New District Line Splits Condo Neighborhood

October 30, 1991|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff writer

Turning a high-voltage power line into a new congressional district line has inadvertently left one condominium development near Columbiawith two representatives in Congress.

"We're on both sides of those power lines. That is definitely going to make life interesting," said Kim Abramson, president of the Villages of Montgomery Run condominium association that represents both sides of the lines.

In trying to get just the right number of voters into each congressional district, the state legislature last week added one census tract with 204 voters to the 3rd District. But the census map, which uses the power lines as a tract boundary, didn't show the 2-year-old section of the condominium development, so the people drawing the redistricting map didn't know they were dividing the community.

The result is that 156 units will be in the 3rd District, which includes Columbia and parts of eastern Baltimore, while 432 units will be in the 6th District, which stretches west to the state's western border withWest Virginia.

"It's like we're set up literally to be in the middle of conflict," because of the differences in the types of communities and industry in Western Maryland and suburban Baltimore, Abramsonsaid.

While she conceded that on a federal level, the effect on Montgomery Run's representation may be slight, she noted that the community even now has a pressing federal issue on its hands.

Because of federal wetlands regulations, the State Highway Administration is considering changing the alignment of Route 100 to avoid the nearby stream of Deep Run. That could mean coming very close or even condemning homes in the Montgomery Run development. State officials have saidthey'd prefer to move the highway the other way and take out older homes in Hunt Country Estates.

"When it comes to political issues like that, we need solid political support and we need to know who to turn to politically," said Abramson, who last year won alocal battle for a traffic signal at the entrance to Montgomery Run.

She said she called both Congress members' offices Friday after learning of thesplit to arrange a meeting with Representatives Benjamin L. Cardin and Beverly B. Byron, both Democrats.

County election administratorBarbara Feaga said she was at first puzzled by the new line, which split an existing election precinct. She originally thought that only a few farmhouses existed in the area bordered by the high-voltage lines and Deep Run.

The presence of the 90 or so voters will mean that when congressional and state legislative elections coincide in 1994, the county will have to print up special ballots for Abramson and her neighbors.

Being split into two districts might not be so bad, however, compared with the apparent fate of Aladdin Village Trailer Park.

The park is in a piece of a precinct so small that the peoplewho drew new congressional district boundaries overlooked it in writing legislation.

A strict reading of the bill would exclude the section from either the 3rd or 6th districts, but Feaga said that stateplanners intend to get the legislation corrected to put it in the 3rd District.

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