Plans for new schools lift development ban

4 housing subdivisions were stopped in March

Carroll County

May 10, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Now that plans for two new schools and student redistricting are in place, Carroll County planning officials say developers can move forward on four proposed South Carroll subdivisions that were halted in March because of school crowding in Sykesville, Eldersburg and Mount Airy.

The subdivisions were the first in Carroll's history to be halted under the county's concurrency management ordinance, guidelines to prevent population growth from overwhelming schools, water, sewer and other basic services.

The Carroll commissioners had said at the time that they did not expect the subdivisions to be delayed for long, and a combination of developers' complaints and information about school projects prompted the planning department to rethink the decisions, said Jeanne S. Joiner, county planning director.

Joiner said she took particular note of the commissioners' fiscal 2003 budget, which includes the two schools in the county's six-year construction plans.

"It looked like given those projects, it would be OK to let the subdivisions go through," she said.

None of the four subdivisions has received approval from the county's planning commission, but the approval process can continue with concurrency requirements satisfied.

The four subdivisions are: Freedom Hills, a 41-lot development off Route 97 in Woodbine; Pine Brook Farm II, a 36-lot development, also in Woodbine, off Route 97; Hoods Hills, a 21-lot development in Eldersburg, off Deer Park Road; and the Thompson property, a one-lot subdivision in Mount Airy.

Ed Primoff, owner of the Freedom Hills property, said he wasn't surprised that the planning department had cleared his subdivision.

"It's what I expected," he said. "I knew that any potential problems would be addressed in this year's budget."

The subdivisions would send children to four elementary and two middle schools, which school officials in March projected would be at 20 percent more than capacity by 2008.

But with plans for a South Carroll middle school and an elementary school in Mount Airy in the county budget, school crowding should ease, planning officials said.

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