Panel backs sales offices on development sites Zoning ordinance change recommended


Carroll builders would be allowed to place temporary sale offices in developments during construction under a proposal endorsed by the county's planning commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended that the zoning ordinance be revised to allow builders to place temporary, modular sales offices in subdivisions of 15 lots or more for up to two years. Sales offices could remain longer with county approval.

Currently, developers are allowed to use model homes as sales offices. Two Carroll towns, Hampstead and Westminster, allow modular sales homes, county officials said.

The change has come at the request of developers, including Howard H. Patton of Sykesville, who contend that using model homes as sales offices ties up money.

"The only means we have now to market our homes on site is to build a model home and use this as our sales office. This procedure ties up a lot of capital and for a long period of time if we are dealing with a large subdivision," Mr. Patton wrote in a letter to the commissioners earlier this year.

Daniel Strickler of the Carroll County Board of Realtors endorsed the proposal. He asked the commission not to set a time limit and said builders should not have to remove a sales office until all but a few lots have been developed.

Under the proposal, builders would be required to move the sales office from a phase of the development nearing completion to another phase. Where more than one builder is selling lots in a development, they will be required to share a sales office, county officials said.

Solveig Smith, Carroll's zoning administrator, said developers will be required to submit for county approval site plans for temporary sales offices and landscaping. The sales offices must be state-approved modular units and not trailers, she said.

The planning commission's recommendation now goes to the Carroll commissioners, who will hold a public hearing before taking action on the proposal.

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