Planners schedule meeting to discuss region's growth Residents' views sought on possible new miniplan for area

October 21, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission voted yesterday to hold a public meeting before deciding whether to embark upon a comprehensive plan for the Finksburg area.

Daphne P. Quinn, a comprehensive planner for the county, recommended a full update for Finksburg because of the age and narrow scope of the last plan, in 1981, and changes in the region since then.

"There are basically two routes you can go," she told the commission. "One would be a full update [with] background-data collection and community meetings to get community input. Or, there is the reaffirmation of the existing plan."

But the 1981 plan, she said, "basically sought to address land use in regard to its effect on the Liberty Reservoir."

The plan followed a 30-year-old water-and-sewer map and ran roughly from Route 91 near Gamber north to Bethel Road, including Emory Church, Sandymount and Patapsco, Quinn said.

A new miniplan would focus on growth and zoning issues in the Finksburg area -- with the area to be determined during the work, she said. It would take about two years.

Since 1981, development in the area has increased, she said.

"The population growth has been more rapid in the Finksburg area than what was projected in the 1981 plan," she said.

Interstate 795 has opened "and obviously brought some impact to this area and how it relates to the Baltimore region as a whole," she added.

A citizens group, the Finksburg Planning Area Council, formed last year, she noted.

"It's the first time I know of that Finksburg has had some sort of unified voice about how they would like their area to grow and develop," she said.

Commission Chairman Thomas G. Hiltz of Woodbine suggested the commission follow the "template for how we do master plan reviews" and have a community meeting.

Commission members voted unanimously for such a meeting to include the Finksburg council members and others in the unincorporated area.

Last month, about 70 residents attended the monthly Finksburg council meeting to hear Quinn outline her recommendations. Several expressed concern that such a plan might bring more development and harm the reservoir.

'Basic questions'

Representing the Finksburg Planning Area Council citizens group yesterday, Vice President Donald E. Hoffman said his organization would welcome a meeting with the commission as a whole, and he praised the planning staff for keeping his group informed.

"But we still have some very basic questions," he said. "For instance, should Finksburg be a CPA [community planning LTC area]? What should the level of review be?"

Before the meeting, Hoffman said he hadn't decided whether to support the miniplan proposal.

"I'd hate to see Finksburg taken for granted. I'd like more information," he said.

Recent state and county initiatives favor a comprehensive plan, Quinn said. These include the state Planning Act, which requires reviews every six years; the county's adequate-facilities policy; the revision of a transportation plan for the area; and the State Highway Administration's access-control study of Route 140 to improve traffic circulation and capacity between I-795 and Westminster.

Of the county's nine designated growth areas, only Finksburg has no public water or sewer, unlike the Freedom District in South Carroll, which is the only other unincorporated area.

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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