South Carroll residents who rely on Linton Road for access to Liberty Road have raised an issue that county planners must address: Can this poorly-aligned, two-lane road without shoulders handle any more traffic? Builders of the proposed 203-acre Belt Farm subdivision plan to dump the traffic their development generates onto Linton Road, already incapable of handling existing traffic.
When it became evident in April that some type of development was in the offing, residents of Linton Springs Civic Association mobilized. They met with the county's Bureau of Development Review to examine the developers' plans and then fired off a letter to the commissioners outlining their concerns.
Given the inadequacy of many of the roads in the neighborhood, the civic association would like to have a moratorium imposed on new development until better and safer access routes to Liberty Road are built. At the intersection of Linton and Liberty roads, there have been a number of accidents involving overturned vehicles and severe injuries. Adding more traffic, the civic association correctly points out, will only increase the likelihood of additional accidents.
To its credit, the Linton Springs Civic Association has not taken the obstructionist position of opposing all development in the area. Instead, the organization is asking the county to consider alternative, and better, ways of handling the traffic created by the Belt Farm development. It has suggested realigning Bartholow Road along the east side of the development with a new intersection at Liberty Road. This proposal is certainly worthy of serious consideration, particularly since county transportation planners have entertained the same idea.
The most serious impediment may turn out to be the cost. While the developers are responsible for building the roads within the subdivision and those servicing it, construction of a realigned Bartholow Road may be too costly for Belt Farm developers. The civic association has written to Ron Canton and Jack Cooper, the Belt Farm developers, suggesting they pay for some of the realignment costs. The developers have yet to respond.
In the meantime, the Planning and Zoning Commission should hold off any decisions on this development until there is a plan for handling the additional traffic in this area.