County Commissioners give go-ahead for breweries in industrial zone

The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission will begin changing the county’s Industrial Restricted Zone to allow breweries after county commissioners gave them a thumbs-up Thursday.

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners approved the Planning Department’s request to start on the amendment Thursday, which was proposed by Shaffer and Shaffer, LLP, but denied the department’s request to defer any additional requests for changes to text or maps until the comprehensive rezoning of the commercial, industrial and employment campus zones is completed.


The Planning and Zoning Commission will now begin the process of drafting an amendment.

“Anyone can come forward with a text amendment,” Planning Department Acting Director Lynda Eisenberg told the commissioners Jan. 17. “Anyone from you all [as commissioners] to any citizen, to the planning commission.”

But, she said, it has to go through the planning commission no matter who asks for it. Then it would go before the commissioners to get sent back to P&Z so the department could make a recommendation on it.

“However, do you want this to continue after this particular effort?” she asked. “As you know, we are going through the comprehensive rezoning process [for the] text and map.

“We could see others coming in to get ahead of this effort, any of the work we have done,” Eisenberg explained. “If things are contrary to what we’ve recommended, it could be sort of problematic.”

Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, asked Eisenberg about how the process was done with the Freedom Plan — the 10-year master plan for Carroll’s Freedom Area — last year, and she said it was the same. Citizens were given notice of a time frame to submit text amendments before it was closed to allow the plan to be completed.

“So it’s the same step for this as would be for that, so it would be appropriate to do this,” Frazier said.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, however, was reluctant to say that someone could come make the last request and any other recommendations would be deferred.

“We are allowing this in this instance,” he said. “Suppose there’s somebody tomorrow that wants to do the same thing. Now we’ve decided to defer, so we are allowing this one but we are not allowing the one tomorrow? That seems very unfair to me.”

Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2, asked how long it would take to finish the comprehensive zoning. If the board were to defer amendments to text and maps, how long would the deferment last?

“[The] commercial/industrial/employment campus, however long it takes to work through that to your satisfaction,” Eisenberg said. “I'd suggest we send out a recommended text before we have a public hearing, we’d have some open meetings for citizens to come even prior to a meeting — in case there are things that come out of the woodwork, so to speak — and then make any revisions, [and] go to a public hearing. Map changes would have to happen after that.

“It’s several months just for the commercial/industrial/employment campus,” she said, “then we have to move on to the residential — which we are working on internally — and then agricultural and conservation.”

“So there could be someone applying, we could hold them up for a year. Maybe more,” Weaver said.

Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, had another idea.


“The other way to look at it is keeping the box open and make those decisions by exception as we are doing,” he said. “This is a good idea to allow for smart growth where it makes sense, and the concern you have — that staff has — is it could flood with changes while we’re going through the process. I appreciate [it, but] I do not believe that's going to be happening very often, if at all.

“If it does,” he said, “we can take it up case by case.”

Frazier made a motion to allow text amendment requests to come in for the next 30 days before closing it, but the motion died due to lack of support from the board.

The commissioners decided to leave the possibility for amendments open.

“I don't see it as being a ton of these requests,” Wantz said. “This is a project that has some importance, and some legitimacy behind it, so I don't see 50 [amendment requests] being out there, maybe even five. I just don’t see it.

“I get what you're saying … but out of fairness, I can’t do it.”