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Planning panel defers vote on setting developers' pace


The Carroll County Planning Commission put off a decision yesterday on whether to allow developers to build houses as fast as they choose.

The commission had been scheduled to vote in November on whether to eliminate the rule that limits the number of lots developers can record to 25 per calendar quarter. The decision was postponed until this month, after newly appointed commission member Robert H. Lennon said he needed more information.

Commission members concerned about whether the state will finance new schools decided yesterday that to eliminate restrictions on the pace of subdivisions would send the wrong message. The county school system is appealing a state agency's preliminary decision not to allocate money for the planned Oklahoma Road Middle School. The school is to relieve crowding at Sykesville Middle School.

The final decision on state aid will be made by the Board of Public Works -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and State Treasurer Lucille B. Maurer -- next spring.

Planning commission member Zeno Fisher Jr. cautioned his colleagues, "If we go ahead and do something like this now, it might send the wrong impression, that we don't care about [schools]."

Mr. Lennon said yesterday that he had reviewed comments from staff members and home builders, but would still like more information. He declined to say whether he believes the 25-lot-per-quarter rule should be abandoned.

Carroll builders have urged the commission to eliminate the rule.

Developer Martin K. P. Hill, president of Masonry Contractors, told the commission last month that abolishing the rule would not leave the county without tools to control growth. If facilities cannot keep pace with development, the commission can impose a moratorium, he said.

The commission agreed to delay its vote until February.

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