Muffin tactic starts opponents talking in Waverly Woods II zoning dispute WEST COUNTY/Clarksville * Highland * Glenelg * Lisbon

October 05, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

It was the kind of maternal logic County Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass says comes easily to her.

If the combatants in the Waverly Woods II zoning battle were squabbling, why not just have them sit down over muffins to sort things out?

On the 11th day of sometimes bitter hearings, Mrs. Pendergrass, the First District Democrat, handed out baked goods to advocates and opponents of the proposed 682-acre commercial, residential and golfing village.

In return, both sides promised to sit down and try to reach a compromise on the development that would transform the rolling countryside of Marriottsville and Woodstock into something resembling a Columbia village.

You either eat it, or you throw it. I'm not sure what," said Jean Quattlebaum, president of Citizens Allied for Rational Expansion CARE), as she sat down to her muffin fare.

Members of CARE and other area residents have fought for a year against the rezoning sought by developer Donald Reuwer and the property owners.

After the hearing Thursday morning, the two sides kept their word and met for two hours in the County Council conference room. They drew up a list of 10 things the community could accept or wanted changed in the project and agreed to schedule another meeting.

At the next meeting, the two sides will face off over the developer's traffic study, which says that Marriottsville Road and Route 99 will need to be widened with or without Waverly Woods II.

"We've been trying to get them to do this for over a year," Ms. Quattlebaum said after the meeting.

Repeatedly the night before, Mrs. Pendergrass asked citizens testifying against the rezoning if they had tried to work out a

compromise with the developer.

"Why is it that what we are seeing is heads butting?" she asked Art McGinnis, president of the Allenford Community Association. just wondering if anybody tried to negotiate."

The reply was that the developer wasn't interested.

Reuwer called that assertion "nonsense."

"The only suggestions that they had were just undoable," he said. These included deleting all commercial, town house and apartment development from the plans, Mr. Reuwer said.

Councilman Charles Feaga, R-5th, lauded the meeting between the two sides, saying he thought it might have been prompted by the opponents' realization that the rezoning might be granted through another route.

Several opponents who testified Wednesday and Thursday expressed surprise that the rezoning request had been included in the county administration's eastern comprehensive rezoning proposal, which will form the guideline for development in eastern Howard for about the next seven years.

Woodstock resident Nancy Springfield said she felt the opposing communities were being "blackmailed" with the threat that the Waverly Woods II plan could be approved during comprehensive rezoning instead of the through the tightly-controlled, site-plan rezoning process.

"If we don't come to a point of compromise on this rezoning, just wait, comprehensive rezoning will stick it to us," Ms. Springfield said.

In site-plan rezoning, the petitioner must indicate exactly what will be developed on a property and in addition must show that a mistake in zoning or a change in the character of the neighborhood has occurred.

In comprehensive rezoning, which is proposed by the administration and approved by the Zoning Board, changes are policy decisions and do not have to be legally justified.

Far from compromise, the best the opposition and the developers could do during their meeting was to come up with a list of opponents' requests, which included:

* Limiting development so as avoid the widening of roads in the area, including Interstate 70.

* Building fewer than the proposed 937 apartments and houses, with 500 being a starting point for negotiation.

* Eliminating office,warehouse and industrial development entirely.

* Paying for school expansion to handle influx of new residents.

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