P&Z answers ‘we don’t know' to property questions
“We must pass the rezoning to see what is in the rezoning” is the logic being used by the Carroll County Planning & Zoning Commission.
I (virtually) attended the planning commission meeting held Sept. 2. The topic was the rezoning of several large parcels along Md. 140 and adjacent to Reese Road. There are many things wrong with how the meeting was announced (not) and how things have proceeded up to this point. However, I want to concentrate on one dimension of the meeting. That is, the Planning & Zoning Commission stated that they have no idea how the property might be used if they/the commissioners approve the requested change from current Agricultural Zoning to the proposed High Commercial, Industrial and Heavy Industrial.
Every time a citizen asked a question about what might happen to the property once they rezoned it, they stated that they did not know. They stated that any specific proposals for how the land would be developed once it was rezoned, would have to be submitted and approved.
Have you thought about how this development will completely jam the traffic flow on 140?
Have you thought about how the traffic will overburden the windy residential Reese Road?
Some of the property is landlocked. Are you planning to route the traffic for this new facility through the residential neighborhood?
How will the Heavy Industrial development adversely impact the neighboring well water?
How will any development pass muster with DNR critical areas review?
This area will contribute even more to the flooding of the North Branch Patapsco River. How can this be allowed?
To all these questions and many more the response was always the same. The planning commission does not know. They stated that just because they approve a zoning change to High Commercial and Heavy Industrial, that does not mean that any requested change will ever take place.
Are we really to believe that even though the planning commission admits having worked with the property owner, the future plans for the land never came up? Are they being deceitful to us?
If the county has no idea what is to become of the property after the zoning change, then why change it? If the answer is simply because the property owner wants to change it, then I would counter that there are many local residents who oppose that change and their voices must be heard.
Russell B. Baker
Inadequate notification from Planning & Zoning
I am concerned about the adequacy and timing of communications to nearby residents as part of Carroll County’s comprehensive rezoning project. My house is adjacent to/near four properties on Reese Road that have requested rezoning in the “by request” phase from Agricultural and/or Conservation to a range that includes Heavy Commercial, Heavy Industrial, and Light Industrial.
The first direct notice I received about this was an undated letter from the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission on Aug. 28, which notified adjoining property owners of the rezoning and provided an opportunity to submit comments to the P&Z Commission for a meeting dated Sept. 2 (five days later). At this meeting, the P&Z Commission was already making final recommendations that will be presented to the County Commissioners in October 2020.
The mailed notice I received was 38 days after a July 21 meeting where the P&Z Commission first discussed rezoning the properties. Not all adjoining properties have been notified. Signs were not posted on the properties before the July 2020 meeting, and signs are still not posted as of mid-September. Emails from the P&Z Department are cryptic. All properties are identified by case numbers (such as C3-04-2020-0012), not by street addresses.
Rezoning requests should be identified by ZIP codes, communities, roads, and street addresses. Adjoining property owners should have been notified in advance of the July meeting and provided the chance to submit comments to the P&Z Commission so that they could have fully considered all the points made by the community. The fact that no public comments were provided in the July meeting only to have several hours of call-in comments plus over 100 pages of written comments provided in the September meeting should be proof enough that there are not adequate notification processes in place.