Planning commission approves plans for subdivision in southwestern Carroll Growth-control law allows OK despite some concerns

June 17, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

The county planning commission approved preliminary plans yesterday for a five-lot subdivision in southwest Carroll -- a project that likely would have been rejected a few months ago because of school, road and public safety concerns.

In March, the county enacted a growth-control law that allows residential development to proceed in some instances despite certificates of inadequacy from county agencies.

The fact that plans to develop the 170-acre site near John Pickett and Gillis Falls roads were presented with a staff recommendation to go forward despite those inadequacies took planning commission members by surprise.

"You look at this and say, 'Gee whiz. Everything's inadequate but it's being approved,' " said commission member Maurice E. Wheatley of Eldersburg.

Chairman Thomas G. Hiltz of Woodbine sought an explanation.

Crowding at South Carroll High School cannot be used as a basis for inadequacy in this instance because a few housing allocations are allowed even when schools are crowded, said Frank G. Schaeffer, the county's development review chief. Some allocations were available in South Carroll, he said.

The public works certificate indicating the 14-foot-wide dirt and gravel road is inadequate doesn't apply because the property is in an agricultural zone, he said.

When zoning was restricted in agricultural zones to one lot per 20 acres 20 years ago, it "accepted some roads as not as good as some of the public would like them to be, but still OK," Schaeffer said.

The owner has agreed to set aside a portion of the property that could be used for the future alignment of John Picket Road. Such an alignment is not in the county's six-year plan for public works improvements, however.

Another concern -- lack of water -- would have to be addressed before the lots can be recorded in court records, Schaeffer said. The commission agreed with his proposal that representatives of the county fire protection engineer, Mount Airy Volunteer Fire DTC Department, and the owner of the property "develop a plan that addresses the concerns."

Owner Robert L. Harrison gave the commission an aerial photograph yesterday showing an acre-sized pond on the property, about 1,600 feet from the proposed subdivision. The sites consists of two parcels -- one 35 acres, the other 135 acres. The site plan calls for the lots to be clustered.

"It's interesting that there are three inadequacies," yet the county growth-control law addresses one in this instance -- the water safety issue, Hiltz said.

After the vote to approve the project -- which some members appeared to cast reluctantly -- member Melvin E. Baile Jr. of New Windsor told the staff to return the plan to the commission if conditions could not be met.

That is their procedure regardless, staff members said.

In other action, the commission approved plans for a 2.43-mile, overhead electric transmission line into Taneytown, and a 190-foot telephone communications tower on property owned by Carroll County Gun Club in Winfield.

Pub Date: 6/17/98

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