For residents, 'charrette' means a chance to handle growth issues Session will give citizens a voice in master plan

April 19, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The county Planning Department is giving growth issues to residents tomorrow and hoping they will develop a vision for the future.

About 70 people have registered for the all-day series of workshops, dubbed a charrette.

"It is a word nobody has heard of and can't find in the dictionary," said Carmen Cummings, chairman of the charrette planning committee.

But for the nine committee members who have planned the day for the past several months, the meaning is clear.

"Citizens have a responsibility to determine the direction of their county," said Carol A. C. Brown, a South Carroll resident. "The charrette will start them thinking in a positive vein and looking beyond the immediate."

Charrette participants will be helping Carroll County tackle a revision of its master plan. Ideas from the workshop will form the basis of a countywide survey sent to 45,000 homeowners.

"This is a great opportunity to have input in the future," said Ms. Cummings, a Westminster resident for four years. "Sooner or later, every county has to grapple with growth. Instead of the constant hassling, now is the time to work on solutions."

The county master plan, revised often since it originated in 1965, has directed growth around the eight towns. But it is no longer workable, said Seth Gates, committee member.

"Growth has happened faster than planned," he said. "The charrette will give citizens a chance to get involved with a new plan."

Charrette is a French word for a group of artists working individually to put together one large picture.

The more ideas, the better the picture will be, said Martin Schmidt of Finksburg. "We should get a wide variety of opinions."

Charrette participants will break into small discussion groups, which will tackle a series of problems. Brenda Dinne, the county project leader for the master plan update, said everyone will have an opportunity to speak.

"Everyone will be working on the same problems, but in small groups to spur thinking and commenting," Ms. Cummings said. "At the end of the day, we will try to come up with a consensus."

From the charrette, Ms. Dinne hopes to develop a survey, which the planning department will mail to county residents in about six months.

Members of the county Planning Commission and several officials also will participate.

"If there is anything this body should do as far as long-range planning, it is above all, the charrette," said Dave Duree, Planning Commission chairman.

Walk-ins are welcome. Bring a bag lunch; drinks and snacks provided. The charrette is from 8: 30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at Westminster High, 1225 Washington Road. Information: 857-2145.

Pub Date: 4/19/96

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