The developer of Raincliffe Center, the only industrial-zoned property within the town of Sykesville, made a rezoning petition to the Planning Commission last night.
David Moxley, owner of the 32-acre site along Route 32 and Raincliffe Road, is asking the town to change the zoning from industrial to residential.
"We have given this our best shot, and the bottom line is we can't attract industry here," Mr. Moxley said. He now would like to build 192 townhouses on the property.
Carolynne Adams, planning commissioner, asked Mr. Moxley to prepare a summary of his efforts to recruit business to the site for the commission's review.
Mr. Moxley detailed several attempts to develop the site as an industrial center.
Despite an innovative loan package from the town and state, he failed in those attempts. The loan expired Jan. 1.
"Raincliffe Center simply cannot be developed and used for its proposed zoning," said Clark R. Shaffer, attorney for Mr. Moxley. "The topographical features, economics and the changes in the market make it impossible."
The Planning Commission can recommend a zoning change if there has been a corresponding change in the character of the neighborhood or a mistake in the original zoning.
"The mistake must be in the zoning and not in the Master Plan," said James L. Schumacher, town manager. "You cannot just say that the topo is a little rough and scrap a plan."
Members will weigh several documents before preparing a report for the Town Council, which Chairman Jonathan Herman would like completed for the July 5 meeting.
"I hope everyone will review the information on traffic, economic impact and market analysis" of developing the site with townhouses, Mr. Moxley said.
Sykesville would need a waiver from the county to change the zoning, said Helen Spinelli, county planner. The report may have to wait until August, while the county prepares a history of the site.
The town must also schedule a public hearing on the proposal.
Mr. Schumacher asked the commission to consider only the rezoning petition.
"The PUD [Planned Unit Development] should not be reviewed simultaneously with the zoning change," Mr. Schumacher said.