Carroll commissioners focus on transportation

They also talk about rezoning at work session

August 17, 1999|By Jennifer Sullivan | Jennifer Sullivan,SUN STAFF

Carroll County commissioners discussed the future of county employment, economic development and the environment last night in the latest of a series of work sessions as they prepare to draft a new growth and development plan.

The commissioners met with planners for the fourth of eight work sessions to discuss some of the issues that will help them compose a new land use plan.

They spent last night's session discussing traffic, park-and-ride lots and other related issues.

"They are more or less work sessions between the commissioners and their staff," Steve Horn, county planning director, said of the workshops.

County residents are encouraged to attend, Horn said, but the two-hour sessions have drawn little interest from residents.

Commissioner Julia Gouge focused on traffic congestion.

She said it would be a good idea for municipalities to make room for convenience stores people could walk to.

The last time a county growth and development plan was created was in 1994.

The commissioners ordered the study as part of their review of the county's proposed master plan, a process that is expected to take about four months. Last year, the previous board of commissioners shelved the plan, leaving it for this board to discuss.

The proposed plan would direct development to the county's nine designated growth areas, set strategies for protecting 100,000 acres of farmland and rezone five properties totaling 223 acres to foster economic development.

The commissioners can accept or reject the proposed plan, but they cannot amend it.

Many of the goals and policies included in the document were based on a 1994 land-use study. Since then, county figures show Carroll's population has grown by about 9 percent -- from 138,384 residents five years ago to 151,743 today.

The commissioners also discussed rezoning the county, a process that would take at least three months, Horn said.

Residents would be invited to appear before the planning commission and request that their property be rezoned.

A countywide rezoning has never been conducted in Carroll, though the land-use designation of several properties was changed in 1978 when the county updated the parameters of its agricultural zone.

Horn said the work sessions will probably conclude in October, and a new growth and development plan will probably be drafted by the end of the year at the earliest.

Pub Date: 8/17/99

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