Hampstead council briefed on mistakes relating to Main Street project, Hampstead Overlook proposal

The Town of Hampstead Mayor and Council are pictured in this file photo.
The Town of Hampstead Mayor and Council are pictured in this file photo. (Alex Mann / Carroll County Times)

The Town of Hampstead Mayor and Council convened for its monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9 to discuss two small mistakes.

Mistake No. 1 concerned the town’s Main Street Revitalization Project — a multi-year, collaborative effort to update Hampstead’s primary road.


The sidewalk in front of neon sign and clock shop Neonetics was built too far to the east, eliminating the road’s shoulder — which had been serving as a defacto bypass for motorists to get around cars that stopped to make left-hand turns — and causing traffic delays, said Tammi Ledley, Hampstead town manager.

Mayor Christopher Nevin wrote the State Highway Administration District Office once the error was brought to the town staff’s attention, Ledley said. The SHA reviewed the plans and agreed to move the sidewalk to its original location.

The hiccup will take some time to fix, though it is not expected to significantly, if at all, delay the project.

“It’s a State Highway [Administration] project,” Ledley told the Times after the meeting. “We do not have a construction manager on our end.”

Town staff had been focused on how the Main Street facelift would impact the town’s water infrastructure and stormwater pipes, “stuff underneath the ground, that’s where our main focus was,” she said. “We looked at the plans, but again we’re not construction managers, so once they laid the sidewalk, we realized they’d taken away the shoulder.”

It’s not clear why the construction plans moved the shoulder, Ledley explained. But, she added, the town thought it could lead to rear-end collisions, traffic backups and angry motorists.

Councilman Wayne Thomas, who’s served on the elected body 25 years, proposed that his council colleagues consider increasing the Hampstead Tree Commission’s yearly budget by $7,000.

The SHA will cover the cost of removing and then reinstalling the curb close to its original location, Ledley explained, but that could take time because the administration must get the changes to the plan approved. “It’s not going to be moved right away.”

The biggest obstacle for the project are the gas lines, Ledley said. Those will ultimately determine whether the revitalization finishes by the expected date of completion — which, as of Sept. 17, is slated as spring 2020.


The second mea culpa concerned the proposed Hampstead Overlook development. The town said it recognized an error in the advertising process leading to the introduction of Florida Rock Properties Inc.’s proposed development.

“We looked at our town code. We looked at our procedure manual. We talked to the planning people within the county,” Ledley said. “Well, what we didn’t do is look at the state code.”

The state code calls for two advertisements over a 14-day period before the meeting at which the project is to be introduced.

The town advertised in the Northern News — a community weekly mailed to Hampstead residents — but it failed to publish one week, thus skewing the advertising timeframe.

“What happened is, I don’t know that the town’s ever had a rezoning outside of a comprehensive plan,” Ledley said. “So, a lot of times you’ll go around every 10 years, and look at your zoning to see what’s working [and] what’s not working, and you tend to change your rezoning during your comprehensive plan.”

The rezoning of Florida Rock Properties Inc.’s property from industrial to partly residential occurred outside of the cycle, and an administrative mistake occurred.


Hampstead, out of an abundance of caution, will redo the rezoning process — at the town’s cost.

The petition for rezoning — the exact same document originally introduced in 2016 — will be reintroduced to council at its November meeting, with the requisite pre-hearing advertisement. The petition will go to the Planning and Zoning Commission later in the month and then back to Council for approval in December.

At the Oct. 24 planning commission meeting, the town plans to hold a public discussion with Florida Rock and its environmental team, the commission and, hopefully, a representative from the Maryland Department of the Environment to address citizen concerns about arsenic and other chemical contaminants present on the property.