The county Board of Appeals sided with a 20-year-old Pasadena salvage yard Wednesday, saying opponents who claimed it was operating in violation of local zoning laws had no legal basis for a complaint.
Mark Baumgardner, a Glen Burnie businessman, and Dianne McClary, owner of a Prince George's County salvage yard, had hoped to challenge a special zoning exception awarded to Thomas W. Redmond Sr. last June to dismantle cars and recycle the parts on 10 acres in the 8200 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
But before the hearing began, Edwin A. Lechowicz, Mr. Redmond's lawyer, asked the board to throw out the challenge. Neither Mr. Baumgardner nor Ms. McClary lives or owns property near Mr. Redmond's operation, prerequisites to such a legal complaint, he said.
"It was never intended that every person in the world be allowed to make an appeal," Mr. Lechowicz argued. "If that were allowed, we might see a lot of complaints filed to spite someone they don't like."
The board ruled unanimously to dismiss the case.
Mr. Redmond said he believes his special exception was challenged because he had opposed an automotive recycling plant on Fort Smallwood Road in Marley Neck last spring. Ms. McClary testified in favor of that facility, proposed by Michael J. Loher, owner of Mike's Auto Parts in Severn.
"They are both friends of Mr. Loher's," Mr. Redmond said, noting that they were represented by Darryl Henry, the lawyer who also represented Mr. Loher.
Several Pasadena neighborhood associations opposed Mr. Loher's 3.4-acre facility, despite its billing as the state of the art in automotive recycling, and have taken their challenge to the Circuit Court. The residents argue that they already have eight salvage yards within 5 miles and do not need another.
Spite played no role in the challenge to Mr. Redmond's special exception, said Mr. Baumgardner, who is a member of the county's Planning Advisory Board. Rather, he said, he is worried that Administrative Hearing Officer Robert Wilcox did not impose sufficiently stringent environmental standards on Mr. Redmond.
"They missed a golden opportunity to bring him up to current, acceptable standards," Mr. Baumgardner said. "I think an opportunity was missed to make him clean up his act."
Several Pasadena residents attended Wednesday's hearing to support Mr. Redmond.
Stating that Mr. Redmond intends to run for County Council in two years, Ms. McClary charged the residents with playing politics.
"That rumor is going around," Mr. Redmond said about a possible campaign for office. "But what does that have to do with my special exception?"
Mr. Redmond's property is zoned for heavy commercial use, in which salvage yards are allowed with special exceptions. All other salvage yards are being phased out.