Postal Service rejects county's changes in plan Eldersburg office will have entrance from Bennett Rd.

November 10, 1996|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

A U.S. Postal Service official has told the county Board of Zoning Appeals that limitations put on a future post office in Eldersburg are "unacceptable" and will not be followed.

The board had voted Aug. 29 to allow a new post office on a 3-acre site at Route 32 and Bennett Road on condition that the entrance be from Progress Way.

The Postal Service had wanted sole access to be from Bennett Road -- something residents opposed. It will now provide access from Bennett Road and Progress Way, Philip E. Wilson, manager of the DC Metro Facility Services Office, said in a letter Oct. 30 to zoning board chairman Karl V. Reichlin.

Wilson also rejected the zoning board's stipulation that the Postal Service go through the county's regular site plan review process.

"The conditions you place on the use of this site are unacceptable," Wilson said in his letter. Decisions about where to put post offices "are not subject to local zoning laws and reviews," he wrote.

County Planning Director Philip J. Rovang is still optimistic that county and federal officials can reach an accord.

"Because of the concerns of the community, and because of the concerns about the county Master Plan, I'm not closing the door on negotiations," Rovang said. "I don't consider these decisions to have been made."

Wilson did not return calls from The Sun Friday.

He said in his letter that "although federal sovereignty exempts the Postal Service from [local] laws, the Postal Service does and will continue to cooperate with local jurisdictions."

Wilson's letter suggested that the Postal Service had done exactly that in Carroll County. When local officials objected to an initial site proposal, the Postal Service -- "at considerable expense and in a sincere effort to accommodate local desires" -- picked a different one, he wrote.

"We cannot do this again," he wrote. "We are proceeding with purchase and construction of the site at the intersection of [Route] 32 and Bennett Road." "After receipt of the [appeals] board's decision, the Postal Service modified access to the site to include Bennett Road and Progress Way. I trust this action meets with the needs of the community."

A new post office is needed, Sykesville Postmaster Norma West told the county planning board, because of growth in the Eldersburg area. The Sykesville post office is processing three times the amount of mail it was designed to handle, West said during an Aug. 1 appeal of the county planning director's denial of a preliminary site plan under the county's new growth-control law.

South Carroll residents agree that a new post office is needed, but some activists and the planning office question the location.

County planners say Progress Way was to be the only access road to businesses in Eldersburg Business Park. They objected to the Bennett Road connection, saying that the road had been designed for residential use only.

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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