Four proposed maps are being considered by a seven-member redistricting committee to ensure each of the five Carroll County commissioner districts continue to have an equal population.
Carroll County Code requires that the commissioners appoint a new redistricting committee following the release of the decennial census to examine the commissioner districts based on the revised census data.
According to data released in August, Carroll County has grown by 5,757 people over the past 10 years.
Joe Leeman, chair of the committee, said the proposed maps are very similar as the group is “united in its desire for certain towns and municipalities to be together in the same district.”
Leeman said all committee members want to see a District 1 that is comprised of Taneytown, Union Bridge, and New Windsor, a District 2 comprised of Hampstead and Manchester and a District 5 comprised of the whole of Sykesville and Eldersburg.
“Once these factors are locked in place, the remaining discussion centers around the proper way to divide Westminster and in which district or districts Finksburg will end up,” he said. “In all cases, District 4 contains Mt. Airy and the Woodbine/Winfield/Piney Run areas and runs up Route 27 to near the Westminster town border.”
While the county board of elections has requested the committee try avoiding splitting voting precincts, Leeman said the few maps which split no precincts were not able to accomplish the common goals of the group and stay within population limits.
“We decided to split as few precincts as possible while uniting communities and maintaining the population requirements and any precinct splits would occur along well-known roads,” he said.
Map A splits Finksburg at Route 140, with northern Finksburg in District 2 and southern Finksburg in District 3. The other precinct split occurs along Deer Park Road.
Map B splits only one precinct along Green Mill Road but has District 4 now running from Mt. Airy to near Finksburg.
Map C splits the large precinct in Westminster at Route 140, which evenly divides the population of this precinct. This split, Leeman pointed out, puts the region around the airport and Bachmann Valley in with Taneytown.
“While this area is part of the Westminster municipality, it is a more rural region, that identifies with the northwest Route 140 corridor. What would be considered ‘greater’ Westminster is all together in District 3,” he said, adding, Map C also keeps the near entirety of Finksburg together, with the precinct split occurring as before along Deer Park Road.
Map D also splits a precinct along Green Mill Road in the same way as Map B and has District 3 going further up Route 27 and picking up portions of Hampstead-Mexico Road with splits along Albert Rill Road and Eckard Road. This map would have Finksburg split between Districts 2 and 5, with the bulk of Finksburg in District 2.
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Several meetings have been scheduled specifically dedicated to receiving public comment regarding the proposed maps.
Attendance has been very low so far, Leeman said, with their Sept. 20 meeting at the South Carroll Senior Center only attracting two guests.
“10 years ago there were over two dozen people at the same meeting,” Leeman said.
Two more public comment sessions will be held, one on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the North Carroll Branch of the public library and the other on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Mt. Airy Senior Center.
All recommended revision to the districts must be submitted to the Carroll County Legislative Delegation by Dec. 1.
The proposed maps can be viewed at https://www.carrollcountymd.gov/government/boards-commissions/commission-on-redistricting-committee/proposed-maps/.
The current commissioner districts are as follows: District 1, the county’s northernmost and geographically largest district, stretches from the Taneytown area east to Manchester; District 2 runs along the county’s east side, from Hampstead south through Finksburg and Gamber; District 3 includes the City of Westminster and surrounding areas; District 4 encompasses most of southwestern Carroll County, including the towns of Mount Airy, New Windsor and Union Bridge; and District 5 includes the Eldersburg community and the Town of Sykesville.