Explosives company site is rejected Zoning regulations block plans to open Sykesville center

Prison is too close

Undisclosed buyer in Howard now under contract for property

December 16, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Town officials and neighboring property owners protested, but it took Carroll County zoning regulations to scuttle plans to bring an explosives company to Sykesville.

Explosive Experts Inc. of Baltimore County had eyed a 13-acre industrial site on Raincliffe Road for a storage and distribution center, closer to its Western Maryland customers. But, proximity to a prison terminated the negotiations.

"They cannot be within 800 feet of an institution for human care," said George L. Beisser, county chief of zoning enforcement.

The Central Laundry Facility, a minimum-security prison that houses about 500 inmates and a staff of 100 at Raincliffe and Buttercup roads, is too close to the Laborers Training Center, a 10,000-square-foot buildingthat the explosives company had hoped to buy.

The training center, funded by area contractors, draws most of its trainees from Baltimore; transportation to Sykesville is difficult and costly for them.

Center director Lou DeGraff expects to settle on property at Wilkens Avenue in Baltimore within a few months. The deal with Explosive Experts fell through about a month ago, he said.

"The explosives company is out of the picture," he said. "But, another outfit is interested. They have already had architects here."

An agent for KLNB Inc., a Baltimore real estate company that listed the property at $400,000, said he has another buyer under contract.

"We have a company out of Howard County under contract and hope to make settlement within 60 days," said Walter Patton. "They will be moving their entire operation to Carroll County."

Patton declined to name the buyer until negotiations are concluded, but he said the prospect would "comply with existing zoning."

The training center has been on the market about six months. Several companies have been interested in the site, which is about a quarter-mile east of Route 32 and six miles north of Interstate 70, Patton said.

"The explosives company was too close to adjacent properties, particularly to the prison," Beisser said. "They would have been able to meet some of the property line requirements, but not those with the prison."

The 36-year-old company, which has an excellent safety record, could have requested a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals. That would have been a difficult battle, Beisser said.

"They probably would not have been granted an exception, TTC given the number of people living in a facility nearby," Beisser said.

The town of Sykesville and an adjoining property owner, David Moxley, had opposed the sale to the explosives company, citing heavy truck traffic, the negative effect on property values and hazards to Freedom Park -- across Raincliffe from the center.

The property sits between the prison and Raincliffe Center, a proposed 32-acre industrial complex along Route 32, which Moxley has tried unsuccessfully to market for nearly a decade.

"An explosive storage facility adjacent to our site would be the death knell for our site," Moxley said.

Pub Date: 12/16/96

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