Sykesville to realign Obrecht

June 15, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

After an hour of listening to public comment -- much of which was reduced to heated exchanges -- the Sykesville Town Council voted 5-1 in favor of the county's proposal to realign Obrecht Road in a loop around the north end of Fairhaven Retirement Center.

Councilman Jonathan Herman called for a five-minute recess before the final vote, which followed months of discussion and several public hearings.

"We are going to get more traffic," said Mr. Herman. "We have to decide what to do with it."

Mr. Herman said he favored the loop as long as it had the "least possible" impact on wetlands that adjoin Piney Run Park.

"I don't like either choice and I wish we had a third alternative, but we don't," he said.

Last week, the Sykesville Planning Commission recommended that the town follow the county proposal with several stipulations.

"The council voted to accept that recommendation verbatim," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.

Stipulations included the installation of traffic lights and stop signs to discourage eastbound traffic on Third Avenue.

Councilman Eugene Johnson, who cast the dissenting vote, said he remained unsure which option was best for the town.

"In the four months we have discussed this issue, we have not really solved anything," he said.

The council chose the loop over a proposal to extend Obrecht Road to Third Avenue, a plan that met with much opposition from residents who live along the road, including Councilman Garth Adams.

"If the county builds the loop, we will always have the opportunity to come back and readdress Third Avenue," said Mr. Adams. "Let's listen to the Planning Commission and the county commissioners. Their plan will move traffic in a way best for the town."

Luke Garwin, of Obrecht Road, said he bought his home based on the county plan. He has repeatedly attended council sessions to speak against extending the road to Third Avenue and creating "a major thoroughfare in my back yard."

Marty Lookingbill of the Sykesville Little League made one final plea for the extension in the hopes of saving ball fields on Obrecht Road. The loop would wipe out the fields where about 800 children play.

"Look down the road further before you vote," he said. "Think about the impact on all of South Carroll."

Mayor Kenneth W. Clark asked the council to consider improving Third Avenue with available funds and adding a traffic light instead of voting for the loop. He said he feared motorists would not use the road once it was constructed.

The $1.2 million project is scheduled for engineering and planning this fall. Construction could begin next spring.

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