Westminster council OKs annexation plan

Roop's Mill property gives city new source of water

July 09, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

The Westminster Common Council approved last night the annexation and rezoning of the historic Roop's Mill property - a new water source for the city - and adopted a drought management plan.

The council's decision on the 93-acre property on the city's west side ends months of sometimes heated discussion. The city wanted to annex the property off Route 140 because a well there is capable of producing 135,000 gallons of water a day and would provide the city with additional water.

The county commissioners had raised concerns about how proposed development on the site - plans call for 150 to 200 homes - would affect Carroll's efforts to control growth.

The water source persuaded Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier to support a zoning waiver - expediting the development process. Without the waiver, the city would have had to wait five years to rezone all of the property for residential use.

Water also was the issue as the city's first drought management plan was adopted. The city is following state guidelines to restrict water use in dry conditions. When those restrictions are lifted, this plan will go into effect. It details color-coded alerts and procedures for when water levels are low and coordinates conservation and enforcement efforts in a uniform way.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance that will enable the city to have more say in how developers proceed with their site plans after a property has been rezoned. "This gives the city the ability to control what's going to happen on a property," Councilman L. Gregory Pecoraro said. "This fulfills promises they make and those we make to adjacent residents."

Before the conditional zoning ordinance was passed, the city's legal responsibility ended with site plan approval. But now it can legally prohibit developers from wavering from those plans.

A public hearing was held to discuss a $1,000 increase in the city's special capital benefit assessment fee. A one-time charge of $2,100 would be imposed on new single-family homes, apartments and commercial developments. The city said the money is necessary to keep up with the rising costs of providing resources to a growing population. No one voiced concerns about the proposal, which likely will be adopted by the council at its meeting July 22. The change would take effect Sept. 1.

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