Official outlines plan process for outskirts of Westminster

Two meetings to create goals, recommendations

May 27, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

About 20 people turned out last night for the first community meeting to design a plan for the thousands of acres that surround the Westminster city limits.

Brenda Dinne, who oversees comprehensive planning for the Carroll County Planning Department, outlined the process for developing the Westminster Environs Community Comprehensive Plan. It will be about two years before the plan will be ready for action by the county commissioners.

The meeting at Westminster High School was the first of three, Dinne said. Others are set for June 23 to outline goals and Aug. 3 to draft recommendations.

"The community comprehensive plan provides a legal framework to guide the growth and development of a community," Dinne said.

Goals and concerns of residents would be considered for adoption and implemention by county officials.

"Spread the word," Dinne urged the group.

The county mailed almost 5,700 notices to property owners in the unincorporated study area, said Bobbi Moser, a comprehensive planner for the county. The Westminster environs area roughly follows the 7th Election District outside the city limits -- 28,233 acres -- and runs longer to the north and south, shorter to the east and west.

Workshop participants are encouraged to provide comments on any area that interests or concerns them, Moser said. "Opportunities or threats, strengths or weaknesses, and what they see as the preferred future, what they would like to see happen," she said.

The planners also will send surveys to those in the area, which had a population of about 16,700 last year -- slightly more than the city's 15,900.

Topics suggested in a newsletter mailed to residents include a Westminster bypass and other transportation issues; growth management and land use; schools and other community facilities; natural resources; economic development; historic and cultural resources; and housing.

It's been almost 14 years since the Westminster environs plan was developed, Dinne said, and the state's 1992 Planning Act and 1996 Smart Growth legislation require an update.

The city of Westminster completed its comprehensive plan last year, and similar plans will be developed for Hampstead and Finksburg, Moser said. These provide more detail than the countywide master plan.

The Carroll County commissioners are considering adopting a new master plan, updated from 1977 and approved by the county planning commission last year.

Pub Date: 5/27/99

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