The grass isn't any greener on the other side, but Kenwood Farms resident Luther Cox wants to know why the roads are smoother in neighboring Green Spring Hills.
He has turned his complaint about the newly paved roads in Green Spring Hills into a crusade that shows both the grinding pace of government and how bureaucrats sometimes jump through hoops for a persistent citizen.
Kenwood Farms and Green Spring Hills are Joppa neighborhoods located between Mountain and Old Joppa roads that date from the late 1960s. Both have custom-made homes, landscaped lawns, several backyard pools and a creek meandering past Greenspring Avenue.
Greenspring isone of the roads that has moved Cox to collect 26 signatures on a petition to County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann demanding that the county repave his neighborhood's roads.
Both Greenspring and Chilberryavenues run through the two neighborhoods but are broken by a small band of woods between the two communities, leaving no direct access between Kenwood Farms and Green Spring Hills.
On the Green Spring Hills side, the two roads were part of a repaving project in March. Onthe Kenwood Farms side, none of the roads were paved.
Some Kenwood Farms residents are perplexed as to why their neighbors got their roads paved but they were left out.
"I'm not a radical or a communist or anything. You saw my house, it's $150,000," Cox says. "I'm justtrying to get what's coming to me."
Cox complains that Green Spring Hills residents live on private roads and that the county should not pay for their maintenance.
The petition says:
"We the undersigned hold that our roads should have been re-surfaced before the roads in the Greenspring development. We have been paying county taxes far longer than them.
"Statement of facts: You start now to re-surface or we will take further action to rectify our demands."
The county has sent trucks to do some patch work at Kenwood Farms within the past three weeks in about a dozen sections where traffic had left loose gravel exposed.
"That isn't anything," Cox says. "It won't last."
Cox, a retired aviation factory worker, has made a number of calls to Rehrmann and the entire County Council.
"I don't bother with bureaucrats," he says. "I go straight to the top."
Cox's complaints are full of comparisons to Chicago-style corruption. His correspondence with Harford officials includes newspaper clippings about grand jury probes there.
He has lodged other demands for repairing storm drains that flooded his front yard and correcting a blind curve on Old Joppa Road that makes leaving Kenwood Farms a dangerous challenge.
"There probably isn't a day that goes by that someone doesn'tget a call from Mr. Cox," said Rehrmann spokesman George Harrison.
A reporter's attempt to get an answer about how roads are chosen resulted in some of the same frustration Cox says he feels.
When TheHarford County Sun first inquired about the Kenwood Farms petition July 18 highway engineer chief Hudson Myers said it might take until the following Tuesday to respond.
A return call Wednesday ended in a shuffle with Harrison getting on the line. Harrison, in turn, transferred the call to Rehrmann's community relations director, Robert N.Hockaday Jr.
Hockaday said the county is negotiating with two of Cox's neighbors to correct the blind curve at Old Joppa Road. He saidwork orders have been issued for signs and hazardous-corner chevrons.
"We have really responded to this gentleman," Hockaday says. "Wehave responded on a daily basis."
Finally, William T. Baker, deputy director for engineering at the county Department of Public Works,called back Friday.
"These roads are public roads," Baker said. "Last year's (highway) evaluation showed both neighborhoods in a generic form to be equal. We felt the Green Spring Hills roads were in more need of repair than Kenwood Farms."
Baker remembers when Cox complained about his storm drains after a shower in March, when grading machines created sediment problems.
"I was directed by the county executive and took a crew off another site and they hand-dug the ditch and yes, that created a muddy mess," he says.
But, Baker says, Cox got his drains fixed.
The county's roads are due for a final evaluation next month. Then public works will decide who's next in line.