Carroll Report Commissioners Eldersburg Featured

Commissioners Approve Eldersburg Business Park Rezone; Guerin Opposes, Rothstein Abstains

Nearby residents are unhappy, but there’s a silver lining.

The Carroll County Commissioners voted in favor of a commercial rezoning case involving mega developer St. John Properties, Inc., who plans to build a “high intensity” business park across the street from Liberty Exchange in Eldersburg.  

The property originally consisted of 4 separate residential parcels, and over time was combined and rezoned as C-2 “medium intensity” commercial before being acquired by St. John.  The case brought forward to the commissioners was to rezone the combined C-2 parcel to C-3 “high intensity” on the basis that the consolidated ownership of the properties, and the availability of improved infrastructure, changed the nature of the property.

District 4 Commissioner Mike Guerin opposed the rezoning, siding with residents and expressing concerns with the history behind the residential-to-commercial rezoning.   “The issue of rezoning anything in the county should not be taken lightly.  If we start rezoning property, then we get ourselves into trouble.”

District 1 Commissioner Joe Vigglioti voted in favor of the rezone, acknowledging that the property is already zoned commercial and that development will happen regardless, but requested that “things like traffic…and the church next door” be considered.

The most uneventful yet notable vote was District 5 Commissioner Ed Rothstein abstaining from the decision.  His abstention is likely the result of public attention brought to his political contributions from, St. John Properties by local journalist Scott Ewart of the Carroll County Observer, and Rothstein’s subsequent public comments and business ties to the commercial developer highlighted by Maryland Muckraker and Informed Carroll County.  While there was no proven conflict of interest, a vote would have given the appearance of impropriety.

The move by Rothstein was viewed by the community as a positive step towards transparency and gaining public trust.  Kate Maerten, former commissioner candidate who ran against Rothstein in the 2022 primaries, commended his decision.  

“Abstaining from a vote may seem like it’s not a big deal, but it is, and it shows that he puts the community first.  The community wins, but Ed wins too.” said Maerten.  

Presentation slides given by the Planning & Zoning to the commissioners outlining the differences between C-2 and C-3 commercial zoning.

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