AACC trustees consider whether to preserve or develop surplus land

September 10, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

None of the nearly 50 people who attended the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night were completely opposed to the school's plans to expand onto 23 acres nearby.

But few could agree on what to do with an additional 40 acres the college doesn't need for now.

Some wanted the college to place it in a permanent conservation easement. Others urged the school to plan for the long term as well as the immediate future.

"Do recognize the uniqueness of this parcel," said James E. Gutman, a member of the Magothy River Association who said he was speaking only for himself. "It is one that should not disappear through development."

But James Walker, president and CEO of North Arundel Hospital, called the college's plan "an excellent expansion program."

"I realize there are conflicting values but I think you have been very cognizant of those values," he said.

About 30 people signed up to speak at the meeting to discuss the idea of establishing a conservation easement that would restrict future expansion at AACC.

"In the last 25 years this Broadneck area has grown up more than anyone expected," said Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis. "I'm concerned that acres of forestland are declining. We've got to look forward to the future."

Ms. Lamb said she did not oppose the immediate expansion plans, but worried about the remaining land.

"What we are interested in is the land you're not going to use," she said. "Can we save it? Can we use it as an environmental classroom? Can we preserve it?"

Mrs. Lamb and Councilwoman Virginia Clagett, D-West River, introduced a resolution Tuesday night at the County Council meeting urging the college to place the land under a permanent conservation easement.

The board of trustees said it would consider placing the remaining 40 acres under an easement with the Maryland Environmental Land Trust.

While the discussion was supposed to focus on the easement, most people spoke on saving the trees or improving the quality of education at the college.

"The college must grow to meet the needs of the community," said Kathy Marx, vice president of the Anne Arundel Community College Foundation.

But Colby Rucker, a member of the Severn River Association, said the college also must be responsible to the community by protecting the environment.

"The Severn River Association is not against progress. But we need to figure out how can we incorporate this idea of nature into the total education process," Mr. Rucker said.

The board is expected to announce its decision on the easement at its Oct. 13 meeting.

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