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Proposal would set priorities for open space areas Subdivision sites also considered


Open space areas near planned or existing reservoirs, schools or recreation areas would be given priority for county ownership in a proposal before the Carroll commissioners.

County planning officials have drafted a proposed policy to help the commissioners determine whether to accept proposed open space areas in subdivisions. The policy also would

establish internal procedures for county staffers to follow during the development review process.

Prompting the policy proposal are requests for the county to accept open space areas in subdivisions where homeowners associations no longer want to maintain the property.

The county wants to avoid accepting small tracts of open space areas scattered throughout Carroll because of maintenance and other costs, officials said.

Open space is created in subdivisions because the space is required by ordinance or because developments are so large that the Planning

and Zoning Commission has required the builder to provide recreational area, officials said.

Under the proposed policy, the county would review open space areas that are:

* Within or border planned or existing county reservoir projects, such as Gillis Falls, Piney Run and Union Mills.

* Within or border planned or existing county schools, parks, recreations areas, greenways or wildlife areas.

* Set aside for a planned road or street, which is permitted to be accepted as part of the open space requirement under the county's zoning


The county commissioners are expected to consider the policy next week.

Planning commission members said they would determine how to handle Commissioner Donald I. Dell's concerns about developers frequently building tot lots in subdivisions.

Tot lots often are built as part of open space requirements. Mr. Dell suggested setting aside money for residents to determine later how to use open space.

"My concern is that we require tot lots and they might not have tots," he said.

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