Delay rezoning in watershed, group urges Carroll officials

Environmental studies of Liberty area sought

October 18, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council has asked Carroll officials to defer changes in land use in the Liberty Reservoir watershed for about a year to allow time for the completion of environmental studies that might ease restrictions on industrial development.

But Carroll Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Robin Bartlett Frazier said yesterday the county needs to rezone for industry as soon as possible and cannot wait for the studies.

"I am not willing to wait," said Frazier, referring to the council, whose board voted Tuesday in Baltimore to request the delay. The council includes the leadership of Baltimore and its surrounding counties.

Dell, agreeing with Frazier, said, "The studies are a good thing, but I probably am not willing to wait a year."

In a workshop yesterday, the commissioners reviewed nearly 50 rezoning petitions, many of them in the watershed area, but took no action.

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge is the only Carroll commissioner authorized to vote as a member of the council's board of directors. She voted at the council meeting Tuesday with the majority to postpone land-use changes for a year, but is certain her colleagues will override any such decisions.

"It makes sense to wait for the studies," said Gouge.

"Right here in Carroll, we have $40,000 to do a study of the watershed. We may see after that that we are more or less restricted in what we want to do. Updating can be good, and the [council] could develop new goals and strategies for the watershed."

As an incentive, the council tabled efforts to reaffirm the longstanding watershed management agreement - a voluntary pact that safeguards the drinking water supply for 1.8 million people - and authorized revisions to "address current issues, programs and needs," members said.

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