'Interim' isn't forever Carroll County: Development restrictions should extend no later than January.

September 02, 1997

'TC WITH CARROLL COUNTY'S Interim Development Control Ordinance nearing its legal maximum of 18 months, it might seem time to pull the plug on this tool for procrastination by government. How long is "interim"?

Controversial since its inception, the IDCO was designed to restrict major new residential development while citizen volunteers and professionals reviewed the outdated master plan for land use, revamping the entire document as a blueprint for the next two decades of growth in Carroll County.

The ordinance is set to expire Oct. 25. The master plan overhaul, now in the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission, is currently scheduled to be finished three months later.

But that may be overly optimistic given the major stumbling block of how to pay for public facilities, such as schools, utilities and roads, needed to support new development.

IDCO has stalled new subdivisions: preliminary plan applications were down 90 percent in 1996 and haven't picked up this year. Given the uncertainty about future rezoning, a prudent developer won't go ahead before the land use plan is clear.

The breathing room provided by IDCO was necessary to get a handle on the overall plan for county development without new complications. But it also came with a finite duration, so that the construction industry would not dry up in uncertainty.

Measures exist to extend the effect of IDCO controls past their expiration. A new ordinance, with retroactive provisions, is one way to continue the controls into next year.

Other bureaucratic delays are also possible. County Commissioners Richard T. Yates and W. Benjamin Brown seem amenable to such a short-term extension of development controls.

No one wants to see a flood of new subdivision plans filed before the master plan is complete. And no one wants to see the master plan review dragging on without end.

So the county should take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the interim development controls into January -- but no longer.

That will force the government to act within a reasonable time frame to bring the master plan overhaul to conclusion, or be responsible to voters for the consequences.

Pub Date: 9/02/97

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