Despite objections from Carrollton and Patapsco residents, a state Public Service Commission hearing officer has approved a request by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. to build a 9.8-mile electricity line from Finksburg to Westminster.

If no one appeals the decision, it becomes permanent Feb. 9, said Peggy Mulloy, a spokeswoman for the utilitycompany in Baltimore.

However, the approval requires BG & E to follow conditions set bythe state Department of Natural Resources for this project, Mulloy said.

Those conditions include raising the height of some lines so that fewer trees have to be cut down and taking special precautions in wetland areas during construction, which could start as early as next fall if the decision is finalized, Mulloy said. She said construction will take about one year.

Other restrictions include limitations to the use of herbicides, a ban on construction between March 1 toJune 15 to protect fish, the removal of excavated materials from wetlands within 24 hours, and seeding and mulching within five days of any areas in which plants were excavated for construction.

JoAnn Hood of North Gorsuch Road in Carrollton was among about 20 residents of that area who spoke against the project at hearings last summer. She said yesterday she didn't know whether any residents would appeal.

She and other residents objected to the project because of the erosion, loss of trees, sensitivity of the wetlands in the area and general aesthetic damage.

The residents had asked the state to requireBG & E to produce an alternate plan along Route 140, preferably underground.

The new line would run along an existing one, but would require the replacement of some poles and the addition of new ones, BG& E engineers have said.

Mulloy said the utility will need to purchase some property rights from residents in the Carrollton area and will be able to pursue the property through eminent domain if residents refuse to sell.

BG & E engineers have said that growth in the Westminster area requires the augmentation of an existing line that runs along Route 140.

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