2 sides still at odds over growth rules Commissioners, developers meet, but only briefly

Industry wants more input

Proposal to halt new subdivisions has led to controversy

April 17, 1996|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

The gulf between the Board of County Commissioners and the building industry over a proposed 18-month ban on new subdivisions appeared to grow wider yesterday.

Developers and others arrived for a 9 a.m. meeting at the Bear Branch Nature Center, ready with a two-hour presentation of alternatives to the ban that builders say would put many of them out of business. They quickly discovered they had been allotted 30 minutes to make their case.

As Commissioner Richard W. Yates got up to leave at 9: 48 a.m., Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown informed the business group of the 9: 30 a.m. cutoff. Mr. Brown said he would stay a few minutes longer because of the misunderstanding.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who opposes the development ban, remained, but the business leaders soon ended the meeting, saying they felt they should address all three commissioners.

Industry leaders say they want:

To be included in the drafting of any future growth measures.

Growth-control measures to be applied locally to specific problems rather than applied countywide.

Growth measures to come from a consensus of residents, business people and elected officials.

Growth measures to be specific enough to allow builders, bankers and real estate agents to base plans on reliable building predictions. "We would very much appreciate the opportunity to help craft some kind of workable ordinance," said Stanley Dill, former president of the Carroll County Association of Realtors.

The thing that concerns him and other real estate agents, Mr. Dill said, is that the county has "a history of a patchwork regulations that continue to erode citizens' equity rights."

Richard L. Hull, president of Carroll Land Services Inc., said he LTC feared that the growth measure would lead to the kind of economic tailspin Howard County experienced eight years ago when similar controls were instituted.

Mr. Hull characterized the Howard experience as "Freilich's failure," an allusion to Robert H. Freilich, a nationally recognized planner who was paid $35,000 to draft Carroll's growth proposal. Mr. Freilich and his Kansas City firm also helped draft the Howard County measure eight years ago.

Howard has emerged as a paradigm of managed growth, Mr. Hull said. He suggested that Carroll drop the Freilich idea and imitate instead the current measures in Howard.

Mr. Brown was not convinced. He said Howard's growth controls are not as successful as they are being portrayed. Howard's farmland preservation program -- under which 16,253 rural acres have been preserved -- is coming to an end, he said, adding, "They're admitting they lost it." What he wants in Carroll, Mr. Brown said, is to "keep major new development from coming into the pipeline at a time when we're restructuring the [growth] ordinance."

When Westminster attorney David K. Bowersox said that amounts to a moratorium, Mr. Brown disagreed. A moratorium brings everything to a halt, he said.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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