Elkridge Rezoning Deserves Scrutiny

Readers Write

September 26, 1990

From: James M. Holway

Ellicott City

I have serious concerns about the content of zoning board Case 877 and the manner is which it was handled.

Zoning board Case 877 involved a petition to rezone about 350 acres of land in the greater Elkridge area from -acre residential to:

a) 160 acres for a planned employment center

b) 185.6 acres for residential single-cluster homes

c) 6 acres for B2 business uses

The case included a provision for the county to receive 187.18 acres for a public golf course.

I indicated that the unanimous decision (Shane Pendergrass, Angela Beltram, Paul Farragut, Charles Feaga, Vernon Gray -- all of the Zoning Board members) to rezone the Elkridge property had raised serious questions in my mind.

Therefore, I decided to check and see what the developer and petitioner, the 100 Investment Limited Partnership, really was. I checked the zoning case file and found that the zoning board chairman did not have the identity of the petitioners entered into the written record. I then checked the clerk of the court's record (on corporations doing business in the county). Finding nothing, it was then necessary to check the state attorney general's office records (corporate charter documents).

I found that the partners consisted of five other limited partnerships and corporations. I compared this information with the public records of (financial contributions) filed by the incumbent candidates for the county council.

I have no specific problem with any funds received by members of the county council except as it may appear to be associated with their responsibilities in the field of zoning.

In this capacity, they do not sit as legislators. I think they are serving in a judicial capacity where their actions may not be taken to referendum by the citizens, and a judicial record must be kept. Everything must be on public record.

The public (campaign finance) records show that numerous contributions have been accepted from the petitioners and legal firms involved in zoning board Case 877 by the following members of the county council:

1. Shane Pendergrass, D-1st

2. Vernon Gray, D-3rd

3. Charles Feaga, R-5th

4. Paul Farragut, D-4th

I believe that the county council members recognize the association between the names of the contributors and any zoning cases they may have participated in during their four years in office.

I firmly believe that the Elkridge community should take this case to court and find new representatives who will look out for Elkridge in the county government.

I believe that the press should unlock any connections between 1990 political campaign contributions an the large number of firms, limited partnerships and corporations that were involved in petitions to rezone land in Howard County.

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