AS CARROLL COUNTY looks to develop the expansive corridor of open land along Route 140 from the county seat to the Baltimore County line, it will have to find the critical water and sewer facilities to service new businesses and industries.
The county Industrial Land Use Committee has formed a task force to look at options for utilities development. The initial outlook is not promising for constructing a new sewage treatment plant in the area, because of its location in the protected Liberty Reservoir watershed.
County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown suggests a possible solution that would advance eastern Carroll's development: coordination and sharing of utilities expansion between Westminster and the county. It's a direction that deserves serious exploration.
This could also be an opportunity for a broader discussion of shared development objectives, an occasion for the county commissioners to show that they recognize the desirability of promoting growth in Westminster.
The recent decision to relocate the Carroll board of education offices outside the county seat was an example of how Westminster's economic development interests have not always received full consideration from the county's elected officials.
As a former mayor of Westminster, Mr. Brown is well positioned to foster a new sense of shared development goals between the two jurisdictions. "The logic," he explains, "is that Westminster has the largest public utility facility in the county." Instead of trying to go it alone, Carroll County could look for ways to support and finance expansion of Westminster's utility resources, he suggests.
The county faces a formidable barrier in building a sewage treatment plant to serve East Carroll, because it would likely drain into the Liberty Reservoir watershed. Carroll signed an agreement a decade ago to limit sewage and industrial outflow in the reservoir area.
Westminster officials are cool to the utilities-sharing idea, feeling that the city should focus on its own development needs. That may be politic inside the city limits, but it risks turning the commissioners against Westminster's interests when making other county development decisions. Mr. Brown's proposal merits earnest consideration.