Sykesville's Industrial Zoning

August 12, 1994

Sykesville officials will soon have to decide whether the last parcel of industrially zoned land inside the town limits should be converted to residential use. We hope they will soundly reject that proposal, which would allow the construction of 192 townhouses by developer David Moxley.

The reasons are two-fold. First, the town would lose the potentially higher net tax revenues of commercial-industrial use. And the addition of so many new homes would overburden local roads and schools, changing sewer and water master plans.

Mr. Moxley argues that he has been unable to attract desirable tenants to the 32-acre open tract on the east side of Sykesville, despite years of work. The only solid interest has been for equipment storage and heavy industry, he notes, and the town can't afford to buy it from him.

If new housing is being built elsewhere in the town, why shouldn't he be allowed to do the same, the developer asks.

The answer from town and county planning officials is that Sykesville has an abundance of housing in approved residential zones and hundreds more in development near the industrial site, with schools already overcrowded. What the town needs is industrial development, for which the land was zoned when it was annexed in 1988.

Planning officials suggest that Mr. Moxley and his partners should do more to improve the property, to make it more attractive to commercial tenants. Its location on Route 32 and near Interstate 70 is appealing, but other area sites offer existing structures instead of open hilly fields.

The town extended a $1.5 million loan for infrastructure development, but the offer expired after 18 months when the developer could not get the required conventional financing or tenants. It sincerely wants the industrial concept to work.

The developer has to show that original industrial zoning was incorrect or that the surrounding area has changed to permit rezoning. With commercial and industrial properties all around the parcel, there is little chance of persuading the town Planning and Zoning Commission of that.

The commission should reject the rezoning request, even if it means forgoing tax revenues for several more years. The Town Council should do the same, when it makes a final decision.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.