County planners promise builders streamlined environmental rules


Carroll planners promise that local builders won't face many new rules under a state requirement that counties without charter government must add protection for environmentally sensitive areas to their comprehensive plans.

"We're already doing a lot to protect the environment, and we're not anticipating a lot of changes in the regulations," comprehensive planner Brenda Dinne told the Carroll chapter of the Home Builders Association of Maryland on Thursday night.

K. Marlene Conaway, assistant county planning director, explained that Carroll, a county without a charter, draws its planning and zoning authority from state law.

A law enacted in the 1992 General Assembly session requires such counties to amend their comprehensive plans to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

Ms. Dinne said the county government is working on ways to streamline the subdivision review process, which also is a requirement of the Maryland law.

"I guess you don't think it's streamlined right now," she said, drawing a laugh from the approximately 50 builders who attended the meeting.

Ms. Dinne outlined goals that included:

* Protecting and maintaining environmental resources by safeguarding water quality, preserving and improving wildlife corridors, and mapping environmental resource areas so that planners can identify them when developers submit their subdivision plans tothe county.

* Coordinating county and town efforts to protect environmental resources.

* Reducing adverse effects of development on environmental resources by barring housing construction near streams and community water supply wells, and adopting design guidelines for construction.

Ms. Conaway told builders the construction guidelines would not XTC be regulations.

"We're not going to stop the creativity of our engineers," she said.

She added that the county government will work with town representatives on standardized rules. She said, as an example, that the county defines a steep slope as a 25 percent grade, whereas the town of Mount Airy defines it as 30 percent.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad