Finksburg plan delayed after official leaves job

Project to address future of unincorporated area

May 28, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A plan to revamp the town of Finksburg has been set back at least six months by staff turnover, Carroll County's new planning director told the Finksburg Planning Area Council last night.

Steven C. Horn, who has been with the county since 1987, said two planners recently left for other counties at a time when comprehensive plans for Hampstead and the Westminster area have been started. Plans for the Freedom District are almost finished, and Horn said his office is "trying to get the countywide master plan back off the ground."

Said Horn: "We're looking at somewhat of a delay before we get back up to speed."

Finksburg, an unincorporated and undefined community, lies along Route 140 southeast of Westminster -- both a bottleneck and a gateway into Carroll County. An initial step will be to set boundaries for the area to be included in the Finksburg plan, which will take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Horn drew heated response from more than a dozen of the 60 people at the meeting when he called a connection of Arabian Drive to Brown Road "a done deal."

Residents of Carroll County Trails, Jason Acres and Brown Road objected to making Arabian Drive a through street, predicting increased traffic volume, speeding cars and fatalities.

A petition to fight the idea was drawn up on the spot, and Horn promised to convey objections to the county commissioners.

"Finksburg presents a tremendous challenge for planning in particular," Horn said, noting that it was intended in the 1950s to be a major growth area with residential and industrial development. He explained that when concerns arose about Liberty Reservoir and water quality, "Finksburg became more of a conservation zone."

At a meeting in December with the county planning commission, Finksburg residents and business people raised issues from traffic to tourism in the first stage of developing a comprehensive plan for the area.

But the process stopped after the departure of the comprehensive planner for the area, Daphne P. Quinn, whose position remains vacant but will be advertised soon, Horn said. Quinn recommended a thorough evaluation of the Finksburg area because the only existing plan was from 1981 and focused upon Liberty Reservoir.

The county's designated growth areas include its eight towns and Finksburg and the Freedom District, both unincorporated. Of those areas, only Finksburg has no public water or sewer service.

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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