Land-use panel urges preservation; Committee members like 'way things are'


All new major subdivision developments in the Shady Side and Deale area would have to construct a community well and water distribution system rather than drilling into the well-used Aquia aquifer.

Any new businesses in Shady Side would have to be on land already zoned commercial. Agricultural land should be rezoned to lower its chances of being developed into residential property.

These are just some of the recommendations from the Deale/Shady Side Small Area Planning Committee's land-use and zoning group to guide the area for the next 20 years.

On Tuesday night, the subcommittee discussed its report, which is based on research and comments from the community, the last of the first round of presentations.

"The general theme is that the community likes they way things are," said M. L. Faunce, a committee member.

One of 16 in the county, the committee was formed in March to draw up a development blue- print that will guide land-use and zoning policies in the Deale-Shady Side-Churchton-Galesville-West River area. The plan will go through several revisions before being presented to Anne Arundel County Council and planning and advisory board.

Vivian Marsh, a long-range planner for the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement, said subcommittees will present their reports again, culminating in an overall rough draft completed in December.

The draft will then be circulated throughout his department for more comments.

Marsh said the committee will hold its second public forum by May 1 to present the plan and ask for comment. The first forum was held in May.

"The general public will see the first draft of the plan and have time to respond," Marsh said.

The final report will be presented to the county by July, Marsh said.

Six small-area planning committees have submitted their drafts to the county, and four others will begin the process next year.

The Shady Side/Deale committee is in a group of six committees that were formed in March.

"Virtually all six of us are in the same place," Marsh said. "We're moving to the end of our recommendation stage."

The Shady Side/Deale committee broke into five subcommittees: land use and zoning, environment, economic development, community facilities and transportation.

Through their research, the land-use and zoning subcommittee members found a need to protect the area's water supply, which has been dropping 1 to 2 feet annually for 20 years.

Most residents draw from Aquia aquifer, and the committee would like it used only for single-lot construction.

To protect Shady Side's small businesses, which include two grocery stores, a gas station and restaurants, the subcommittee recommended against any new commercial zoning. Residents also have told the committee that they also would like to keep large chains from moving in.

Overall, the subcommittee found that keeping big business out and population and housing growth controlled are residents' primary concerns. The subcommittee recommended that one way to limit the residential growth of the area, where the population has increased 131 percent since 1960, is to rezone land now used for agriculture and zoned for residential development so that it will remain farmland.

Said Faunce: "The hardest part of this has been hammering out our vision and making it succinct."

The environment and transportation subcommittees will start the second round of report presentations at 5: 30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Galesville Community Center. The meetings are open to the public.

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