The Union Bridge planning commission began last night to review the initial design of a subdivision that could eventually double the population of the northwestern Carroll County town of about 1,000.
Commission members floated ideas for bicycle paths; a pathway for the planned subdivision's senior citizens to walk to a nearby supermarket; and a bed and breakfast, or a branch library, in a historic farmhouse on the property.
The panel plans to spend several months reviewing the design submitted by Manchester developer Martin K. P. Hill for the 120-acre property on the north side of Route 75. Hill has a contract to purchase the property from Towson dentist Dr. G. Jackson Phillips, who has planned to develop it for at least five years.
Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. suggested that instead of spending an estimated $400,000 to restore the farmhouse, Hill could demolish the building, "and build us a library that we really need."
Jones said Carroll County Public Library trustees have promised a branch for Union Bridge many times but other projects have received priority.
Hill said he planned to retain the farmhouse if he could find a buyer, but would demolish a nearby barn.
In response to a suggestion by commission Chairman James L. Schumacher that the developer share the cost of renovating the building for a public library, Hill replied, "Within reason."
Hill's plan differs from a concept plan approved by town government in 1996. That plan, by "new urbanism" town planner and engineer David S. Thaler, attempted to replicate the town of Union Bridge in a subdivision laid out with straight streets and houses that resembled the historic homes in the town.
Hill's planned Jackson Ridge shows major streets with houses along culs-de-sac and common driveways to be shared by four or five houses. Schumacher said Hill's design is "more a traditional Carroll County subdivision."
The common driveways brought criticism from several commission members and county planning liaison Daphne Quinn, but Hill said the driveways are "very popular and usually the first [lots] that sell."
Pub Date: 6/03/98