Bachman Bill May Extend Appeals Board Deadlines

December 11, 1991|By Staff report

Evening turned into night and night into morning last month when thecounty Board of Appeals heard arguments on whether a developer should get a grading permit for a project near Shady Side.

Councilman George Bachman says he hopes to prevent such a marathon session from happening again.

Bachman, D-Linthicum, has filed a bill that would extend by abouta week the amount of time the board has to make a decision after ordering a developer to stop work under a grading permit. As the rules stand, the board has 30 days to rule on appeals to such orders. Bachman's bill, filed Dec. 2, would change that to 30 "working days," he said.

He contends that this would give the board about another eightdays to make a decision, thereby making it less likely the board will get so backed up with cases that it will need to have an 11 1/2-hour hearing, as it did between Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16.

That hearing involved a Florida developer's plans to build 96 homes on 22 acres within the Critical Area, a 1,000-foot buffer along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

"I don't want that to happen again," Bachman said. "I don't want people to be working into the night.The problem there is the Board of Appeals has a lot of cases (and ithas) got to work that appeal into the schedule."

Bachman is pursuing the measure despite a memo he received from deputy County Solicitor Dave Plymyer saying that county codes had established no definition of a "working day."

"Because he can't find it doesn't mean it's a factual thing," said Bachman.

The councilman said members of theBoard of Appeals have expressed support for the measure, which is among several bills to be heard before the County Council beginning at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16. The hearings will take place in the Arundel Centerin Annapolis.

Any opposition to the measure, Bachman predicts, will come from developers who would be concerned that waiting longer for board decisions would cost them more money.

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