Planning commission turns from slow-growth agenda County panel approves 3 projects, rejects 3

November 20, 1996|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

The newly constituted county Planning and Zoning Commission veered from its slow-growth agenda for the first time yesterday, approving three South Carroll subdivision requests.

But it rejected two subdivision requests there and one in Westminster.

The commission gave preliminary approval to a 45-lot residential subdivision near the Linton Springs development in Eldersburg and final approval to a 10-lot addition to the Carroll Square subdivision in Eldersburg. It also approved final plans for a six-lot development near Gamber.

Preliminary plans for an 81-lot subdivision north of Macbeth Way in Eldersburg were rejected. The commission also let stand by a 4-3 vote its earlier rejection of final plans to build a day care center, a medical center and a 120-unit retirement community in Nell's Acres in Eldersburg.

Commission member Joseph H. Mettle of Sykesville said he was unwilling to reconsider the request because of testimony that the fire service's ability to provide emergency responses to the retirement center would be " inadequate." Mettle said he doubted it would be legal to restrict the development to older adults. If younger people moved in, they would add to school crowding, he said.

Commission newcomers Melvin E. Baile Jr. of New Windsor, Grant S. Dannelly of Marriottsville and Deborah Ridgely of Finksburg, who were appointed to the board Aug. 26, agreed and joined Mettle in voting down the request for reconsideration.

The three later voted with Chairman Thomas G. Hiltz of Woodbine to turn down final plans for an 8-acre, seven-lot subdivision that Western Maryland College wants to build for faculty members and alumni on Stuller Road southwest of Westminster.

The commission gave preliminary approval to the first phase of an 88-lot residential cluster subdivision known as Sumner's Hollow north of Old Liberty Road and east of Linton Road in Eldersburg.

The project ordinarily would have been rejected by the panel because it did not meet the commission's criteria for adequate schools. But the commission appeared to have been persuaded by the developer's promise to begin construction in September 1998, when a new Linton Springs Elementary school is to open.

"This [plan] reflects an effort to take a little more time to work with the community and the county," Dannelly said.

The developer said that if the project wins final commission approval in June, he will give the county a sewer easement for the new elementary school, build sidewalks from the development to the school and build roads to connect with major thoroughfares.

The vote marked the first time the panel has gone against its "rigid" standard for school crowding, Hiltz said.

Pub Date: 11/20/96

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