Test station site to be discussed

December 29, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll County and Westminster officials and the company building new auto-emissions test stations for the state may reach an agreement today about changing the proposed site of a station.

A project manager from Marta Technologies of Nashville, Tenn., was to meet with local officials at 9 a.m. at the County Office Building, city Public Works Director Thomas B. Beyard said yesterday.

Al Copp, Marta project manager, said yesterday that he could not guarantee he would move from the site he chose at the Air Business Park north of Westminster. Local officials objected to building a station there and proposed other locations.

Officials said the testing station would take up valuable land that otherwise could be purchased by businesses that would create jobs and pay property taxes. State-controlled facilities do not pay property taxes.

Marta has a contract to buy 2 acres at the industrial park on Route 97 in Westminster and has performed engineering work there, Mr. Copp said. He would not disclose how much was spent on the work.

The company cannot afford more delays, he said, adding that he was somewhat frustrated by the process. Marta's state contract says the Westminster station and 18 others in Maryland must open by January 1995 or the company faces fines, he said.

"I made a commitment to the county to look at all of the sites we could find," Mr. Copp said. "I don't have a lot of time. We need to move this thing fast."

The company wants a decision on a site by the end of the week, Mr. Beyard said.

Today's meeting is not open to the public.

Last month, Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and Carroll commissioners asked Gov. William Donald Schaefer to block a station from being built at the park.

The governor responded by saying officials could look at other sites, but he could not guarantee that one would be chosen.

Moving to another site would mean delays and cost increases for the state, he said.

Mr. Beyard and three county officials -- the commissioners' Executive Assistant Robert A. Bair, Office of Economic Development Administrator William E. Jenne and Planning Director Edmund R. Cueman -- gave Marta 10 alternate sites, Mr. Beyard said.

Company representatives visited some of the sites last week, Mr. Beyard said.

The current testing station, on Bethel Road near Route 140 in Reese, will no longer be used because the federal Clean Air Act requires a more stringent emissions test for cars and thus a larger facility.

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