One of the coldest nights in recent weeks brought out some polar opposites in Glen Burnie.
While 50 middle-aged and elderly residents discussed zoning and traffic problems Tuesday night, a dozen shivering Grateful Dead fans camped out on the sidewalk a block away.
Wrapped in blankets and huddled around kerosene heaters, the loyal fans spent the night waiting in line for tickets to the band's four-day stop at the Capital Center in March.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Crain Highway, Glen Burnie Improvement Association memberslearned that the town center was expanded during the county's last comprehensive rezoning.
County planners included at least 12 more city blocks in the town center that previously were zoned residential and light commercial when they revised the map of Glen Burnie in 1989.
The change escaped the notice of residents, who had fought to preserve Central Avenue's residential zoning several years ago, said Charles J. Ayres Jr., a Glen Burnie attorney who handles legal matters for the civic association. Ayres said the association opposed rezoning the first blocks of Central Avenue and property along Crain Highwaybecause denser development is permitted in town centers.
"This means they can now put office buildings, retail, even a hotel in this area," said Ayres. He noted that the expanded town center now includesthe fire hall, the GBIA headquarters on Crain Highway and a triangular park owned by the association.
Ayres and other association members discovered the change a few weeks ago, after a Central Avenue resident called the county Office of Zoning and Planning to discuss installing stop signs on the street. Central Avenue residents want to addtwo stop signs to slow speeding and prevent motorists from using the street as a shortcut to Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
GBIA representatives plan to meet today with county officials to oppose the expanded town center. Planners involved in the comprehensive rezoning could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The civic group also approved sending a letter to the county, State Highway Administration and Mass Transit Administration objecting to commercial development next to a planned Park 'N Ride station on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
Residents have asked the county and state agencies to install
sidewalks, a pedestrian bridge and other improvements while widening Dorsey Road and building a new Interstate 97 interchange.
"We're very concerned about people who have to walk in that area," said Kathy DeGrange, who chairs the association's public works committee.
Construction and pedestrian safety were not the big topics of discussion down the road Tuesday night. For the Grateful Dead followers, the only issue was getting a good seat.
After waiting 36 hours, the firstfans left clutching their tickets at noon yesterday. A 22-year-old Kent Island resident, who identified himself only as Keith, said he nearly froze, but considered the seats worth the price.
"I'd only dothis for the Dead or a metal band," he said. "It was incredibly cold."