Old tires as fuel being considered
TANEYTOWN -- Carroll Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy and chairmen of the Baltimore and Harford county councils met at the Havilah Inn here Thursday to discuss a Union Bridge cement company's plan to burn tires as fuel.
John Jones, assistant plant manager at Lehigh Portland Cement Co., explained the company's application to the state for permission to burn scrap tires in its kilns. The state passed a law in 1991 that requires scrap tires to be recycled rather than buried in landfills.
"It's a viable solution to an environmental problem," Mr. Jones said.
Officials at Maryland Environmental Services, a quasi-governmental agency, are working with Lehigh to establish conditions under which the company could burn scrap tires, Mr. Jones said.
MES, he said, "wouldn't have come to Lehigh to solve one environmental problem if they anticipate creating another one."
Jeffrey D. Wilson, president of the Harford County Council, cautioned Mr. Jones to keep the public informed of the company's plans and to emphasize the environmental benefits.
Mr. Jones said the company has informed community groups and the towns of New Windsor and Union Bridge, and said Lehigh has not received any complaints about the plans so far.
Advisory panel backs CCC independence
WESTMINSTER -- The Carroll Community College Advisory Board has voted unanimously to pursue independence by this summer, three years ahead of schedule.
The move could mean as much as $650,000 more in state aid to the campus, starting next July. Also, a local board of directors would be appointed, probably by the governor, by then, said Executive Dean Joseph F. Shields.
The ball now is in the court of the Carroll County commissioners, who must vote on whether to ask the state to recognize the Carroll campus as a separate school from Catonsville Community College. Carroll currently operates as a branch of the larger Baltimore County college.
Simultaneously, the college will apply for candidacy from the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, the area's independent accrediting agency.
Dr. Shields proposed the accelerated schedule to the advisory board at its meeting Wednesday, after State Secretary of Higher Education Shaila R. Aery recommended it.
Candidacy would allow the college to have the benefits of accreditation as it goes through the process.
Accreditation is necessary for students to be able to receive financial aid and to transfer credits to other colleges.
Sykesville council gets townhouse issue
SYKESVILLE -- The Planning Commission turned over to the Town Council the issue of allowing townhouses in future developments during a workshop Monday night on the Small Town Planning Guidelines.
The commission did not recommend whether to allow any more townhouses in Sykesville and what percentage of a subdivision could be town houses if they are allowed.
Council members could vote on the guidelines by next month.
The guidelines had allowed up to 20 percent town houses on developments of five or more acres. But at the July Town Council meeting, Councilman Walter White strongly objected to any townhouses in new developments.
At Monday's workshop, Mr. White again spoke out against town houses.
"I'm against townhouses altogether," he said. "I worked 30 years to buy my house and I don't want to see $50,000, low-income townhouses coming in the town.
"Townhouses are a poor tax base," he said. "We need to attract higher income families to the town to increase the tax base."
Mr. White said residents have told him they oppose town houses and that they moved to Sykesville for the small-town atmosphere.
Town Manager James L. Schumacher presented figures showing that Westminster is the only town in Carroll County with a higher number of rental units than Sykesville. The county seat has 58 percent renter-occupied homes. Sykesville has 52 percent.
Councilman and Planning Commissioner Jonathan Herman suggested making a minimum lot size for each zoning district, then letting the Town Council deal with approving or disapproving townhouses if the issue comes up.
In the end, the commission decided on 7,500 square feet as a minimum lot size in all zoning areas.
The council also approved widening all road widths by 2 feet except those that already are 36 feet wide. Council President Kenneth Clark requested that move for safety reasons.
Tree law proposed in Hampstead
HAMPSTEAD -- Town Council members will review a tree ordinance for a vote at the Sept. 21 meeting.
The ordinance is the final step for Hampstead to receive the state's designation as a "Tree City," said Councilwoman Jacqueline Hyatt, who has been involved in tree-planting activity since before she was appointed to the council last year.
Such a designation for the town means it qualifies for state grants.
"When moneys are available, it allows us the priority to get those moneys," she said.
The proposed ordinance applies only to trees on town-owned property, she said. But it specifies that any company that does tree pruning or topping within the town limits must be licensed by the state, even for work on private property.
If it is enacted, the law would create a Tree Commission made up of 10 voting members appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. At least one member must have a background in horticulture, forestry or a related field.
Issues such as tree spacing, planting, preservation, pruning or removal will be decided by the commission. The ordinance lists a set of 23 "permissible trees" for the town, as well as nine species that "are not considered suitable under any circumstances and may not be approved by the commission."
It also would allow the town to require removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property if they are considered dangerous to people, animals or other trees.
Violations of the law would be subject to a $25 fine for a first offense and $50 for repeat offenses.
Hampstead council considers trash law
HAMPSTEAD -- The town's trash ordinance is up for revision by council members, who will vote on changes Sept. 21.
Changes and clarifications proposed include the definition of trash, storage, location of containers and collection.
Proposed changes include barring residents and businesses from storing more than 96 gallons of trash at a time.
In addition, residents will have to arrange for special disposal, at their own expense, for things such as dead animals, machinery, poisons, caustics and other dangerous material.
The town currently does not provide pickup of bulk trash items, such as furniture and appliances. Until the town started a new contract this year with Haden Trash Removal, residents put such items out on regular trash days and the hauler removed them.
However, the contract with Haden includes no bulk pickup, and the town is looking into contracting separately with Haden or another hauler for a quarterly pickup of such items, said Mayor C. Clinton Becker.
Starting this month, however, residents do have curbside pickup of recyclables on the same day as regular trash removal.
Councilman Gary Bauer said participation so far is 50 percent, and recycling will remain on a voluntary basis.