Growth is taking county to its limits, official says

October 19, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Statistically, Carroll County isn't growing any faster than it was 10 years ago. But the growth seems faster, a county Planning Commission member said yesterday.

"We're feeling it, that we're out of control," said David T. Duree. "It's not the pace, it's that we're coming up against our limits."

Mr. Duree was commenting on a staff report presented at yesterday's Planning Commission meeting.

The report held a mirror to the county, using use and occupancy permits to measure residential growth. A use and occupancy permit reflects the county government's final approval of an application to occupy a building.

The report showed that:

* Hampstead was the fastest-growing town in the county in 1993 and in the first half of this year. The town gained 151 residential units in 1993, 14 more than Westminster, which was second in new housing units. Hampstead gained 90 new housing units in the first six months of this year, 51 more than Westminster.

* About two-thirds of the new houses built in 1989-1993 were in "community planning areas," the staff's term for towns and their environs, where the county government has tried to channel growth.

Nearly 25 percent of the new houses were in agricultural districts, 11 percent in other areas. Planning Director Edmund R. "Ned" Cueman said that construction outside community planning areas were on older subdivisions approved on 1-acre ++ lots and in conservation zones such as the Gillis Falls watershed near Mount Airy.

* More new houses were built outside town limits than inside towns. In 1993, 64 percent of new residential units in the community planning areas were outside town limits.

* The county gained 12,600 new housing units in 1984-1993. County Planner Jeanne Joiner said the data showed no dramatic increases or decreases. The number of new permits issued each year averaged 1,266, with a low of 825 in 1991 and a high of 1,780 in 1986.

* New Windsor, Union Bridge and the Carroll County section of Mount Airy showed almost no growth in 1993. Four use and occupancy permits were issued in New Windsor, three in Union Bridge and none in Mount Airy. In the first half of 1994, New Windsor gained 22 new households, Union Bridge one and Mount Airy two.

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