OFFICIAL CARROLL CAN #CallToAction, #LocalCallToAction for 5/23/17
CALL TO ACTION: Save our Public Schools, Keep our Roads Safe and Defend Quality of Life for Carroll County. Give your feedback to the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission and to the Carroll County Commissioners regarding the revised updates to the Freedom Area Comprehensive Masterplan.
OVERVIEW: In January of 2016, the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission began the State mandated review of the Freedom Area Comprehensive Masterplan. --- A Comprehensive Masterplan Plan deals with every aspect of the community : roads, traffic, schools, business, economic development, fire/rescue services, jobs, water/sewer, development, etc. These issues affect us all - old/young, families with children and those without; senior citizens and young adults.--- However, rather than update the existing plan, it has been virtually thrown out and replaced with the newly proposed Masterplan. It is a 242 page Map and Text document. And it is the first step dictating how property may be used. The Zoning Codes and Ordinances are the set of regulations/rules for what specifically is allowed or NOT allowed on a given property.
If the proposed plan is adopted, hundreds of parcels and thousands of people will be affected. More than 1200 properties are currently proposed to change Land Use with new zoning to follow. Some changes are simply to be consistent with what exists on the ground; And some changes will be to entirely new use and intensity categories. Most notably, the proposed plan revealed a complete disdain and lack of understanding for public spaces. This is true particularly for Public Schools. It has been ferreted out that every public school property in the county now has its underlying Land Use changed from Conservation/Public to various uses including Industrial, High Intensity Commercial, Medium Intensity Commercial or Residential. Not one property retains its public school use capabilities . This change of use is staggering. It means that if for any reason any school is closed, the property underneath that school, cannot be used in a public way, but it can be sold to the highest bidder for its new use. This is a critical problem for the county. But it will be most critical in areas where there are limited parcels on which to build. In turn this means exorbitant future and present costs to taxpayers. And it means an end to neighborhood schools; re-mapping and re-districting will be a given.
Additionally, a large High intensity commercial designation is being proposed for the heart of established residential neighborhoods with no real justification to do so. Roads are also planned to push traffic through calm, quiet residential neighborhoods. All while denying conventional wisdom and road studies indicating this is a poor design for traffic flow.
In effect the plan is shortsighted and a disaster for the near future. The process has also been a problem.
It has been BACKWARDS. For example, knowing what is or isn't allowed on a property BEFORE it is designated, is essential. In Carroll, The Codes and Ordinances have not been updated for over 15 years. These should be updated first; Then the Land Use designations have meaning. Also it should be known/discovered at the outset how the plan will be implemented. What are the priorities? How much will changes cost in terms of infrastructure? Lastly, if the county commissioners know what the citizens want And what is possible, they can help PLAN and SHAPE THAT along with the department of economic development. As it is now, the answers to most of these questions are unknown. We need to Plan better. Waste less.
Finally, the public has been virtually uninformed of the entire process and when meetings have been held.
But it isn't too Late. Speak up now! Ask questions! Require answers!
The public comment period goes until June 20th, 2017. This is the last opportunity to give feedback to thePlanning and Zoning Commission. Once they complete the open comment period, the decision goes to the County Commissioners for discussions and a vote.
- Attend the public comment meetings and ask questions. View the maps and read the text. Show up and voice your concerns about our public schools land use issue, safe roads, and safe school zones.
Two Final Events for Community Input:
Thursday, May 25, Open House with Staff to review the 2017 Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan
Times: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Place: South Carroll Senior and Community Center,
5928 Mineral Hill Rd., Eldersburg, Md 21784
This is an informal open house for the public to review the Accepted plan, review maps, and speak with staff regarding the Plan. Formal written comments will be taken, however verbal comments will not be taken at this time.
June 8, 2017 – Public Hearing on the 2017 Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan
Time: Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for speaker sign-in. Anyone wanting to testify at this public hearing must fill-in a speaker card.
Hearing: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Place: Liberty High School Schnorr Auditorium, 5855 Bartholow Rd., Sykesville, MD.
Testimony for the official public record will be taken at this meeting. Each speaker will have 3 minutes to testify on the Plan. Additional comments on the plan may be submitted in writing and must be received by June 20th.
- The process to date has not been inclusive of the population it will directly impact.
- The plan does not keep school zones and residential roads safe from through traffic.
- The plan does not coordinate the with the Town of Sykesville and their plans for infrastructure.
- The plan ignores the previously accepted Boulevard planning district and ignores decades of Masterplanning of property, community and roads.
- The Zoning regulations are overly broad and outdated by more than 15 years, leaving too many unknowns for Land Use Designation Decisions
- There must be a new Zoning Classification to protect our publicly held lands, such as schools, firehouses, police departments, Park and Rec areas, etc.
- Many proposed changes of great impact, are in direct incompatibility with existing parcels' current Land Use and zoning
- Prior to Plan Approval, acceptance etc, the public has the RIGHT to know the infrastructure impacts of the new plan(roads, water, sewer, schools etc.) and how it will be funded and implemented.
2). Email the Planning Staff, Planning and Zoning Commission and County Commissioners. Ask for a new Public-Use/Land-Use Designation to protect schools, firehouses, police departments, parks and recreation areas. Our public lands must be defended and maintained for future generations and communities.
firstname.lastname@example.org Joint mailbox for the Planning and Zoning Commission
email@example.com Lynda Eisenberg, Bureau Chief, Carroll County Planning Department
firstname.lastname@example.org Phil Hager, Director of Planning and Zoning Staff Department
email@example.com Use this email address to send an email to all 5 commissioners. (All 5 vote on the plan.)
District 1: Commissioner Wantz
District 2: Commissioner Weaver
District 3: Commissioner Frasier
District 4: Commissioner Rothschild
District 5: Commissioner Howard
3). Join the FB page dedicated to informing and discussing together all issues pertaining to Masterplan changes and updates: Freedom District Citizens Advisory Council.
Most recent CCG information for the Freedom Area Masterplan
Carroll County Information, minutes and video portals to meetings
Freedom of Information
Carroll County Times articles:
Opinion piece: Freedom Plan is Flawed, out of touch
Opinion piece: Commissioners Don't have Freedom Residents I Teresa's at Heart
Tensions Show as Freedom Plan on Land Use Discussed
Freedom Plan Marches on But Not Without Detractors
Freedom Plan Moving to Public Comment