Citizens Report: County Commissioner Meeting – Feb 16, 2023
Here are the top take-a-ways from the county commissioner meeting:
“We look at student safety from door to door.” Sheriff Jim DeWees
Sheriff DeWees gave an in-depth presentation to the commissioners on the Bus Patrol Program, which is a collaboration between CCPS and the Sheriff’s department. The program features technology for all 307 buses in the school fleet including the stop arm, multiple cameras, GPS Network for fleet tracking and two way communication capabilities. The last two features have contributed immensely to the safety and communication of the bus system. In the past, school administrators had to rely on cell phones for spotty communication with bus drivers and the ability to find a specific bus was challenging. Now communication is immediate and can be used to get buses to a school or divert buses away from schools in any kind of situation. One example where this was used was the dangerous situation in Taneytown last week when school administrators relied upon this technology to keep students safe at a nearby school.
Public hearing for a piecemeal rezoning request / #228 Eldersburg Investors II, LLC
During a public hearing the commissioners heard a request to rezone four parcels of land totaling 12.4757 acres, 1 mile east of the MD 26 and Klees Mill intersection and across Liberty Rd from Liberty Exchange. The request is to change the zoning from C-2 commercial medium to C-3 commercial high due to what the applicant believes was a mistake in current zoning and a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood. The changes are in regards to roads, rezoning, water/sewer and development. According to the applicant, “changing the public sewer service status of a property is a substantial change in the character of the property, rendering it a different animal in the neighborhood”.
The planning and zoning commission gave it a unanimous favorable recommendation because in their opinion, the water and sewer amendment constituted a change.
County staff disagreed that a mistake was made, however they believed there had been a change in the character of the neighborhood due to all four parcels coming under common ownership and therefore able to accommodate the necessary acreage and intensity that a C-3 zone allows. Also because the petitioned area is currently going through an amendment that would bring it into the priority service category for both water and sewer which would allow for the possible development.
Two nearby residents gave public comments opposing the rezoning as well as the development of the parcels.
The county commissioners voted 5-0 to close the public hearing and make a decision regarding the zoning on March 9, 2023.
A Possible Nuisance Establishment Ordinance was proposed by Commissioner Gordon. The ordinance would address a measurable uptick in repeated calls for service by law enforcement to certain establishments. Reasons for the service calls include narcotics distribution, theft and overdoses, among others, and require significant resources. It would give the local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors another tool to address these businesses that turn a blind eye and local managements that are hindered by corporate mandates. Both Commissioners Guerin and Vigliotti voiced their support and the motion to allow the county attorney to meet with the sheriff and state’s attorney’s offices to discuss a possible Nuisance Establishment Ordinance passed 4-0. Commissioner Rothstein was absent.