Mount Airy planner will leave post

June 21, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Teresa M. Bamberger, Mount Airy's first town planner, will leave town government at the end of this month to join a civil engineering, land planning and surveying corporation.

Bamberger, 31, has spent 5 1/2 years in a job that included revising a comprehensive plan and guiding subdivision and commercial center plans through the review process for the growing community.

The pace of growth has quickened in Mount Airy as the four-corners town at the junction of Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties has become a bedroom community, particularly for people who work along the Interstate 270 corridor. The town's population grew by 33 percent each decade from 1940 to 1970, 40 percent from 1970 to 1980 and more than 50 percent from 1980 to 1990.

Bamberger also represented Carroll's eight incorporated towns on the county Environmental Affairs Advisory Board and chaired the board for almost two years.

Bamberger said she learned a great deal about community planning and land use on the job in Mount Airy. She wanted to guide development that would be "attractive and beneficial to the town, not just statistically appropriate."

She will leave town employment July 2 to join Harris Smariga and Associates Inc. in Frederick.

"She has been a tremendous asset to the community," said Mayor Gerald R. Johnson. He said he was sorry to lose Bamberger, but understands that the Mount Airy planning job doesn't offer career advancement opportunities. "It's a one-person office," he said. "There really isn't anyone she could supervise."

Mount Airy is the only Carroll town other than Westminster that has a staff planner. The council agreed to create the job after Johnson, elected in 1990, found that the town had paid consultants $44,000 for a revision of the comprehensive plan that was only about 50 percent completed. "I thought there had to be a better way," he said.

Bamberger saw the creation of the town planner position as an example of how Mount Airy "forges ahead and takes the initiative, which it might not have done if it were completely inside the county."

Mount Airy has to struggle for recognition because it is divided between Carroll and Frederick counties. "But I get the feeling the town has developed its own identity," Bamberger said.

Bamberger came to Mount Airy from RTKL Associates in Baltimore, where she had been employed for five years as an architect, planner and urban designer.

She served on the committee that worked on late drafts of the Carroll forest conservation ordinance and was appointed to the environmental advisory board in 1993.

"I was very impressed with the commitment of the office of environmental services staff, who were very knowledgeable," she said. "From other counties I've dealt with, I really feel Carroll County has a lot to be proud of in that area."

Neil M. Ridgely, former county landscape and forest conservation program manager and now Hampstead town manager, praised Bamberger for sharing advice. "It's been a pleasure to be associated with her professionally," he said. "I think I've learned a lot from her about town planning and subdivision design."

In her career as town planner, Bamberger said she is proudest of her work on the comprehensive plan. "I hope it is representative of the ideas I was able to bring to the town, a marriage of that with the goals and objectives of the people of the town," she said.

Bamberger received her degree in architecture from the University of Detroit in 1987. She and her husband, Barrett, an engineer, live in Middletown.

Pub Date: 6/21/96

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