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Wakefield proposal pared; development could be a long way away, council says

It might be a long time before anything is developed on the city-owned portion of the former Wakefield Valley golf course.

During a meeting with the Westminster Common Council and mayor Monday, Councilman Tony Chiavacci told the council and the packed room that he spoke with developer Pinkard Properties about the current proposal for the land.

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Pinkard Properties had proposed building four sports fields, an amphitheater, a cable park and an indoor sports complex. In September, the council decided to go with Pinkard's proposal, but it made clear that the proposal was not final.

Planning officials will discuss the future of a portion of the Wakefield Valley property slated to become a housing development.

Chiavacci said Tuesday that the council decided some parts of the proposal did not seem viable for the neighbors or the whole Westminster community, including the proposed cable park and amphitheater.

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Chiavacci went to Pinkard with the changes in the proposal to see if the company was still interested in developing the land, as well as if it would make financial sense. He said the company still seemed on board despite scaling down the project.

Under the changed proposal, the Wakefield Valley land would include four LED-lit fields. And while the new plan is a reduction on the original plan, several members of the community around Wakefield Valley spoke out at the Monday meeting to say they were unhappy with the planned fields.

Many voiced concerns over light pollution from the LED lights planned for the fields, as well as the noise from people using the fields. Others brought up worries about additional traffic and trash.

At one point, one woman asked the council to consider living with fields in their neighborhoods, prompting Chiavacci to respond that he doesn't have to imagine. His house is bordered in the front and back by six fields, he said.

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While the members of the public who attended the Monday meeting all had complaints about the potential plan for the property, Chiavacci said Tuesday that he's received nods of approval from recreation groups.

He also said that part of the fields plan needs to benefit the community, and he imagines there'll be a reduced price for the neighbors and others in the Westminster community to use it.

The final plan will have to be good for the community as a whole, in addition to considering those living in neighboring houses, Chiavacci said.

For now, the council is planning to take some time before moving forward with discussions. They are watching Pinkard Properties' other projects to see how they work within their respective communities, council members said Monday.

Chiavacci echoed their comments Tuesday, saying it is far from a done deal.

"We still have a long way to go," he said.

In the end, regardless of what happens on the property, Chiavacci said it's important to understand exactly how much of the Wakefield Valley land they are talking about. A majority of the land will remain the way it is now, ensuring there is open space and walking paths, he said.

"No matter what we do, we're talking about a relatively small portion," he said.

heather.mongilio@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7898

twitter.com/hmongilio



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