County plan for Sykesville road clears first hurdle

June 08, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The Sykesville Planning Commission voted 5-2 last night for the county's proposed realignment of Obrecht Road, which would loop the much-traveled road around the north end of Fairhaven Retirement Center.

Michael Willinger and Vincent DiGiovanni voted against the proposal.

"I hate to see us make a commitment to what ultimately will be a four-lane highway in our back yards," said Mr. Willinger, who also expressed concern about wetlands.

"If this road were directly in our town, we wouldn't allow anyone to plow through wetlands," he said.

After months of meetings and several public hearings, members worked under a deadline to develop their recommendation by yesterday. They chose the loop rather than a recently developed option to extend the road to Third Avenue.

Commission Chairman Dennis Karr said both options were abhorrent.

"We had to choose whether to disturb wetlands or preserve what attracted us to Sykesville in the first place," he said. "In the end, my sympathies went to those who have lived here for years and wanted to maintain the town as it is."

Many of the 25 residents in attendance were disappointed by the decision. Marty Lookingbill said the loop would destroy baseball fields and put the youth football program out of action for three years.

Greg Burgan, Fairhaven vice president, also had pushed for the Third Avenue option, saying, "Extending Third Avenue would mean the ball fields would stay, farming operations could continue and the town could improve a major road at the county's expense."

Kathy Blanco-Losada called the decision "NIMBY-ism of the worst kind" and decried the harm to wetlands near Piney Run Park.

Joseph Burba of Norris Avenue said town police have been unable to deter speeders on Third Avenue. He would much rather lose wetlands than risk injury to a child, he said.

As adopted, the proposal includes recommendations to strengthen traffic enforcement and limit Third Avenue to local traffic only. Town Manager James L. Schumacher said the town would seek grants for the road improvements. The proposal now goes on to the Town Council.

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