Sykesville to push for 2 road projects

January 17, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Two roads from downtown Sykesville to Route 32 could be better than one.

Town government is hoping to muster residents' support for two proposed projects to improve access to Route 32, often called the Sykesville bypass.

Proposed are an extension of Third Avenue east to the highway and a realignment of Obrecht Road around the north end of Fairhaven Retirement Community near the Piney Run watershed. State and county money would help pay for the projects.

In June 1993, after heated debate, the Town Council approved the Obrecht Road realignment resolution. The county would pay the construction costs.

"We made a decision, signed a resolution and expected the project to begin," said Mayor Jonathan Herman. "Somebody is dragging their feet."

Keith R. Kirschnick, county Public Works director, said the county has designed the realignment and would like to proceed first with that project, long a part of the county master plan.

The realignment is budgeted and could go out to bid late this year if it receives wetlands permits from the state. That is a big "if," Mr. Kirschnick said.

The realignment would have an impact on wetlands and at least two streams that support wildlife, said Robert P. Cooper, project manager for the nontidal wetlands and waterways division at the state Department of Natural Resources.

"Basically, a project should avoid or minimize impact to wetlands," Mr. Cooper said. "If there is impact, there must be a mitigation plan for replacement."

The county has yet to develop its mitigation plan. It is hesitant to proceed until Sykesville makes its decision on the proposals.

"We would spend engineering time and money to develop a plan that possibly won't go forward," Mr. Kirschnick said.

With insufficient information from the county, the state has put the permit process on hold. DNR also wants details of road options that would not disturb wetlands.

"We certainly want to know about alternatives," said Mr. Cooper, who, until recently was unaware of proposed plans to extend Third Avenue, an option with no impact on wetlands. "If the county says the alternative is not feasible, it has to justify that opinion."

Mr. Kirschnick said he does not know if Third Avenue is a viable option.

The Fairhaven Retirement Community has proposed the Third Avenue extension to give its employees and residents safer and quicker access to Route 32.

Mr. Cooper has granted the county an extension on its Obrecht (( Road application, which was submitted in March 1994 but later found by the state to be incomplete. The state usually grants permits within 60 days of applications and rarely denies petitioners, Mr. Cooper said.

It's possible Third Avenue could play into the state's decision.

"If the county insisted on an alignment that impacted wetlands over one that was feasible and didn't, the application could be denied," Mr. Cooper said. "We weigh purpose and need vs. the impact to wetlands and we look at all alternatives. Applicants often modify plans to meet our requirements."

The town has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Main Street.

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.