recommend that the planning commission require developers to submit site plans for temporary sales offices and require landscaping "so [sales offices] are not eyesores."

Two Carroll towns, Hampstead and Westminster, allow modular sales homes, she said.

"We believe there needs to be specific language in the ordinance to cover this," said Ms. Smith.

The final request -- to differentiate between indoor and outdoor shooting ranges -- came from James E. Harris Sr. of Westminster. Ms. Smith said there have been several similar requests in recent years.

Carroll's ordinance allows outdoor ranges as conditional uses in certain zones, but those ranges are required to be 1,000 feet away from homes, churches, schools and other institutions.

Mr. Harris would like distance requirements eliminated for indoor ranges.

"Indoor ranges are quite a different matter, in that no bullets can escape from the new, specially designed buildings," Mr. Harris said in a letter to the county.

Mr. Harris referred to one indoor shooting range, called "On Target," that is located in a Severna Park shopping center.

"The distance requirements are unreasonable for indoor ranges," Ms. Smith said.

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