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First draft of Carroll County's comprehensive rezoning goes to public this week

Interactive 2014 Carroll County Master Plan Future Land Use map. Feb. 28, 2019.
Interactive 2014 Carroll County Master Plan Future Land Use map. Feb. 28, 2019.(Courtesy photo)

A draft of the comprehensive rezoning for Carroll County’s commercial, industrial and employment campus districts went online Tuesday for residents to review, as the Department of Planning prepares for two public outreach meetings and then a public hearing on the changes this spring.

The proposed changes include some redistricting of commercial and industrial districts. Changes were also made to revise, delete or add definitions to the document.

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Carroll County's 2018 Freedom Plan — the 10-year master plan for the Freedom Area — is now available to the public online, at www.freedomareaplan.org, and in print, for $20 each.

“We anticipate any issues with the new version [will be addressed at] two public outreach meetings,” Planning Director Lynda Eisenberg told the Board of County Commissioners at their work session meeting last week. “We will be taking public comment and coming back to you prior to the public hearing.”

In that way the board can decide what additional changes to implement before the public hearing based on citizen feedback, she said.

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“There are always those few people that may not agree and will stay the course,” said Eisenberg, “and then there will be people who had an issue with something who no longer have that issue.”

As the Board of County Commissioners and Department of Planning near the end of comprehensive rezoning for the industrial, commercial and employment campus zones in the county, the discussion turned to medical cannabis in commercial zones Tuesday. 

A handout will be mailed out to property owners prior to public outreach meetings so people will be notified if their properties could be affected by the rezoning, she explained — and interactive current and future land use maps will be made available on the Planning Department section of the Carroll County Government website, similar to the maps made available during the development of the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan adopted last year.

The draft proposes the existing General Business (B-G) and Neighborhood Business Retail (B-NR) districts be replaced with the new Commercial Low Intensity (C-1) and Commercial Medium Intensity (C-2) districts, respectively — and a new commercial district is being established: Commercial High Intensity (C-3).

The Restricted Industrial (I-R) and General Industrial (I-G) zones would have their names changed to I-1 Light industrial and I-2 Heavy Industrial, respectively.

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners voted to send a zoning change to a public hearing Thursday that would allow breweries in restricted industrial areas of the county.  Shaffer and Shaffer LLP drafted the amendment on behalf of St. John Properties, with a prospective brewer tenant.

Automatic comprehensive rezoning would occur in zones that are being eliminated, but property owners in other areas will have the opportunity to discuss their zoning.

“We are not rezoning someone from underneath of them,” Eisenberg said Feb. 21. “If they’re currently zoned residential, they might not be ready to be commercial or industrial. They will have the opportunity to come forward and be comprehensively rezoned.”

There will be opportunities for property owners to express those concerns at the two public outreach meetings, which the Planning Department anticipates will occur before April. Letters will be sent out in the coming weeks. The public outreach meetings will be followed by a public hearing.

The Planning Department is already working on comprehensive rezoning for its next district, the residential zone, but does not have a timeline yet for it to come before the public.

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