House committee reluctantly passes compromise growth-management bill

February 22, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- Some delegates held their noses yesterday as they helped move the governor's watered-down growth management bill to the House floor during an emotionally charged committee meeting.

A handful of delegates made an unsuccessful attempt to include sanctions against counties that don't manage development properly. After their amendments failed, they "reluctantly" supported the bill even though they said it does little to accomplish its goal of stopping suburban sprawl.

The House Environmental Matters Committee passed the Economic Growth and Resource Act by a 19-3 margin. It now goes to the full House, where it is expected to pass.

"While I don't think the bill does what I would like it to do, it's probably the last shot in this century to deal with anything on growth management," said Del. Lawrence LaMotte, D-Carroll, as he voted for the bill.

Mr. LaMotte had stormed out of the voting session earlier after Chairman Ronald A. Guns, D-Cecil, refused to allow a hand count on one of Mr. LaMotte's strengthening amendments. Mr. Guns later relented, tempers cooled and Mr. LaMotte returned.

The bill directs counties and cities to revise their land-use plans, zoning and development rules to conform with broad principles.

They include concentrating construction in "suitable areas," protecting the bay and environmentally sensitive areas, and conserving resources. To gain the business community's support, the Schaefer administration included a concept of streamlining regulations and encouraging growth.

The bill is a watered-down version of one Gov. William Donald Schaefer introduced last year. The first bill won environmentalists' support but not the legislature's. That bill would have required local governments to direct new development to areas already served by roads and utilities.

Today in Annapolis

1 p.m. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee holds hearings on legislation involving the 1992 and 1993 state budgets, Room 100, Senate Office Building.

There are 45 days remaining in the 1992 General Assembly session.

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