New chairman planning to expand Carroll's Freedom Advisory Council Citizens group to begin with membership drive

December 03, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The first order of business for the new chairman of the Freedom Advisory Council is a membership drive.

Phil Bennett, who took over leadership of the 15-member citizens group last month, wants to expand the board and draw representatives from the many homeowners associations in South Carroll, the county's most populous area with about 28,000 residents.

"We want to be the conduit for citizens in South Carroll and the county government," Bennett said. "I hope to generate enough enthusiasm for what we are doing that we will attract new members."

Bennett, 64, who is retired from the federal government, succeeds Carolyn Fairbank, who had led the council since it was founded in August 1996. Fairbank, who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner last month, will remain on the council.

The council is preparing its comments on the new Freedom Area Comprehensive Plan, the county's 11-chapter blueprint for growth in South Carroll, which is undergoing its first major revision in 21 years.

The county commissioners are reviewing the plan, which will have a public hearing Jan. 7 at Liberty High School.

"We plan to have at least 25 people commenting on different topics," said Nimrod Davis, a Freedom council member.

The plan represents two years of work by county planners and residents. It recommends improvements to transportation, particularly along Routes 26 and 32, the area's major arteries, and calls for establishment of local offices for county government.

Although Freedom has been a major growth area, it, unlike the county's eight towns, is not incorporated. Many residents feel they have little control in planning their neighborhoods.

Bennett has asked council members to read the comprehensive plan thoroughly and take their comments to a meeting Dec. 15. The council is printing about 1,500 fliers that highlight the plan.

"I would support the improvements recommended and develop a priority list," Bennett said. "Everybody here is concerned with traffic congestion and building new subdivisions where there are not adequate facilities, particularly schools."

The first public information session on the Freedom Area Comprehensive Plan will be held at 7 p.m. today at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church, 961 Johnsville Road, Eldersburg. Information: 410-386-2145.

Pub Date: 12/03/98

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