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Carroll panel delays action on growth outline


The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission yesterday stalled a proposal that would guide growth in the southwest part of the county.

"I think this is a big enough decision that it will affect the county for a long time," said Barbara J. Dixon, chair of the five-member commission.

Ms. Dixon was among three members who voted against placing the plan on a 60-day referral schedule, in which the proposed master plan would be reviewed by state, federal and county agencies.

Putting the plan on a 60-day referral program would not have been an endorsement of the proposed master plan, as some commission members maintained, county officials said.

The commission will vote on the referral schedule at its August meeting. After the 60-day referral, the planning commission would hold a public hearing before making a recommendation to Carroll's commissioners.

The commissioners have said they want to take action on the master plan by the end of the year.

But Carroll planner Gregg R. Horner said the delay means the master plan won't be before the commissioners for final action until early 1994.

Commission members David Duree and Dennis Bowman voted against the referral schedule because of their concerns about the plan's impact on the county and because of financial implications. The proposed plan calls for a variety of measures to finance recreation, road and other improvements, such as water and sewer lines and new schools.

The plan, drafted by county planners and a citizens advisory committee, is aimed at guiding growth in an area bounded by routes 97 and 26, and the Frederick and Howard County borders.

The proposal does not include the Mount Airy community planning area, which has its own master plan.

"I don't know how much they'll accomplish in 30 days," Florence Breitenother, a member of the citizens advisory committee, said about the planning commission's decision. "We've been working this for almost two years."

Mr. Duree said there may be other options to consider for land use in southwest Carroll, but he did not specify what they might be.

Two options are outlined in the proposed master plan.

Plan A would allow developers to build a village in return for preserving farmland elsewhere in the county. Planners envision an 1,100-acre village modeled after Carroll's traditional towns in the area of Route 97 and Eden Mill Road.

The village would have 2,640 homes clustered on three-quarters of the property, with the rest left as open space.

Plan B would replace the village concept with rural-residential zoning. Developers would have the same options provided by Plan A, but would be allowed to buy development rights from other areas of the county and use them to build twice as many houses as would normally be allowed in southwestern Carroll.

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