PARKKING REMEDY NEEDED
WESTMINSTER -- Some people play musical chairs with their cars, moving them around as needed during the work day to avoid parking tickets.
Others buy a permit.
Still others risk the wrath of citizens by parking on residentialstreets and walking.
These are just some of the problems facing the city as it tries to work out the kinks of having too many cars andnot enough parking spaces.
The city's parking committee is tryingto look at all the problems and decide how best to tackle them: one at a time or all together?
The committee, for now, is waiting for Police Chief Sam Leppo to outline the serious problem areas, mainly where residents and businesses fight over who gets what space.
At last Friday's meeting, the committee discussed numerous problems and possible solutions, and even questioned the worthiness of the parking permit system.
The group also recognized that many don't buy the permits and the 51 permits sold last year at $10 each didn't even cover the cost of the project.
A meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 22, when the committee again will tackle the problem, hopefully based on Leppo's information.
Any recommendation the committee makes, however, must be approved by the City Council.
BRIDGE REPAIR IS DELAYED
MECHANICSVILLE -- Repairs to the Route32 bridge over the Liberty Reservoir have been indefinitely postponed until State Highway Administration officials determine whether it will be affected by state budget cuts.
The project, previously scheduled to begin in March, will consist of a new deck and other necessary repairs. The bridge was to be closed untio fall.
However, John Sheen, assistant district director for SHA construction, said officials will not close the bridge or advertise the project until they are sure money will be available this year.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
SYKESVILLE -- This town is not waiting for the future to come to it -- rather, it is going to the future.
At Monday night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, it was announced that the town will have a conference, probably in May, that will include county and state officials from various departments, including transportation, public utilities and other infrastructure areas.
"We're going to tell them our problems and our goals and possible ways to implement those goals and see if they can help us financially," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.
What the town is concerned aboutis growth, not only in Sykesville, but the entire Freedom District. With growth comes traffic, and with traffic, more problems, especially along the Route 32 corridor used by commuters.
"With development, in six years we're going to have a critical situation and we don't want to be starting then (correcting it)," noted Commission Chairman Jonathan Herman.
The commission also heard from Slade S. McCalip, transportation planner for the Carroll County Department of Planning.
McCalip said he expects to have a written report at the March meeting on a two-month Traffic Impact Study the county has been conducting.
"We're looking at traffic patterns now and from that will estimate what the proposed development will generate in the future," McCalip said.
He said one preliminary indication was that the realignment of Obrecht Road to Route 32 should relieve some traffic congestion in that area.
A study of directional distribution, which concerned commission members, also suggested that 60 percent to 70 percent of the commuters from Sykesville travel southeasterly, McCalip noted.
That means more and wider routes heading south toward I-70 out of the town are needed.
MAIN STREET MONEY SAFE
WESTMINSTER -- State administrators have assured city officials that state money for the East Main Street reconstruction will not be in jeopardy while the city takes time to redesign the project.
Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said yesterday that Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer promised during a recent visit to Westminster that state money for the $2.8 million project would be available whenever the city completed plans.
In recent weeks citizens and Main Street business owners have come out in opposition to the original plan, saying widening the road to 40 feet would negativelyimpact property fronts, sidewalks and trees. So the city decided to revise the plans, considering a widening of less than 40 feet.
However, city officials expressed concern that delays in completing plans would threaten availability of state funding.
"It's like Christmas in February," Councilman Samuel V. Greenholtz said of state assurances.
The mayor also announced that a task force -- likely including city residents and East Main Street business owners -- will be formed to assist with the redesign. The task force will be composed of about 12 people, he said, with half appointed by the city and the restnamed by the State Highway Administration.
FLIGHT PATHS REWORKED
WESTMINSTER -- County administrators say flight paths at Carroll County Regional Airport have been altered to reduce safety risks to nearby schools and neighborhoods.
Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said at a press conference yesterday that he had been notified about the flight path reconfigurations, which have been in placesince Jan. 15.
In recent months, Brown had contacted the county and expressed concern about air traffic over three schools and residential areas west of the city near the airport.
Essentially, the flight paths have been reversed, with the bulk of the air traffic directed east of Route 97 instead of west of the road, the mayor said.
PLANNING FEES SET
MOUNT AIRY -- The Town Council passed emergency legislation Monday setting fees the town will charge to developers for town planning services.
Town administrators said the fee schedule is necessary now that the town has hired its ownTown Planner. Previously, a private consultant provided planning services for the town, which simply passed on the consultant's fees.
Town review of plans for a development of five acres or less will cost $500, according to the new regulations. Review of plans for a development from six to 49 acres will cost $1,000, and review of developments larger than 49 acres will cost $1,500. Plans review for all commercial-industrial developments will cost $1,500.
The regulation also sets hourly fees for additional services provided by town employees. Services of the Town Planner or Town Engineer will cost $50 per hour, with clerical works costing $30.
COUNTY BUYS 31 ACRES
The County Commissioners approved the $375,000 purchase of 31 acres for the future Gillis Falls Reservoir.
The land, owned by the District Board of the Church of the Brethren, is on the north side of Grimville Road just northeast of Mount Airy.
The purchase is pending final approval by both the church and the county.
The land would be part of the planned 1,500-acre Gillis Falls Reservoir project. When completed, the reservoir would serve the Freedom Water District in southwest Carroll County.