Controversy over traffic congestion is revived

October 10, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

By this evening, Sykesville appears likely to find itself mired again in an issue that was considered settled more than a year ago.

Rerouting Obrecht Road vs. extending Third Avenue divided residents and generated much heated debate among county and town officials. Both proposals were intended to ease traffic congestion at the northern end of town and improve access to busy Route 32.

Most of Third Avenue is in the town, and the town would have to pay for the improvements. The county would pay the estimated $1.2 million for realigning Obrecht Road.

The Town Council rejected the Third Avenue option last year in favor of rerouting Obrecht Road around the north end of the Fairhaven Retirement Community.

The conflict apparently was revived at a closed meeting last Monday between town and county officials and Fairhaven representatives.

"It's true," said county Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy. "Third Avenue is back on the books."

Fairhaven, which could lose about 10 acres of its property to an Obrecht Road realignment, is opposed to that option and in favor of extending Third Avenue.

The Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the Town House.

Meanwhile, the county is seeking easements from Fairhaven to provide access for its proposed Piney Run water treatment facility.

"My main concern is getting a right of way to the water treatment plant," said Mr. Lippy. "Our first order of business is to have sufficient water for South Carroll residents."

The only road near the plant site is private Hollenberry Road. The county is unpopular with Hollenberry Road residents because zoning officials approved plans, over neighbors' opposition, for a 200-foot telecommunications tower on conservation-zoned land along the road.

The only other access to the water treatment plant site would have to be across Fairhaven property.

The county has "done favors for Fairhaven in the past," Mr. Lippy said, and he hopes Fairhaven will be cooperative in granting easements.

Mr. Lippy said he realizes extending Third Avenue makes more sense for Fairhaven, which fronts Third, but he still supports the town's decision.

"The county alternative [realigning Obrecht Road] could create a monster flow of traffic around Fairhaven," Greg Burgan, Fairhaven vice president of finance, said during discussions last year. "Extending Third Avenue would mean ball fields would stay, farming operations could continue and the town could improve a major road."

After months of discussion, the Town Council rejected those arguments and decided in June 1993 to recommend the realignment.

"We are still working on plans for the Obrecht Road extension as Sykesville requested several months ago," said Keith Kirschnick, county director of Public Works. "We have a couple of environmental issues to be addressed."

Bids for the project will probably advertised in January 1996, he said.

"The county has taken no official action on modifying the priority of Obrecht Road vs. Third Avenue," said Max Bair, executive assistant to the Carroll County commissioners.

But Mr. Kirschnick admitted that "discussions of extending Third Avenue have come up again."

James L. Schumacher, town manager, said the county "never officially said it would do the loop [of Obrecht around Fairhaven.]"

He said he plans to update council members on the project tonight and hopes both the county and Fairhaven will address the council soon.

"People keep asking me when the project will begin," he said. "Everything is on hold. The town has no funding for either alternative."

Councilman Garth Adams, who had opposed extending and widening Third Avenue, said the possibility exists to do both the extension and the realignment.

"Fairhaven is interested in better access to its facilities from Route 32," said Mr. Adams.

"The county and town are interested in long-term goals for better traffic flow.

"I am optimistic something can be worked out."

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.