Finksburg residents fight rezoning of Rt. 91 corner

June 04, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Worried about increasing traffic and harm to the environment, about two dozen Finksburg residents turned out yesterday to oppose rezoning 10 acres at Routes 140 and 91 from conservation to general business.

"Pollution is the main thing we're" concerned about, Margaret Sullivan, a Cedarhurst Road resident, told Carroll's commissioners during a public hearing at the County Office Building in Westminster.

The commissioners will accept comment on the rezoning request for the next 10 days. A decision will be made within three weeks after the close of public comment, said Commissioner Donald I. Dell.

The rezoning request comes from three couples and applies to parts of four properties at the northeast corner of the intersection. County planners said there are homes on three of the properties.

Neighbors said rezoning the property to allow general business would increase traffic along already-congested Route 140, and development of the site would create storm water runoff and other problems.

Rezoning the site to general business would allow auto sales, department stores, hotels, skating rinks, tourist homes, mini-storage facilities and some warehouse uses.

Elizabeth Hood, who also lives on Cedarhurst Road, said there were already several properties in the area that owners have been unable to sell. She also said there were several vacant stores in the area.

"Why do we need this when there are obviously several lots available and not in use?" she asked.

County and state agencies; the county Planning and Zoning Commission; and the Environmental Affairs Advisory Board, a citizens group that advises the commissioners on environmental matters, have opposed the change.

The planning commission said rezoning the site would increase traffic at the intersection and that the topography of the parcel, which includes wetlands and a stream, makes conservation an appropriate use.

William R. MacDonald, a Westminster attorney representing the parcel's owners, said the change was consistent with surrounding development.

"There has been substantial change in the nature of the community, and that substantial change justifies the request," he said.

James H. Dulany, a Westminster real estate appraiser testifying on behalf of the owners, said the change would not adversely affect surrounding property values. Residential areas lie to the north and east.

He said if there were any adverse effect on property values, it would have already occurred because of the existing commercial and industrial development to the south and west.

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