Board OKs golf coursesThe County Council, sitting...


Board OKs golf courses

The County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, unanimously approved a change in the zoning regulations last week that would allow small golf courses on sites zoned for office research.

The courses, called executive golf training and recreation centers, would be laid out on at least 5 but not more than 20 acres. The courses would have shorter fairways and smaller greens than regulation courses, but would still have trees, sand and water hazards. The centers would also have additional teaching and putting greens. Each may include a restaurant and pro shop.

"The proposed type of facility would offer, on a pay-per-visit basis, instruction and practice opportunities not available at traditional golf courses," the board said in a Decision and Order signed July 29.

"The market for office space in Howard County is much less active now than it has been in recent years," the board said. "This proposal will allow property owners in the [planned office research] zoning district to develop interim uses on their land which will provide income until conditions improve and development of office space becomes desirable."

By the same decree, the board redefined miniature golf courses -- an amusement facility with putting greens that contain obstacles -- and limited them to a maximum of 2 acres.

The board also redefined driving ranges as facilities that do nonecessarily provide teaching services, but allow patrons to hit golf balls to a specific area from stationary positions for amusement or practice.

Term limits get vote

Supporters of a drive to limit County Council members to three four-year terms appear to have succeeded in getting their proposal before the voters this fall.

The limitations, if approved, will not apply to current council members.

Supporters needed signatures of 10,000 registered voters by Aug. 10 to put the question on the ballot. By last Thursday, they had col

lected 13,135 and turned them over to elections officials.

Led by Janet Sloan, supporters collected 10,000 signatures by late June. They were advised by the Election Board to get 18 percent to 20 percent more signatures than were needed before submitting their petition, however, because some of the people signing the petition are not registered voters. Ms. Sloan and her group collected 31 percent more signatures than needed.

The drive began after a term limitation bill by County Councilman Darrel Drown, R-2nd, failed to win council support.

Route 29 exit moves

The southbound Route 29 exit ramp to eastbound Route 103 will be moved 400 feet south beginning on Monday, according to the State Highway Administration. The current ramp will be closed to accommodate the construction of the St. John's Lane interchange.

A new left-turn lane will be used until the new St. John's Lane bridge is opened this fall.

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