The County Council voted unanimously last night to designate as scenic 60 rural roads in the county, adopting a measure that will restrict altering the roads for virtually any purpose but to improve safety.
"My hope is that this will help preserve scenic roads, particularly in the east [county] where there are so few left," said Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-District 1. "This balances the needs for safety, growth and the heritage of the county."
Council members Darrel Drown, R-2nd District, and Charles C. Feaga, R-5th District, expressed reservations about the measure.
"I've always had a problem with a scenic roads bill," said Mr. dTC Feaga. "I just hope that we don't start requiring what type of
crops you have to have in your fields or what trees you can plant along these roads."
Among its provisions, the resolution:
* Prohibits widening or straightening a road unless it is determined that alterations are needed to improve driving safety.
* Requires new utility equipment, such as cable television boxes, to be shielded from sight by a berm, depression or vegetation.
* Prohibits new signs unless they are for traffic safety.
* Limits tree trimming and removal to those that hinder the sight distances on a road or present another safety problem.
* Limits new street light installation to the minimum height possible for the location.
* Requires bridge and wall repairs along protected roads to be made with materials that match existing materials.
The council voted 3-2 to allow for pull-off areas to be built on protected roads when requested by residents or the county Board of Education.
Councilman Paul R. Farragut, D-District 4, who proposed that such areas be allowed, said they may be needed on some roads by school bus drivers and farmers driving farm equipment.
While a majority of the roads in the measure are in the western county, there are some in the heavily developed east county such as Main Street and 12 other roads in the Ellicott City Historic District.
Examples of other roads protected by last night's vote:
* Harding Road, a 1.7-mile stretch that runs along the shoreline of Rocky Gorge Reservoir.
* Trotter Road, a 2.1-mile thoroughfare that runs along a heavily wooded stream valley.