Council likely to table 4 bills tonight Water-sewer update is expected to pass

February 01, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

The County Council will have light work tonight if, as expected, it tables four pieces of legislation contested at its Jan. 19 public hearing.

Six other items, dealing with such things as interfund transfers and the semiannual update of the county water and sewer master plan, are routine and are expected to pass unanimously without debate.

The council also is expected to make about 10 amendments to Volume III of the county Planning Department's revision of its design manual. The manual, which deals primarily with county roads, was tabled last month.

The council generally tables legislation when lawmakers want to defer consideration to a specific time or when they want to cut off debate and bury proposals without voting them up or down.

Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, wants one of his proposals buried. He plans to ask his colleagues to join him tonight in tabling a resolution that would have removed from the 1990 general plan a mixed-use designation for an 820-acre site in Fulton. Mr. Feaga wanted to replace the mixed-use designation with residential zoning and a small percentage of employment-center zoning.

Initially, Mr. Feaga said, he thought of his proposal as "a great compromise" that would assuage residents opposed to the mixed-use designation. His plan would have reduced the density on the property from 8 units per acre to 2 units per acre.

Residents complained that the proposal did not go far enough. They wanted no commercial zoning, and they wanted residential zoning to be no more than 1 unit per 3 acres. Mr. Feaga said he could not support that idea and now intends to abandon his proposal, too.

Other legislation tabled tonight will come up for a vote at a future meeting.

Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, and Councilman Darrel Drown, R-2nd, want more time to amend the county housing allocation chart by putting a cap of 2,500 units a year on the allocations for the decade beginning in 1996.

Ms. Pendergrass said last week that she will table the allocation chart and an accompanying chart showing what school regions will be open to development until amendments can be prepared on both.

The housing chart, which is the Planning Department's attempt to bring general plan projections in line with the county's law on adequate public facilities, allocates about 9 percent more units than Mr. Drown and Ms. Pendergrass say is appropriate.

The chart preferred by Mr. Drown and Ms. Pendergrass would maintain the pace of development suggested by the Planning Department in every school region except the Southeast and the Northeast.

The Southeast, represented by Ms. Pendergrass, would have 19 percent fewer residential units under the proposal. The Northeast, represented by Mr. Drown, would have 9 percent fewer units.

Amending the housing allocation chart would also require an amendment to a resolution showing whether regions would be open or closed to development in that decade.

A region would be closed to development for four years if an elementary school there would be more than 120 percent over capacity as a result of the new development. The waiting period is designed to allow the school system time to prepare for an influx of new students.

The last piece of legislation council members said they will table tonight is a bill to allow the county Health Department to lease a building at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup for $1 a year for 40 years and use it as a drug-and-alcohol halfway house. Council members say they need more information about the project before they vote on it.

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