Residents of Marriottsville are pushing back against a landscaping company that is trying to move into their neighborhood, which is in a conservation zone.
On Sept. 25, the Carroll County Board of Zoning Appeals held a public hearing on a request for a conditional use for Carroll Landscaping in conjunction with a nursery operation, including a storage yard for vehicles and equipment and two exceptions, one a distance variance and the other a side yard setback variance. The property in question covers over 30 acres at 7720 Ridge Road.
Residents of the Marriottsville neighborhood in Carroll County attended the meeting to express their opposition. At the hearing, residents brought up concerns regarding the condition of local roads and the safety of children and pedestrians.
According to resident Linda Crites, the residents are concerned that Ridge Road is barely wide enough for two cars to go through at once, so worry about children safely being able to use the road to get to their bus stop for school, while trucks go to and from the landscaping business.
“The school bus can only go so far because of the restrictions of the school board transportation. When the road gets very narrow and windy, the school bus is not allowed to go there,” Crites said in an interview. “One of the things that I learned is that one of the ways that kids would get to the school bus stop would be to go through that property that was safe from the road.”
One resident at the meeting also mentioned a weight restriction of the road equating to 26,000 pounds, while the weight of trucks that could be traveling to and from the company average 20,000 pounds to 40,000 pounds. But Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein disputed that claim.
“This road, Ridge Road, is a Carroll County public road and is maintained by the county. There are no weight restrictions for the road, and the county performs typical maintenance as with any other county-maintained road,” Rothstein, R-District 5, said in an email.
Chris Winebrenner, communications manager for Carroll County, offered some clarity on the dispute.
“There is a distinction, depending on the type of traffic. For this span of road, between Marriottsville Rd. to Marriottsville Rd. 2, there is a 26,000 pound restriction for through traffic," Winebrenner said. “However, there is no weight restriction for local traffic which would be local stops, deliveries and business activities; therefore, the restriction would not apply to this case.”
Crites also had concerns about water and septic that she felt went unanswered at the hearing.
“I can’t believe that they wouldn’t have some interest in [the property] in terms of water runoff, potential pollution, that kind of disruption; there was no real discussion about how they’re going to handle any water or septic issues on the property," she said. “So, there’s just so many questions unanswered.”
Despite the residents’ concerns, the Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-1 to approve the variances for Carroll Landscaping, with board member Dennis Wertz casting the lone vote against. But the board added the condition that the business would not be permitted to be open past 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The motion was made by board member Richard Simmons, and board member Lisa Eckard second the motion after the condition was added.
The residents have until 30 days after the hearing to appeal the board’s decision of the variances. This would give them a deadline of Oct. 25 to file an appeal.
According to Crites, some residents intend to find an attorney to appeal the board’s decision, though she said Friday that had not happened yet.