Updated growth proposal urged County official says comprehensive plan needed for Finksburg

September 25, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County planner recommended to the Finksburg Planning Area Council last night that it begin a two-year process leading to a comprehensive plan -- the first for the area since 1981.

"This is a new process," said Daphne Quinn, a comprehensive planner for the county, "and there will be some give and take in how we go through it."

Quinn plans to ask the county planning commission Oct. 20 to authorize a full update of the plan for the area. The so-called miniplan would focus on growth and zoning issues in Finksburg, which is unincorporated and has no officials to be consulted, unlike in the county's eight incorporated towns.

The process begins with background work: gathering information including demographics such as household income, transportation networks, economic development, natural resources, a land-use inventory, interviews with community leaders, surveys and mapping. Along the way, there would be newsletters and workshops aimed at shaping a vision and goals for the community.

Quinn's recommendation met with skepticism from a few of the 70 residents who attended the meeting. Some feared more development and harm to Liberty Reservoir, while others questioned the county's commitment to planning in the wake of the County Commissioners' recent decision to table adoption of a new Master Plan until after the election.

"The benefit," Quinn told them, "is that it would give you an opportunity to have a significant input on the future of this area. Finksburg does have some significant industrial and commercial areas that, looking at some of the pros and cons of having that in your community, this is a benefit."

"I wouldn't predict that you would have huge swathes of town homes," Quinn said, but "you can't deny this area is very attractive for people to live in. That's why you all live here. That pressure is not going to go away."

The current boundary for the area runs along Route 140 from Liberty Reservoir at the Baltimore County line to about Bethel Road, she said. But that is based upon a defunct water-and-sewer boundary from the 1960s.

A draft should be ready in April of 2000. It would undergo a 60-day review process before the planning commission makes a recommendation to the County Commissioners, probably that summer.

The mini-plan must be compatible with state and county requirements, Quinn noted.

By a 2-1 vote, the current County Commissioners deferred action until after the election on a proposed new Master Plan that would direct growth to established community planning areas: the eight towns; Finksburg, and the Freedom District, which includes the most populous South Carroll region. The county as a whole is expected to grow by 200,000 residents during the next 20 years.

Finksburg is unique, Quinn told the residents, because the unincorporated Freedom area is adjacent to Sykesville and its plan evolved from the town's.

"The process is at the very, very beginning stage" Quinn said before the meeting. "We will give them an outline for what the process is going to be and get some ideas from them -- any suggestions for ways they might want to provide input."

Pub Date: 9/25/98

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