Mount Airy to study building permits

Planning panel is asked to evaluate annual limit

July 15, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Mount Airy Town Council members have asked the local planning commission to evaluate its limit on the number of building permits issued each year as a way of controlling future growth in the town that straddles Frederick and Carroll counties.

Officials asked the commission members to report back by December.

The request follows the council's approval in April of a master plan and a revised adequate public facilities ordinance. The revised ordinance requires that new developments not overburden services such as schools, water, sewers, roads, and fire and police coverage. The town population was about 7,400 in the 2000 census.

In 2002, the Town Council enacted a moratorium on new development, council President John P. Medve said.

"Coupled with the moratorium was a building-permit cap," he said, so developments already approved were limited to building no more than 24 units a year.

"We've got about 482 houses in the pipeline, under the 24 permits per project," he said. "We have to do some research."

The moratorium on new development expired last month after the council adopted the revised adequate public facilities ordinance, Medve said.

But it is unlikely that any new project could meet the adequate facilities requirements - with schools at 100 percent capacity on the Carroll side of town - unless a developer is willing to build a new school, he said. Developers are also required to provide sufficient water to the town.

Medve said the council has been considering whether to make the limit on building permits permanent. It is scheduled to expire in February.

Medve will be head of the planning commission, as new committee assignments were approved at the council's Monday night meeting.

In Mount Airy, the five council members divide the duties of overseeing the town's nine commissions and committees.

Medve also will lead the economic development commission under the reorganization that resulted from the May town elections.

The other commission heads are David W. Pyatt, beautification, and parks and recreation; Wendi Peters, zoning administrator, and water and sewer coordinator; Peter Ramsey Helt, streets and roads; Christopher P. DeColli, recycling and sanitation, and liaison to the new Mount Airy Main Street Association, which was the revitalization commission.

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