Westminster council set to vote on comprehensive zoning plan Proposal would allow commercial development on 130-acre Koontz farm


The Westminster Common Council is expected to adopt the city's first comprehensive plan in 13 years during its meeting tonight at City Hall.

The plan, developed during the past year by city planners and a six-member Citizens Advisory Committee, calls for rezoning several properties. Rezoning the 130-acre Koontz farm, on the city's west side, sparked the most controversy.

After two work sessions, the council gave preliminary approval for commercial development at that site across from Western Maryland College on Route 140.

The council's decision, on a 3-1 vote, makes possible zoning changes that would allow development of a 17-acre commercial center and construction of homes with quarter-acre lots on about 50 acres. According to the comprehensive plan, the rest of the Koontz farm would not be rezoned. The property would remain residential, with homes built on half-acre lots.

Developers Lawrence Macks and Martin K. P. Hill wanted a 22-acre business zone, which would have allowed a broad range of businesses -- from machine shops to hotels and restaurants. Instead, they received a smaller, more restricted commercial designation.

The site is one of three being considered as a possible "neighborhood convenience zone." The other two sites are a 1.8-acre parcel behind Westminster Veterinary Hospital and a nearby 20-acre lot. Both are along Route 31.

Although details of the new land-use designation won't be worked out unless the plan is adopted, the neighborhood convenience zones would probably ban large outlet stores and 24-hour operations, planning and zoning officials have said.

If the plan is adopted, the City of Westminster Comprehensive Plan 1998 will be in effect for six years.

Pub Date: 6/22/98

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