Plan for stretch of Route 140 prompts concern in Finksburg

July 20, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Finksburg Planning Area Council has grave concerns about some elements of a proposed corridor plan for a stretch of Route 140, especially the creation of an employment campus zone on land next to the Gerstell Academy.

Carroll County's planning proposal is to be outlined at 11:30 a.m. today at a county Planning and Zoning Commission work session.

"We're not in favor of an employment campus here in Finksburg," said John R. Lopez, president of the community association. "There's too much industry here already. Finksburg has only got one route - 140 - and it's so congested now," he said.

Finksburg was once a designated growth area, said Matthew W. Simmont, the county's planning manager and area planner for Finksburg since 2000. The corridor plan would replace the larger community planning area that dates from the 1960s, when water and sewer service was planned for the area.

The proposed corridor runs from state-owned reservoir land at the Baltimore County line to Bethel Road, he said, and is up to a quarter-mile wide. The acreage for the employment campus zone lies beside the Gerstell Academy at 2500 Old Westminster Pike and comprises about 180 acres of mostly open land that backs onto the Liberty Reservoir watershed, including about 20 acres of the Todd Village trailer park, he said.

The Carroll County commissioners adopted the new employment campus zone in April - and the county hopes to put one in each of its eight incorporated municipalities, as well as Finksburg, said Steven C. Horn, Carroll's planning director.

The zoning, which would allow mixed commercial and light-industrial development in a uniform layout, is meant to attract higher-paying jobs to the county.

Among the possible uses listed in the ordinance are: computer services, engineering and scientific research and development, hotels, pharmaceuticals, office and communications equipment, business and professional offices, colleges and universities, and other similar uses.

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