Hampstead veto override fails on warehouse restrictions Two council members lose move for controls

September 10, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Hampstead Town Council last night failed to override the mayor's veto of an ordinance that would have placed zoning restrictions on building warehouses in town.

Expressing concerns about truck traffic and air pollution, Council members Wayne H. Thomas and Wendy L. Martin made a motion to override the mayor's veto and argued for controls on warehouses in town.

But their motion was defeated by a vote of 3-to-2.

Council members Stephen A. Holland, Lawrence H. Hentz Jr. and Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. voted against the motion.

Mayor Christopher M. Nevin on Aug. 19 had vetoed an ordinance drafted by the Planning and Zoning Commission that would have required developers who wanted to build warehouses to go to the board of zoning appeals for conditional use permits that would have required a public hearing.

In a letter explaining his veto, Nevin said he agreed with objections raised in a letter to him signed by Jack Lyburn, Carroll County's director of economic development, and Arthur Peck, chairman of the county's Industrial Development Authority.

Saying they felt strongly that warehousing should remain a permitted use, Lyburn and Peck said in their Aug. 11 letter: "Carroll County, while becoming more attractive to users, is at a disadvantage in this arena due to our lack of a transportation network. Because of this, we try to focus prospects on other things that make Carroll County an attractive location, namely, our quality of life, labor force, and a business friendly environment with a timely permitting process.

"Designating warehousing as a conditional use will subject potential clients to more red tape in an already overwhelming process. It is much easier to show and sell property when a company is considered a permitted use. It is more difficult to persuade a user to consider a property when the potential for further delay and public scrutiny is imminent, as in a conditional use."

In his memo to the town manager and council members, Nevin praised the efforts of the Hampstead Planning and Zoning Commission. But he disagreed with a section that would make a warehouse or distribution center with offices -- such as Random House in Westminster -- a conditional rather than a permitted use.

"Under the proposed ordinance," he wrote in part, "even a smaller warehouse or distribution business would need a conditional use. I believe our town should not penalize a small business owner with a conditional use, that it has the infrastructure necessary to support these businesses, and in fact, should promote their development in Hampstead."

Nevin also noted the county's less-attractive road network among other reasons for his veto, including:

A fear that more restrictive zoning would make the Black & Decker Corp. property on Houcksville Road in the county more marketable than property inside Hampstead.

The town's existing site-plan approval and other mechanisms to ensure adequate road capacity.

Concern that the proposed ordinance would curtail use of a CSX rail line at the North Carroll Business Center -- "an important amenity for distribution space."

"I believe we owe it to our citizens, as we pursue a more diversified tax base, to be as flexible as possible in developing new zoning guidelines," he said.

The proposed ordinance would not cover a rumored 98,000-square-foot Wal-Mart at the North Carroll Shopping Plaza, because the property lies outside the town boundary. A larger building would require a zoning change.

Pub Date: 9/10/98

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