Residents Blast Dividing Severna Park

September 19, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

About 200 east Severna Park residents descended on a public hearing at the Arundel Center to protest redistricting that would pull them from Severna Park and lumps them with Pasadena.

"We are appalled bythe proposed splitting up of Severna Park," said Peter Cormier, the first of some 20 area residents who addressed the council last night.

While the redistricting will not affect school districts, ZIP codes or zoning, community leaders from Berrywood, Magothy Forest and Stewart's Landing believe the Charter Revision Commission's recommendation would be the first step toward cutting them off from the social and cultural life they have been a part of for more than 40 years.

"We see this as the first step in breaking us apart, because there istalk about school redistricting. If we're not represented by someonefrom this area, then who are we going to for help?" Roy Armiger, president of the Magothy Forest Association, asked before the hearing. "Why should our interests be linked with Pasadena's when we're not socially or economically or in any other way connected with them?"

Because Republican Diane Evans' 5th Council District grew faster than any other in the county during the past decade, about 7,000 residents will be shifted to another district to equalize populations in CountyCouncil districts. District 5 is comprised of Severna Park, the Broadneck peninsula and Shipley's Choice.

"If you've got to cut back on the district, cut back from the extremities, not the heart. We havealways been at the heart of Severna Park," said Maggie Miller of Magothy Forest.

At Sept. 10's Greater Severna Park Council meeting, Tom Anderson of the county's Charter Review Commission said east Severna Park was drawn out of the district because it was the least obtrusive proposal. Two other options either divided Shipley's Choice or broke off the lower end of Broadneck and mixing it with Annapolis.

The Shipley's Choice option, he said, was dismissed because the northwest area of Severna Park has already suffered by having East-West Boulevard approved by the county over community objection. The Broadneckoption, which would affect the area south of Route 50, including Amberly, Beachwood and St. Margaret's,was unpopular because it would diminish the percentage of minorities in Maureen Lamb's 6th District.

Lower Broadneck Federation president Margarett Whilden said her group's executive committee unanimously opposes plans to merge a part of their district into Annapolis.

"I'm not saying east Severna Park should be separated, but we believe (shifting Broadneck) would be geographically and historically unwise. We are more akin and attuned to the other precincts in the Broadneck area," Whilden said.

Steve Finlayson, public affairs chairman for the Shipley's Choice Homeowner's Association, said his group strongly opposes dividing their community.

But the Millersville/Severn Run Association, of which he also isa member, does support a referendum proposal to create a new, nine-district council that would divide Severna Park in three.

The Greater Severna Park Council and SPARC -- the newly formed Severna Park Action Redistricting Coalition, made up mostly of people from east Severna Park -- both oppose the nine-district plan.

That proposal alsowould pull east Severna Park into another district.

The Charter Revision Commission is expected to submit its final redistricting proposal to the County Council soon.

Mostly likely, that recommendation will be a nine-district plan, with a seven-district backup in case it is rejected by county voters through referendum.

The nine-member redistricting proposal, if approved by the council or supported by a petition of 10,000 county voters, would appear on the November 1992general election ballot.

Reporter Paul Shread contributed to thisstory.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.