Truck weight limits mulled in Hampstead Council gets input on West Street proposal pTC

October 14, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Hampstead Town Council held a public hearing last night to gauge reaction to limiting the size of trucks on West Street, which runs parallel behind Main Street.

Some residents have asked for the restriction to preclude heavy trucks from parking there, said Town Manager Neil Ridgely, but preliminary reaction to the idea was running about 50-50 for and against.

No ordinance has been drafted for a proposed road-weight limit, he said, but it probably would cover trucks of 1 ton or more. The hearing was to get comments from the public.

About two weeks ago, the town posted signs along the street advising of the public hearing on proposed weight restrictions, which would affect the stretch of road from Houck Avenue north to Hampstead Mexico Road (Route 482).

Councilman Stephen Holland said he proposed putting the item on the agenda in response to one resident's concern about heavy trucks and traffic in general.

"All we've done so far is try to get some input," he said. "No one's actually planning anything yet."

At the meeting, about five businessmen asked questions, and several residents complained not only about trucks but all types of traffic -- especially speeding vehicles.

Holland said more work needs to be done and suggested another meeting. "I think we got a pretty good feel for it," he said.

He suggested some concerns be referred to town police.

The town received one letter opposing the idea before last night's regular council meeting, which was preceded by the public hearing.

R. Leslie Wheeler, president of Hampstead Auto Parts Inc. at 1363 Main St., said in his Oct. 5 letter, "This proposal will certainly be detrimental to my businesses. I receive deliveries at the rear of the Hampstead Auto Parts store and these trucks need to use West Street to unload and to safely re-enter Route 30.

"The alternative is for these trucks to park along Main Street and impede traffic." Wheeler said his truck volume is small, with several deliveries on some days and none on others.

"I am surprised that the Town Council would enact an action to cause harm to a local business," he wrote, noting that the current administration has voiced support for downtown merchants.

"The Town of Hampstead has survived through the years with many businesses, owned and operated by local families. These businesses exist with the support and cooperation of local customers. Over the last few years, there has been a momentum to make Hampstead a town where more of our local residents shop. But without the support from the Town administration, these businesses cannot survive."

Wheeler said he wrote his comments because he could not attend the meeting to urge the council not to enact the restriction.

Also during the public hearing session, the council was to take comments on its reconsideration of a proposed ordinance that would place some zoning restrictions on building warehouses in town.

Mayor Christopher M. Nevin on Aug. 19 vetoed an ordinance drafted by the town's Planning and Zoning Commission. It would have required developers who want to build warehouses to go to the town's Board of Zoning Appeals for conditional-use permits, which require a public hearing.

The council failed to override that veto Sept. 9, by a 3-2 vote, returning the ordinance to the town planning commission for review.

Nevin said in a letter explaining his veto that he agreed with objections raised by Carroll County economic development officials that warehousing should remain a permitted use.

The proposed town ordinance would not cover a 98,000-square-foot Wal-Mart rumored to be coming to the North Carroll Shopping Plaza, because the shopping-center property is outside town limits.

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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