County agencies disagree over zoning plan to attract high-tech business

February 01, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll's Planning Commission and the Economic Development Commission told the county commissioners yesterday that an employment campus zone, suitable for high-tech businesses and supporting services, could be an effective tool to attract industry.

But, after months of discussion and debate, the two groups still could not agree on whether the designation should be a suggested use within the restricted industrial zone or should be a separate zoning classification.

"We have a difference in philosophy," said planner Gregg Horner, who helped develop the concept as part of the southwestern county master plan. "But this process has shown that everybody is interested in economic development in Carroll County.

"Whatever you decide will be the best for Carroll County."

Yesterday's debate focused on whether a separate campus zone classification would be more or less restrictive for property owners.

Economic development officials argued that few industries seeking to locate in Carroll have requested an employment campus environment, which could leave property owners with unmarketable lots.

"There's basically no demand for it," said Economic Development Director Robert A. "Max" Bair. "You're strapping the owner into a zone that can't be developed."

Planning Commission members said employment campuses would help attract industry to the county. But, they said, commission members would consider some existing properties for employment campuses that they would not feel comfortable zoning for industrial uses.

Allowing an employment campus zone would increase industrial land, they said, and the land could be used for offices, not just bio-technical and research firms.

"Of all the uses in I-R [the restricted industrial zoning classification], some are more and some are less compatible with [adjacent] residential zoning than others," said Planning Commission member David Duree, who also serves on the Economic Development Commission. "You have to look at the least compatible [use] and think that it might be selected" for placement next to a housing development.

The county commissioners now must decide whether to have a public hearing on the proposal and how to advertise it.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he didn't know when the board would vote on that. He said work on the county budget is a higher priority.

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