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FINKSBURG — Planning and Zoning Commission members are assuring residents that during recent public meetings on the county's controversial Pathways master plan, they have indeed heard all the criticisms — including comments directed at them for not appearing to be responsive.

The commission has generally been mum during the sessions. But that's by design, said Chairman David Brauning, who addressed the issue at the public hearing last week during the meeting on the Finksburg Corridor Plan.

"We take your comments very seriously, all of you. We have a lot of good suggestions and ideas about the Pathways plan that will change a lot," he said.

The discussion started when an audience member asked the commission what they've heard so far and what they're thinking.

"We have to see how it will work, if it will work, in the best interest in the people of Carroll County," said Brauning, a Finksburg resident.

The commission will host three work sessions to review comments on Pathways next week, he noted.

Sessions Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 will be held 6:30 to 9 p.m. in Room 003 in the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. A third session will follow the 9 a.m. regularly scheduled planning commission meeting Aug. 18.

The meetings will also be broadcast on cable channel 24.

"It's a plan. You got to start somewhere," Brauning said. "If you buy a car and walk in and buy the first car that slick salesman sells to you, it may not suit your needs."

Carroll County is mandated by the state to update its comprehensive master plan — and to hold public hearings as part of that process. But the commission held meetings over and above what is required, noted Steve Horn, director of Carroll County Department of Planning.

Once the commission makes changes to the draft, it will be sent to the Board of County Commissioners for approval.

Horn said "it will take a few months" before the plan reaches the commissioners for consideration.

Brauning said most complaints have come regarding the proposed office park and employment rezoning — primarily in Mount Airy and Taylorsville.

"We've had some good, constructive comments from some of the people from both of those areas about campus zoning, overlay zoning," he said.

Agricultural and conservation land rights concerns also have dominated comments, he said.

Brauning said many people are in favor of many components of the master plan as well.

Commission member Charles Chadwick reminded folks in Finksburg that the board is just like them — county residents who have opinions.

"I can't guarantee one way or another how we're going to come down on any given issue," he said, "but we do listen, and I think we are trying to be sensitive to citizens."

If you go

The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold Pathways work sessions, 6:30 to 9 p.m., on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11. Another session will be held after the Aug. 18 planning commission meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Those meetings will be held in Room 003 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster. Time for public comment will not be allotted.


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