Carroll commission calls for discussion of new zoning law

November 14, 2001|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Reacting to widespread criticism, Carroll County commissioners asked yesterday for a meeting with county planners and farmland preservationists to discuss how the county will implement a recently passed zoning law that many say promotes development on farmland.

Donald I. Dell called for the meeting, saying the commissioners should at least respond to questions and concerns that have arisen in the past month.

Several county staffers expressed reservations about the wording of the law yesterday to the commissioners. Planning Director Jeanne Joiner said the law "has the overall potential to increase the density of houses in rural parts of the county."

The new law allows landowners to transfer development rights from their conservation land to their agricultural land. According to its formula, a landowner with 15 acres of conservation land can build an extra five house on his agricultural land, even if his conservation land is too soggy or steep to support five houses.

No one knows how many landowners will gain significant extra development rights.

The law might be better, Joiner suggested, if it allowed the landowner to build only as many houses on his agricultural land as he could actually build be built on his the corresponding conservation land.

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