Commission urges that larger decks be allowed

July 27, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The Hampstead Planning and Zoning Commission last night came out in favor of an ordinance that would allow residents to build larger decks.

The commission's recommendation to the Town Council is to adopt an ordinance that would not be retroactive, so oversized decks already built would not be allowed without penalty under the law, said Arthur Moler, commission chairman.

Last week, Town Manager John A. Riley recommended to the council that the town's zoning ordinance be changed to allow larger decks.

Under his proposal, residents would be allowed to build decks extending up to 40 percent of the minimum required depth of the yard, instead of the current limit of 25 percent of the depth of the yard.

But there was some council opposition last week to the idea of grandfathering in existing decks that exceed current size limits.

Last night resident Steve Harmon, president of the Small Crossings Homeowners' Association, told the planning and zoning commission that to grandfather in existing oversized decks would amount to penalizing people for following the rules.

The town is aware of about 50 decks that have been built without the proper permits, and there may be many more, Mayor Clint Becker said last week.

Many of these decks are larger than the town currently allows, Mr. Moler said.

Those who have built oversized decks would be required to apply for a variance and the permits for an oversized deck. The process under the current law costs about $200.

The Town Council is likely to take up the matter again at its Aug. 16 meeting.

Also last night, Michael D. Carr, construction project manager with McDonald's Corp., gave the commission an update on plans to expand the Hampstead McDonald's restaurant by adding a playground.

Last month, questions arose over how many parking spaces would be required for the restaurant.

Mr. Carr said last night that under Carroll County rules, the restaurant would need 57 parking spaces. He said plans for the restaurant include 63 parking spaces.

Mr. Moler said the commission could not act on the plan until it received further comments from county planners.

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