A county planner told the Sykesville planning and zoning commission last night that officials in Westminster want to avoid "cookie-cutter sprawl" in new development in southwestern Carroll.
Greg Horner, the county planner, reported to the local commission about the proposed master plan for the southwestern area in an information meeting.
The area covered by the proposal includes land west of Route 97 and south of Route 26, but excludes the corporate limits of Mount Airy.
The plan was developed over the past eight months with input from a citizens' advisory commission and has been approved by the county planning commission.
"Hopefully, the plan shows what the citizens of southwest Carroll would like to see accomplished," Mr. Horner said. "We would like to maintain the natural character of the area and work within the piedmont landscape."
Mr. Horner showed the commission a map containing existing crossroads villages, such as Berrett and Woodbine. "We are not looking to expand existing villages," he said. "We want to find areas to develop new ones."
The plan would direct development around newly created villages and encourage building that conforms to the historical environment, he said.
"We want to get away from the cookie-cutter sprawl and stick with a traditional village atmosphere," Mr. Horner said. "These areas served as gathering places in the past."
The county also has an economic goal: To capture more employment bases. Planners are looking for industrial zones with available water, sewer and roads.
Recreational plans include equestrian, hiking and bicycling trails. The county wants to take pressure off the town and handle some of the recreational facilities development, Mr. Horner said.
The master plan also recognizes the changing character of agriculture and stresses the need to realign Route 97 through Howard County to Route 70, he said.
In other news, local commission chairman Jonathan Herman introduced new commissioner Christine Jenkins of Kalorama Road. She replaces Bruce Fernalld, who resigned.