CALL TO ACTION: On Thursday, September 21 at 7:00 pm, The Carroll County Board of County Commissioners is holding a Town Hall Meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to give feedback regarding future Land uses, development, housing, roads, traffic, safety and school impacts for the Freedom Area Masterplan. This meeting is critical not only for the Freedom Area but it is indicative of how other unincorporated parts of the county may also be impacted in the near future.
TO DO NOW: Call upon friends and neighbors and bring them to attend this important meeting, at the South Carroll Senior Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Rd., Eldersburg, MD 21784. Your help, simply by attending, will tell the commissioners that we are serious; And that we need a voice and we need to be listened to by our government. Planning should make life better, not more problematic for residents and those traveling through and those working here. Please support South Carroll in this effort.
BACKGROUND: All politics are local and you can't get any more local than your own backyard. For over two years the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission along with County Planning staff have been revising the 2001 Freedom Area Masterplan. Over 1200 parcels of land are being impacted by proposed changes in land use. For years a fight against placing commercial property within residential zones and increased densities for housing, forcing overcrowded main thoroughfares and unsafe secondary roads, has occurred in the South Carroll Area. Very little has been done on behalf of the existing residents and business stakeholders to actually “plan” the development and strengthen the infrastructure in reasonable fashion. The existing plan has been ignored. Behind the scenes exceptions have been numerous. And Zoning ordinance updates have been neglected for decades. The Citizens of the area are saying: ENOUGH!! It is time for accountability. Support and help from our neighbors to effectively communicate to the commissioners the concerns listed below is requested.
What Can You Do?
1.Attend the meeting with your County Commissioners on September 21st., at 7 pm. At the South Carroll Senior Center, 5928 Mineral Hill Rd., Eldersburg, MD 21784.
2.Communicate with your neighbors and encourage them to become educated about the Freedom Land Use Plan and join you at the September 21st meeting.
3.Speak out at public hearings. Silence is often interpreted by the county as agreement with the status quo.
4.Write to your Commissioners and let them know your thoughts. Encourage them to:
—Re-affirm the 2001 Plan Goals, which had broad community support.
—Revise the 2001 Plan to reflect only the actual changes that are currently on the ground.
—Request the modernization and updates to zoning regulations, codes and ordinances PRIORto adopting any new, major changes in land use or increases in densities.
—Assemble a Freedom District Advisory Committee to review the Goals and Objectives of the Land Use Plan and make recommendations accordingly.
—Place representatives who live in the Freedom District on the Planning Commission.
—Provide rationale and justification for increases in densities and land use changes.
—Provide an implementation plan that states the investments the county will make to support approved increases in densities and land use changes.
About the Freedom Land Use Plan:
➢By State Mandate, the county must review the County Land Use Plan every 10 years
➢The Freedom Plan has been revised and updated only twice since its initial inception in 1964. (1977 & 2001).
➢Both previous revisions were driven by the community and reflected the vision of citizens living within the Freedom District, as recommended by State Procedures.
The Current-Proposed Revised Freedom Land Use Plan:
➢Was approved by the 8 members of the Planning Commission, and only 1 of the members lives in the Freedom District and he has resigned his seat, just after the approval of the plan was sent to the County Commissioners.
➢Was recommended by the Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission for approval to theBoard of CountyCommissioners.
➢The Commissioners must either approve the plan as submitted, make changes to the plan, send it back to the Planning Commission, or reaffirm the 2001 plan.
➢If the County Commissioners do nothing within the allotted 90 day review period, the current proposed plan is adopted.
The Proposed FLUP:
–Makes land use changes to over 1200 parcels and these are very difficult to follow on the maps or lists provided; making it nearly impossible for citizens to understand.
–Slates many large, undeveloped parcels for higher densities and/or commercial use which in many cases is incompatible with the character of surrounding properties
–Does not adequately address how these increased uses (both residential and commercial) will impact area services.
–Neglects to provide an implementation plan for area infrastructure improvements to support the densities.
–Does not offer an assessment of how the county is doing in meeting the goals and uses outlined in the 2001 plan.
–Changes the use of public use facilities (schools, libraries, senior centers, etc.) making it easier for the county to close facilities without community consent.
What are Freedom District Citizens Involved in this Process Supporting?
— True planned growth. We acknowledge growth will occur. But, it needs to be supported by county investment and sustainable development.
— The Process should always start with The Citizens.
—The proposed FLUP is reflective of:
*County Staff Members that do not reside in the Freedom District
*A Planning Commission that does not reside in the Freedom District
*Developers and Individual Land Owners (many of whom do not live in the Freedom District) working in partnership with county staff and proposing development that is out of character and incompatible with existing adjacent uses.
Facebook @ Freedom District Citizens Advisory Council