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New limits on housing are imposed in Carroll

Noting crowded schools in seven districts in northeastern and southern Carroll County, the county commissioners banned yesterday new residential development in both areas until the problems are alleviated.

Two commissioners voted to stop reserving new building permits for developers in Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy and the Freedom area - which includes Eldersburg and Sykesville - based on a recommendation from county planners.

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The measure would prohibit new developments in areas where schools are crowded and water supplies insufficient, county planners told Commissioners Dean L. Minnich and Perry L. Jones Jr. before they voted. Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge was out of town for a conference.

The commissioners' action comes a week before the county's yearlong freeze on residential growth expires. The freeze halted the processing of all development proposals, totaling 1,700 lots, while the county re-evaluated its growth laws.

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"This is one step," said county Planning Director Steven C. Horn. "This is to say, 'We don't have the capacity at schools ... to open the door to new houses.'"

Under stricter growth rules adopted in April, the commissioners can curb development by placing limits on the number of homes built if schools, roads, utilities or emergency services are not sufficient.

The county's new adequate public facilities law also calls for developers to meet tighter standards to prove that their projects won't strain schools, roads, police services and water supplies.


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