Commissioners review firehouse, paint-ball field; No formal action taken on long-standing issues


The Board of County Commissioners, which gained two new members in December, met yesterday to review long-standing issues concerning a firehouse and paint-ball field.

The commissioners heard from New Windsor's mayor about the need for a new firehouse and from Taneytown residents who are embroiled in a dispute over a paint-ball field. No votes were held, and no formal action was taken in either case.

Taneytown farmer Albert L. Liebno Sr. spoke for nearly an hour about his concerns over a neighbor's farm where paint-ball games occur regularly. The land is part of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program, and commercial, industrial and residential uses are forbidden.

Liebno, who has been trying to get the games stopped for more than a year, said the land is being used improperly and that people are playing "cowboys and Indians and acting like hoodlums."

William Hartman, who owns the land, countered that nothing in the preservation program prohibits him from using the land for recreational use.

Hartman said parents and their children play paint ball together, as do husbands and wives. "We've had church groups come, and a judge from Owings Mills. These are not hoodlums," he said.

Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said the state attorney general's office has the final say in the matter but that he asked Liebno to consult with the commissioners because the county works in conjunction with the state on the preservation program.

The board asked few questions and did not indicate how it might decide the matter. Board President Julia Walsh Gouge -- who, along with Robin Bartlett Frazier, is a new commissioner -- said after the meeting that she had not formed an opinion. The commissioners will seek information from state officials, she said.

The board also heard from New Windsor Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. who, as he has several times in the past, asked the commissioners whether the town's firehouse can be moved to a plot of land behind the old, vacant New Windsor Middle School.

He said he doesn't want to spend money exploring other sites unnecessarily.

The county plans to house the Gateway School and library administration headquarters in the building, although nothing has been determined.

The commissioners said they couldn't make a decision on the 1 1/2-year-old issue until they confirmed how the building would be used.

Pub Date: 2/02/99

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