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Action-A-Day, Tuesday 1/30/18. Be A Watchdog: Tell The Planning and Zoning Commission Your Thoughts on Zoning Ordinances For Carroll County and Future Land Use Problems for our Public Schools.

CALL TO ACTION Attend the upcoming meeting in your district or one of the other district meetings to learn about Zoning Changes being written into the County Codes. This is also a time to give your feedback to literally bring the county ordinances into this century.

TO DO NOW 

1).   Attend one of these meetings to learn more about zoning ordinance proposals and how these will impact infrastructure, property values, land uses and many other pertinent plans for the county which impact your quality of life, property and experience as a resident of the county.  (These include land uses on existing school property!)

District 2——— February 1, 2018, North Carroll Senior Center

District 1——— February 6, 2018 Taneytown Senior Center 

District 5——— February 8, 2018, South Carroll Senior Center

District 3——— February 15, 2018, Westminster Reagan Room

District 4——— February 22, 2018, Mount Airy Senior Center

(Doors will be open to the public from 6-8p.m.)

2).  Attend the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. This meeting will be held at the county office building 125 Center Street, Room 003 beginning at 6 pm.  Item #9 and item #14 are opportunities for public input and questions. There will also be a discussion of the Freedom Area Comprehensive Masterplan that include:  

* A recap of a recent tour of some of the Freedom Area and the impacts to the Masterplan based on this tour.  

* Vision Statement Adjustments 

* Land Use Map and Definition Discussion

* Questions for the Board of County Commissioners 

* Text Amendments which will affect Comprehensive Rezoning to the Commercial and Industrial section of the code.

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 further 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.

Progress on these concerns has been slow and onerous.  The Board of County Commissioners upheld many citizen concerns last fall, and remanded the Freedom Area Comprehensive Masterplan back to Planning Commission and Planning Staff for some definition updates, a clearer Vision Statement and the optimization of updated Zoning Ordinances which impact Land Uses/Future Land Uses on existing properties. A glaring neglect however, still remains with the Future Land Use of property owned by the county on which schools are located. This may greatly impact School Board decisions and possible school closings.

What Else Can You Do? 

1.Attend the meeting in your district (or one of the other districts as listed).

2.Communicate with your neighbors and encourage them to become educated about Land Use and Zoning.

3. Read and comment on the Zoning Text Amendments.

4 .Speak at public hearings. Silence is often interpreted by the county as agreement with the status quo or the plans they are implementing. 

5. Write to your Commissioners and let them know your thoughts. 

6.  Demand protection of our finite school/educational resources. Request a Land Use category to preserve school property as public trust, so it cannot be sold for quick cash assets.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES/INFORMATION

Board of County Commissioners Meeting Wednesday, 1/31/18

http://carrollcountymd.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2410&Inline=True

Planning Department and Planning and Zoning Commission Information on Zoning Ordinance Changes

http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/compplanning/rezoning/comprezoning/

➢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. He 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 the  Board of County  Commissioners. 

➢The Commissioners sent the plan back to the Planning and Zoning Commission, for specific updates.  It will soon be returned to them for further review and then to a Public Hearing for specific comment.

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. 

Zoning, Text and Land Use Map Amendments are being discussed currently.