Commission approves development

August 30, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Nearly 70 people crowded into Hampstead Town Hall last night, hoping to comment before the Planning and Zoning Commission approved further development.

Without hearing a word from those assembled, the commission approved 220 houses in Section IV of North Carroll Farms, a development owned by Martin K. P. Hill.

Many in the audience yelled, "shame" and "disgrace," at the action. Public comment was relegated to the end of the evening.

"They put us at the bottom, when everything is done," said Suzi Lyons. "Why should we stay and comment on what is already passed? The action tonight means the public has no say. It doesn't matter that everyone here opposes further growth."

Before the panel voted, Commissioner Chris Nevin made a motion to allow public comment. The motion was rejected by a 3-2 vote.

"They have made up their minds that they don't want to hear what we have to say," said Stephen Holland.

Mr. Holland expressed support for a Town Council building moratorium until "schools, roads and everything else can catch up to growth."

In a special session Aug. 12, the Town Council recommended a 90-day building moratorium until it could study adequate facilities. It notified the planning commission of the action by letter.

Councilman Art Moler, who also chairs the planning commission, cast the only vote against the moratorium.

He did not include the request or the letter in the planning commission agenda last night. He said he received it too late.

"Mr. Moler has the power to set the agenda," Mr. Nevin said. "The public was shut out."

Councilman Dwight Womer called the exclusion "a travesty." Councilman Wayne Thomas called it "a tragedy."

"You can see who is trying to save Hampstead and who is for developers," said Ms. Lyons, a North Carroll Farms resident "directly affected" by the vote. "Originally, the development had one house per half-acre. Now, they are talking town homes and six to an acre."

Mr. Nevin's second motion, requiring the developer to post a bond should the well on the property not meet standards, also failed because it wasn't seconded.

Mr. Nevin said he wanted the bond as a "form of insurance given the limited water resources of this town."

Mr. Hill said problems with an existing well were "not a function of this body."

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