An unlikely coalition of developers and growth-control advocates yesterday tried to apply brakes to County Executive M. Elizabeth Bobo's proposed growth control bill.
Saying the measure is missing essential components, the presidents of two key organizations asked that a public hearing scheduled last night on the bill be delayed until they have a chance to review it more closely.
James Truby, president of the county Economic Forum, said his group had received no response from Bobo's staff, despite several requests to postpone discussion of the growth-control legislation.
Also supporting the request is the Coalition of Community Associations.
The two groups asked that the hearing on Bobo's Adequate Public Facilities Act be reset for Oct. 9.
Both groups, during a press conference they called Tuesday afternoon, said they want time to review two key documents that were released by county officials in recent days.
With only the "shell" of the bill to discuss, "the debate this evening is esoteric," said Alan Rifkin, general counsel for the Economic Forum.
However, County Administrator Buddy Roogow said much of the needed information had been released weeks ago in draft form.
The documents are actually manuals that detail how county planners will measure the overburdened schools and roads and how developers will be required to help fix them. The county released the schools manual late Friday, and the roads manual late Monday.
Although Roogow said the administration has no control over scheduling, he added that officials planned to ask the council last night to postpone its final vote on the bill for one month.
Originally, council was scheduled to vote on the bill Oct. 1, the same night resolutions adopting the two manuals are to be introduced. A public hearing on the manuals is to be set for mid-October. The final vote is scheduled for Oct. 29.
County Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, said she spoke to forum and COCA representatives Tuesday morning and told them the council had the option of tabling the bill when it meets Oct. 1.
Pendergrass said she would also allow testimony in October on the original bill, which Rifkin said might be prohibited under normal council procedure.
"We did not choose to have the manuals done separate from the legislation," Pendergrass said. "This is later than all of us would have liked it, and all of us would have liked it together."
At yesterday's press conference, COCA president Scot Hoeksema said his group and the Economic Forum agreed on the principle of adequate public facilities legislation, but they had not reached a consensus on Bobo's legislation.
Truby said the two groups "have a sufficient starting point," and will have more meetings to try to work out a shared position on the legislation.
The Economic Forum, a coalition of business leaders and civil rights and affordable housing advocates, hoped to bring community groups together to present a united front to the council and administration on growth-control legislation, said forum vice president Michael Davis.
"If they know they can appease both so-called no-growthers and so-called development interests, then they'd be crazy to pass it up," he said.
The forum had also approached another growth-control group, Howard Countians for Responsible Growth, but members of that group expressed concern that such a coalition might be perceived as political.
Members of both COCA and HCFRG had thrown their support behind growth-control primary candidates attempting to unseat Bobo, Pendergrass and Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th. All three challengers lost, however.