Crofton Becomes Unwanted Wild Card In District Shuffling

September 27, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

Like parents shuttling an unwanted stepchild, County Council members have begun arguing about who will take care of Crofton.

On Tuesday night, the Decennial Charter Revision Commission presented the council with its plan for redrawing council district boundaries, including a change that would move Crofton outof a district with South County and into a district with West County.

"That's going to be the key factor" in whether the council accepts the commission's plan, Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn, said after Tuesday's meeting. "From the beginning, that's been the area of dissent."

FOR THE RECORD - An article on County Council redistricting in the Sept. 27 edition of the Anne Arundel County Sun included an error about the fate of Severna Park's Berrywood community under a seven-district plan supported by Charter Revision Commissionmember Mark Anderson.
Under that plan, which moves six precincts countywide, the entire community of Berrywood would remain in the 5th District.
A new seven-district plan must be approved by the County Council; it does not have to be put on the ballot, as would a proposal to increase the number of council.

Most Crofton residents want to stay where they are,in the 7th District now represented by Council Chairwoman Virginia P. Clagett, D-West River. Many residents of rural South County, who want Crofton out, say it belongs with the more urban areas of Odenton and Maryland City in the 4th District.

Both Clagett and 4th District Councilman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, could benefit politically by not having Crofton in their districts.

Clagett nearly lost last year's election to Crofton RepublicanJohn Klocko III. Boschert, meanwhile, faced only one little-known opponent.

"I have no trouble with Crofton. I have a lot of good friends and relatives in Crofton. But it's working very well the way it is," Boschert said. "I say, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' "

Having Crofton and Odenton in the same district would mean the two communities "fighting against each other for changes that may occur in the Odenton area," Boschert predicted.

Though "delighted" when Crofton was moved to her districtyears ago, Clagett said, she now is unsure if it should stay in the 7th. "At the moment, I don't know. I think it's important that the 7th be a community of interests. (Crofton and rural South County) have different interests."

Commission member Dallas Evans said the panel voted to move Crofton into the 4th because at public hearings on redistricting, more South County residents spoke in favor of moving Crofton out of the 7th than Crofton residents supported keeping it there.

The council and commission will discuss redistricting again Oct.7. At that time, the five-member panel's lone dissenter, Mark Anderson, will recommend a plan that moves fewer precincts and keeps Crofton with South County.

First conceived by commission member Muriel Carter, this plan was also recommended by the county's Republican Central Committee. It involves moving only six precincts, compared to 17 in the recommended plan.

Unlike the recommended plan, which moves two precincts in the Lower Broadneck peninsula into the Annapolis-area district across the Severn River, Anderson's alternative would keepthe entire Broadneck peninsula in the 5th District.

The communities of Shipley's Choice and Berrywood would be split in half.

Thereseems little hope for one vocal constituency, in the Severn area, that wants to be placed in a single district. Severn is now divided among three districts.

Commission and council members agreed there isno way to unify Severn without increasing the number of districts, aproposal the commission, after much discussion, has dismissed.

"We're back to square one," said Robert McMurtrie, president of the Greater Severn Improvement Association. "I feel like the people on the commission don't know where Severn is."

Whichever plan the council approves will be placed on the November 1992 ballot.

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