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Carroll County commission to set stage for future development

Businesses located or planning to locate in Carroll County, Maryland, may be interested to know about the latest talks among that county's planning commission. The commission is in the process of rewriting its "2010 Carroll County Master Plan" for land use and zoning, but first they must determine the county's role in those actions.

The planning commission admits it's unclear about its role in designating residential, industrial and commercial land use, as well as conservation, and the plan can't move forward until that determination is made. The county could choose to either designate future land use now or simply identify areas that could be redesignated in the future. Designating the area's various land uses now will allow commissioners to identify areas that could be rezoned in future years. Unlike rezoning property, which could result in changing zones without requiring consent from property owners, redesignating land use would have no effect on owners' property or its value.

Many planning commissioners oppose rezoning properties without owners' consent, but what about resdesignating the land without telling them? Furthermore, which areas should be set aside for conservation? To help the commission decide, it's ordered a land suitability analysis model, which promises to determine which areas suit specific types of land use. The commissioners are expected to discuss the model next month.

The commission has been reviewing the master plan page by page and making changes since last September, incorporating additional requests by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. The speed of the planning commission's decision making may frustrate some commercial real estate owners and developers, but it shows that its members are not taking their decisions lightly. Once the revised master plan is complete, businesses and real estate developers will at least have a clear, comprehensive idea of what can or won't be built there.

Source: Carroll County Times, "Board to debate land use designation," Christian Alexandersen, Aug. 1, 2012

· Our firm handles a wide variety of zoning and land use issues. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Annapolis land use page.

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