County moves into drafting stage for Westminster environs plan

Third meeting held to get public's views on land surrounding city

August 04, 1999|By Jennifer Sullivan | Jennifer Sullivan,SUN STAFF

After three public meetings on the future of thousands of acres around Westminster, enough information has been gathered from Carroll County residents for officials to begin the long process of drafting a guide for developing the area.

"We've got the input needed to start the plan," said Brenda Dinne last night after the final meeting -- attended by about 30 people -- was held at Westminster High School.

Dinne, who oversees comprehensive planning for the Carroll County Planning Department, said it was necessary to seek comments from the public before county planners began drafting the guide for growth.

The Westminster Environs Community Comprehensive Plan must be adopted by the county commissioners before it can be implemented.

The commissioners are not expected to do so until the end of next year.

Although the comprehensive plan is heading into the drafting process, Dinne said residents can register their views.

Another round of community workshops will be held in the spring to discuss planners' recommendations.

The Westminster environs encompasses about 28,233 acres around the city limits.

About 16,700 people live in the area -- slightly more than city's 15,900.

Two workshops were held in May and June.

In addition, county planners mailed nearly 5,700 surveys to property owners in the unincorporated area. The county received almost 1,400 responses.

Barbara C. Moser, a comprehensive planner for the county, said officials are analyzing the survey results.

Some goals and visions might change as a result, she said.

Among the objectives outlined are the need for improvements to Route 140; more park facilities, pedestrian paths and bike trails; and an increase in the number of sites reserved for industrial development.

The state's 1992 Planning Act and 1996 Smart Growth legislation require an update to the Westminster environs plan, which was developed in 1985.

Westminster updated its comprehensive plan last year.

Similar plans will be developed for Hampstead and Finksburg. These plans provide more detail than Carroll's master plan, which was drafted in 1977 and is being reviewed by the county commissioners.

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