Commissioners approve decreasing Board of Zoning Appeals hearing newspaper ads from 2 to 1

Carroll County Times

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners decided to decrease the number of advertisements required for Board of Zoning Appeals hearings on Tuesday.

The decision comes from a recommendation from the county attorney earlier this year to remove the requirement, as Carroll requires BZA notices be published in newspaper advertisements twice before hearings — in addition to mailing the notice to all adjoining property owners, posting a notice of the hearing on the property, and posting the notice in the county office building and on its website — and the state does not.

After discussing the possibility of reducing the number of newspaper advertisements from two to one or removing them all together and a public hearing, commissioners agreed they wanted to keep at least one.

“Well you know, one of the problems we’ve had with land use, planning, development and zoning,” Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, said, “it has to do with communications with the public. And in marketing there are terms known as ‘push marketing’ and ‘pull marketing.’

“Push marketing is when you’re driving down the road and you see it whether you want to or not,” he said. “Pull marketing is when you have to actually take action to look for something. I have concerns that going to strictly online advertisements relies too much on pull marketing.”

Because of this, Rothschild said he felt that the county should keep at least one advertisement in the newspaper.

“We have thousands and thousands of citizens, especially senior citizens, who may never know about these things unless we push it down to them,” he said.

Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, agreed, but said he was concerned with claims that certain districts don’t have enough internet access.

He also said if one advertisement remains, however, maybe the county could consider other news outlets instead of the Carroll County Times, as errors in ads were among the main concerns that led County Attorney Tim Burke to bring his recommendation to the board.

To Howard’s comment, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, acknowledged he was the BOCC member most concerned with internet access.

“I do have a large amount of folks who can’t get internet in my district,” Wantz said, “and I also have a good aging population out there, that interestingly enough have said to me over the last couple weeks, ‘I guess we are old school because I still like to sit with the paper in my hand and have a cup of coffee in the morning.’

“Those people do still look at those things,” he said. “I think we should do this in phases: drop it to one notice. I think that reaches a happy medium and gets folks the opportunity to see it in the paper, if that’s what they choose to do.”

When District 2 Republican Commissioner Richard Weaver and District 3 Republican Commissioner Dennis Frazier agreed, they put the subject to a vote — and it was decided 5-0 to decrease the number of advertisements from two to one.

jennifer.turiano@carrollcountytimes.com

443-488-0369

twitter.com/jturianoCCT

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