Hearing will continue on proposed radio towers New ordinance may make WCBM project illegal

November 09, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Although a newly drafted county ordinance might make the project illegal, the Board of Zoning Appeals continues its hearing at 9:30 a.m. today on a WCBM Radio proposal to build six towers on a South Carroll farm.

The county has scheduled a public hearing at 9 a.m. Monday on the ordinance, drafted after the tower project was made public. It would limit multiple towers to industrial land.

The owners of WCBM-AM radio plan to build six 350-foot towers on the Mercer farm on Hoods Mill Road, near Route 97 and the Howard County line. The Owings Mills station first must receive conditional use approval from the zoning board.

In the meantime, the county Planning Commission, in a 4-2 advisory vote last week, has gone on record against the ordinance.

"We will see at the public hearing, whether the commission's recommendation sways our vote," said county Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown. "We will consider their opinion and comments at the public hearing."

In a letter delivered to Mr. Brown yesterday, William B. Dulany, attorney for WCBM and property owner Harold Mercer, said the hastily adopted legislation is in response to a group of people, mostly newcomers, who oppose the use."

Several neighbors of the Mercer farm have cited safety concerns and adverse effects on property values in their opposition to the project.

Mr. Dulany said spot zoning creates an atmosphere unfriendly to business.

The station would build on about 55 of the 400 farm acres and has agreed to place the remaining land in a permanent agricultural land trust. Using agricultural areas for radio towers preserves farm land, Mr. Dulany said.

"The county absolutely is not unfriendly to business, and this is a terribly poor example to raise," Mr. Brown said.

The tower project would create no jobs nor would it increase property taxes, he said. Because it is located at the south end of the county, it would not improve the station's signal to local residents.

"There is nothing in this project for Carroll County," Mr. Brown said.

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