Measure to limit growth opposed Real estate agents, developers express concerns at hearing

March 20, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

Carroll developers, real estate agents and building contractors overwhelmingly objected yesterday to a controversial measure to control growth, arguing that the proposal would hurt their businesses, mean layoffs and stifle the local economy.

Greg Dorsey, president of the county chapter of the Home Builders Association, said the proposed ordinance, developed by a nationally known planning consultant, does not provide a solution to growth-related problems and ignores his industry's economic impact.

Mr. Dorsey's organization contends that homebuilding has created numerous jobs in the county and had a payroll of about $82 million in 1994. According to information released by the group, homebuilders paid more than $8 million in state taxes, $4 million in county taxes and $12 million in development fees that same year. Most of the 250 people who crowded a room for the hearing before the county Planning Commission at the Agricultural Center in Westminster objected to the proposed ordinance, which calls for a 20-month ban on approvals for new subdivisions in unincorporated areas of the county.

Proponents have said that such a ban would temporarily curtail subdivision development and allow county planners time to rework Carroll's 30-year-old master plan. Carroll's population has grown by 20,000 since 1990, but roads and schools have been insufficient to ac- commodate the growth.

The interim development ordinance would give county planners time to deal with congested roads and crowded schools.

The measure was developed by Robert H. Freilich, a law professor at the University of Missouri and chairman of the American Planning Association, who was hired by the commissioners last month. Mr. Freilich attended the hearing but did not speak.

The Planning Commission took no action on the proposed ordinance. Instead, it voted to delay action for 30 days to allow its seven members time to study the document, which was made available to them and the public Friday. The commission also agreed to ask the County Commissioners to delay action on the measure until the consultant's comments on the testimony could be heard.

Planning Commissioner Grant Dannelly said it was absurd for the commission to vote on the matter "at this juncture" because there were so many areas to address.

"We aren't prepared to deal with this document today," he said.

County officials have declined to call the proposed ordinance a moratorium on building, but Stanley Dill, a county real estate agent, told the planning panel. "It's a moratorium. It's a flat-out moratorium. You might as well call it what it is."

A public workshop on the proposed ordinance was to be held today in Rooms A and B at the Cooperative Extension Service, 700 Agricultural Lane, Westminster.

The County Commissioners had scheduled a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at 7 p.m. March 27 in the cafeteria at West Middle School in Westminster.

Pub Date: 3/20/96

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