Request to convert ag land to residential use denied

April 21, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission rejected yesterday a request to change the use of a tract in the Agricultural District for residential development.

James H. McCaul of Mount Airy asked the commission to subdivide a 74-acre tract, part of the former Shafer Farm, into 50 acres for residential use and the remainder for agricultural use. The property is located at Sullivan and Beggs Road, west of Route 27 and north of Westminster.

The county planning staff recommended denial of Mr. McCaul's request because such a change could set a precedent for residential development of other parcels in agricultural districts.

County planners said such a change would undermine Carroll's master plan to preserve agricultural land.

They also said restrictions placed on the original subdivision plat do not permit such a change.

Mr. McCaul's parcel was part of a 162-acre tract that was subdivided in the early 1980s. Land north of Sullivan Road was designated for residential use, and land south of the road was divided into agricultural parcels.

"When the parcels were approved by the commission, it was clearly understood by the commission and the developer that the parcels were for purely agricultural purposes, without the ability to create additional residential lots," said a staff report given to the commission yesterday.

Planners also noted that the request was not consistent with county Rural Development Guides and Standards that call for residential lots to be located away from existing farming operations.

Several neighboring residents voiced opposition to Mr. McCaul's request. They said the proposed change would alter the final plats for the tract, undermine the zoning process and have a negative effect on surrounding property values.

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