Area plan study begins

Residents consider revisions in blueprint that guides growth

`Develop a vision statement'

Recommendations go to planning panel, then to commissioners


March 02, 2001|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

A group of concerned residents gathered in a small elementary school last night to begin revising the Finksburg Area Comprehensive Plan, a blueprint to guide growth along the county's southeastern strip.

The county established Finksburg as a growth area about 30 years ago, and reaffirmed that intention in 1981 when the Finksburg Area Comprehensive Plan was adopted. This will be the first update of the plan.

During their first public discussion of the proposed plan at Sandymount Elementary School, 70 residents of the rapidly growing area tried to visualize what they would like the community to look like in 20 years. Many described their vision, and what they hoped the proposed plan would accomplish.

Several residents said they would like to see scenic roads preserved in an effort to maintain the rural atmosphere of the community. Others questioned whether Finksburg should continue to be one of the county's nine designated growth areas. The region has no public water or sewer service.

"Our primary objective tonight is to develop a vision statement for the community," said Matthew Simmont, county planner for Finksburg. "We're also trying to come up with goals for the area that will go into the comprehensive plan."

The Finksburg planning area encompasses 8,985 acres and is home to 17,369 residents, county records show. The area lies in the Liberty Reservoir Watershed. As a result, much of the land is zoned for conservation, meaning that residential lots must be at least 3 acres.

The 1981 plan encouraged low-density development to minimize hazards, such as runoff pollution, that more intensive development can cause. It also addressed the county's inability to provide public water and sewer service to Finksburg, directing development to areas with soils suitable for on-site sewerage disposal systems.

Work on the proposed plan is expected to continue for about 18 months, with a second community workshop planned for March 21. Afterward, county planners will draft recommendations for the proposed plan and present them to the community for feedback. Then, a final draft will be written and submitted to the planning commission for review.

Once the planning commission approves the document, it will be forwarded to the board of commissioners. The board will have to hold a public hearing on the plan before it is adopted.

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