Proposed bypass picks up backing

Hampstead's newest council member plans to make it a top priority

July 21, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The Hampstead bypass will be a top priority of his, says Vincent Corsaro, the town's newest council member.

Corsaro, 38, was appointed last week to complete the term of Councilwoman Wendy Martin, who resigned in May and moved to Florida.

Corsaro, a 10-year resident of Hampstead, has served as a member of the town's Board of Zoning Appeals for about four years and brings additional support for a bypass to the five-member council.

The bypass project, which was initiated about 20 years ago, is stalled, awaiting results of an environmental study on bog turtles that inhabit a portion of the proposed bypass.

Proponents say the bypass is essential to end the traffic gridlock on Route 30, also known as Hanover Pike. The two-lane road, which state officials say 18,000 motorists use to commute to and from work each weekday, is called Main Street within the town limits. About 60 percent to 70 percent of the commuters live in Pennsylvania, officials say.

Corsaro commutes to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where he is an airline service manager. He often misses the morning traffic crunch, but said he is frustrated nearly every day as he returns to Hampstead.

"It's a pain in the neck," he said. "Some days, the northbound evening backup extends to Boring, and a 10-mile distance can take 30 minutes or more," Corsaro said.

Corsaro figures his experience on the Board of Zoning Appeals has given him a good sense of other issues the town faces.

He said he wants to help town officials move forward with the Main Street revitalization, complete the relocation of the police station, help find a site for and build another water tower and find additional sources of water.

In other Town Council business at a rare Friday-night meeting, enforcement for violations of Hampstead's voluntary water ban drew council endorsement of daily $25 fines for using lawn sprinklers.

Consumption of town water has risen to 450,000 gallons a day, "way too much," said Councilman Haven Shoemaker. "The annual average daily water consumption rate is 350,000 gallons."

The voluntary ban focuses on sprinklers. Residents are strongly encouraged not to wash cars, but watering of flowers and vegetable gardens is permissible.

A spokeswoman for the town said yesterday that most people have been very cooperative. Some claimed not to know about the voluntary ban, and the town has taken care to publicize it better, she said.

Shoemaker said his introduction of a noise ordinance led to discussion of whether it should include objective parameters such as decibel levels and distance from which unnecessary noise can be heard.

"Councilman Steve Holland and I will be doing some research to see what other towns, such as Ocean City, have included in their noise ordinances," Shoemaker said.

A copy of Ocean City's noise ordinance obtained by The Sun shows that officials in the state's largest resort town distinguish between machinery noise and that caused by people partying or playing loud music.

For instance, the Ocean City ordinance prohibits "unreasonably loud" sounds caused by people talking, singing, or playing radios, musical instruments, televisions and the like between midnight and 7 a.m. If the sounds are "plainly audible" from a distance of 50 feet or more, violators face a maximum penalty of $500 and five days in jail for each offense.

"Definitely, we need to make our ordinance more objective as far as enforcement is concerned," said Shoemaker, an attorney who quickly drafted Hampstead's proposed ordinance in response to complaints about a band practicing in a home on Sycamore Drive.

"It's not inconceivable that some version of a noise ordinance could be approved by next month," he said.

Town officials also hope to hire a town manager within the next few weeks, Mayor Christopher M. Nevin said last week.

The list of candidates has been narrowed to two who are highly qualified and currently are employed, Nevin said.

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