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Board of Carroll County Commissioners weigh in on final comprehensive rezoning decisions

A sizable portion of Thursday morning’s Board of Carroll County Commissioners open session meeting was spent going over the 28 properties that were up for approval by request and the corresponding map amendments.

Lynda Eisenberg, the county’s planning department director, presented the list to the commissioners during the meeting. Nineteen of those properties were given favorable recommendations by the commissioners and planning commission at previous meetings, with nine labeled as unfavorable recommendations. There were numerous listening sessions and public hearings between the initial requests and Thursday’s commissioners meeting, Eisenberg said, as well as provisional votes.

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These by-request properties are listed as commercial, industrial and employment campus districts.

Once the commissioners agreed on how to word their motions for decisions on each property, the following requests were approved:

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  • 844 Professional Center Condo Inc., Old Washington Road, Westminster (commercial)
  • ABAR Partnership, aka Legacy School in Eldersburg (employment campus)
  • Buckman Associates, Md. 26, Eldersburg (commercial)
  • Cimino Trustee, Md. 26, Eldersburg (commercial)
  • Commissioners of Carroll County, across from Century High School in Eldersburg (employment campus)
  • Eveler, Woodbine, not far from Carroll County line (commercial)
  • Fogle Properties, Obrecht Road, Sykesville (industrial)
  • K&P Resource Recovery, Westminster (employment campus)
  • Kyker, intersection of Md. 97 and Md. 32, south of The Hill Y in Westminster (commercial)
  • MAD Properties, Winfield area (commercial)
  • MT Laney, Salem Bottom Road (industrial)
  • Mary Jane Graf property, just outside of Lineboro (commercial)
  • Maryland Mallet, off Md. 97 north of Westminster (commercial)
  • SMO Inc., Finksburg (commercial)
  • Stockdale, Md. 26 south side near Liberty Exchange (commercial)
  • Stonesifer, just outside the corporate limits of Westminster (commercial)
  • Tevis Real Estate, Finksburg (commercial)
  • Wedekind, Md. 97 near the Howard County border (industrial)

Another set of requests were voted on as being not approved:

  • Bokeh IV LLC, former North Carroll Community School (commercial)
  • Colburn/Hulver/Bay, just outside Mount Airy limits (employment campus)
  • K&P Resource Recovery, across from Reese and Community Volunteer Company (commercial)
  • K&P Resource Recovery, adjacent to above (industrial)
  • North Carroll Community School, Stone Road and Md. 97, primary principal use in ag zone (commercial)
  • Playtime Corporation, Old Westminster Pike, no access to Md. 140, day care center (commercial)
  • Roy Poole, aka Tumbleweed Express, Old Westminster Pike (industrial)

The commissioners also changed from favorable to unfavorable on JEMS Investment, located in Finksburg off Md. 140 and Old Westminster Pike. The provisional voting last year was 3-2 to provide about half its 7.8 acres for commercial rezoning, with commissioners Dennis Frazier and Stephen Wantz opposing.

Wantz said Thursday he’s concerned about runoff from the property affecting the Liberty Reservoir area that divides Carroll and Baltimore counties. Frazier also brought up reservoir issues and said some neighbors of the JEMS property were concerned as well, which prompted Commissioner Richard Weaver to rethink his initial position.

“I was torn on this one. This is really a tough decision on this one,” Weaver said. “This is not a great property to go commercial.”

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Eisenberg told the commissioners the JEMS property is not consistent with Finksburg’s rezoning plan before they voted 4-1 to keep the zoning as is.

The commissioners voted to keep Long Meadow Farm on Bennett Road in Eldersburg, also known as the Beatty Property, on hold until a residential mapping discussion takes place before any rezoning decisions are made.

“We don’t need to rush into this,” board President Ed Rothstein said. “Let’s make the decision when it’s ready to be made. Let’s continue to hold off on this to get this one right.”

Wantz said he’s still unsure as to what people from that area really want and agreed waiting would be the right choice.

“The confusion down there is a little bit off the charts,” Wantz said. Rothstein added, “It’s not just off the charts, and that’s putting it mildly. We’re going to continue to pursue it.”

The other property that garnered more discussion Thursday was Finch Services Inc. at the intersection of Medford Road and Md. 31 between Westminster and New Windsor. The commissioners voted 3-2 to not approve the owner’s request for industrial rezoning.

Eisenberg said the initial thought was to wait for a new public hearing after the applicant provided a revised boundary that would change the type of industrial zoning. Wantz, who has opposed the change from the start, argued that a hearing likely wouldn’t do much.

“I’m going to continue to say this ... Medford Road and Route 31 is the most dangerous ... one of if not the most dangerous intersections in Carroll,” Wantz said. “There would have to be major infrastructure changes to that intersection if anything different than ag and residential is introduced there. Period. Not a red light, not just a blinking light, not signage. Major changes.

“You talk about expensive ... there’s blind spots there, there’s grade issues, there’s limited sight distance. On and on and on. That’s an incredibly terrible intersection. That’s the biggest reason why I am against seeing any changes in that area.”

Frazier and commissioner Eric Bouchat voted against the motion to keep Finch Services as it is. Bouchat said rezoning the property might one day lead to changes at that intersection. However, Wantz held steady.

“Put the emphasis on ‘might,’ ” Wantz said. “I’m not interested in ‘might’ versus lives being changed. ... My point is, changes should have been made out there already. It’s way overdue. If we’re attempting to get this intersection made safer by making zoning changes, that ain’t right.”

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