Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Master plan update meetings continue

Commission looks at housekeeping items in Sykesville document

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Sykesville’s Planning Commission wants to make sure even the most basic data in the town’s master plan is updated.

Data, demographics and references to old projects should be updated or examined closely, said Commission Chairman Stephen Enslow at Monday’s master plan workshop at the Town House in Sykesville.

The town is required to update its plan every six years, said Town Manager Matt Candland. The last update was in 2002.

Master plans dictate how the town grows, shapes its budget and handles transportation, services and its mission, he said.

The commission examined every part of Sykesville as well as the Warfield area at Monday’s meeting, which was attended by two business owners and the media.

Downtown revitalization and historic preservation will be considered at the March and April meetings.

Candland said he received updated demographic data from the county and those numbers will be plugged into the plan.

‘‘The demographic data is going to tell us what we already know—that the town hasn’t really grown all that much in the last six years,” he said.

South Branch Park is not included in the plan and Candland thought it should be mentioned.

South Branch Park, where Sykesville was founded, is outside town limits on the Howard County side. The town is redeveloping it in partnership with Howard County for recreational use.

One piece of property, deemed the ‘‘Sykesville mystery” by Candland or the ‘‘Sykesville Bermuda Triangle” by Commission liaison Debby Ellis, could be annexed in the future.

The pie-piece shaped property on the town’s southwestern side bordering the Patapsco River is not part of town limits and nobody really knows why, Candland said.

‘‘We haven’t had the time or the resources to research this whole thing,” he said.

To his knowledge, no buildings are located in that area.

Old town

The planned Raincliffe housing development on Raincliffe and Sykesville Roads could create an issue with traffic and demands for services across the street on Sandosky Road, Enlsow said.

When Raincliffe and Warfield Center is up and running, the increased traffic from workers and residents could put a strain on the intersection, Enslow said. Land developers could redevelop the existing parcels and might build something unattractive if not closely supervised by the town, he said.

Warfield Center is a redevelopment project involving a partnership between Sykesville, Carroll County, the state and private parties to redevelop the 42 acres at the old site of Springfield Hospital Center.

A cluster of businesses sit on Sandosky Road: a High’s convenience store, a Shell gas station, Big Belly Deli, a mission store, liquor store, printing shop and car repair shop.

Town officials said no to expanding commercial development along the road into the neighborhoods during the last update, Candland said.

Candland said the town should have design standards for commercial developments outside the historic district.

‘‘That’s becoming more and more standard all over the country where you establish some minimal design standards,” he said.


The Warfield zone includes the Springfield Hospital Center, Maryland Police Training Commission and Academy, Warfield Park and the Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center.

Cafritz Interests LLC of Washington, D.C. is negotiating a sublease for the Warfield Center and will find businesses to locate there.

Enslow questioned whether senior housing or any mention of housing should be kept in the plan.

Candland said the 1998 master plan included having limited mixed-use at Warfield.

‘‘The town always felt that having a mixed use would enhance the property,” he said.

However, the county expressed concern about an increase of population in children, he said, so the town decided not to pursue housing at the property.

Candland suggested leaving the option in the plan in case feelings change in the future.

Current zoning does not allow housing at Warfield, he said.

The town only controls the southern half of the property, Candland said, which includes Warfield Park and the Warfield Center. The northern end is controlled by the state and EMA Properties owns land on the western edge for a planned expansion of Fairhaven retirement community.

The commission will meet next at 7 p.m. on March 3 at the Town House, 7547 Main St.