Route 100 plans anger residents Highway may run through subdivision

December 02, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

A year's worth of pent-up frustration was loosed upon the State Highway Administration last night by residents of an Ellicott City subdivision upset over revived plans to run the proposed Route 100 through and next to their homes.

Two residents held up large "report cards" with failing grades -- F's -- for SHA Administrator Hal Kassoff and SHA planning director Neil Pedersen in such subjects as honesty, legitimacy, integrity and competence.

"The fact is, SHA screwed up from the very beginning on this road," said Lori Lease, who submitted hundreds of government documents showing how her Hunt Country Estates community had been wronged by the highway's planners.

She and about 200 other residents at last night's meeting at Howard High School called for a federal investigation of the SHA, which they say violated due process that residents are entitled to and misled federal regulators about the road's impact on wetlands.

"Anybody who reads the documents will basically find their blood boiling," said Susan Gray, a growth-control advocate who has made a career of dissecting the way that state highway projects are planned.

One of the key problems with Route 100, she said, is that it serves as an excuse for county officials to allow increased development along the road's proposed corridor.

"The one thing that's evident is that Route 100 adds tons of traffic to this corridor," Ms. Gray said.

Residents have been presented with four possible options of routes the highway would follow on its way from Route 104 in southern Ellicott City to Interstate 95 in Elkridge.

Two options skirt closely to Montgomery Run to avoid a diagonal -- and damaging -- crossing of sensitive wetlands of Deep Run stream. Montgomery Run residents testified against these two options.

The other two options avoided Deep Run by going through two homes in Hunt Country estates and coming very close to several others. Those options are very similar to one adopted by state and county officials in 1985 but shifted southward in response to protests from residents of Hunt Country Estates.

Most residents of Hunt Country Estates who testified last night quoted letters or memos obtained from state or county files.

Many of the letters were read simply to show that SHA officials knew Hunt Country Estates existed, despite their claims to the contrary seven years ago when they decided to run the road through it.

Others spoke of the agreement between the SHA and developer Macks and Macks under which the highway skirted property where the 588 condominiums of Montgomery Run were built. Route 100 would have gone directly through Montgomery Run. The agreement left only a narrow strip of land for the highway, putting either homes in Hunt Country Estates or federally protected wetlands in jeopardy.

On the other side was Keith Fitch, vice president of one of two community associations in Montgomery Run, who said his community favored two northern alignments that would go through Hunt Country Estates.

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