Residents oppose road improvements

February 19, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Scores of county residents told the Howard County Planning Board last night they don't want road improvements in their neighborhoods.

Western county residents said they don't want Sharp Road to connect with Old Rover Road. Eastern county residents who live near Montgomery Road and Interstate 95 objected to three Montgomery Road projects.

All were part of a crowd of more than 130 people attending last night's hearing on $108 million in new capital projects requested by county department heads.

The Planning Board will advise County Executive Charles I. Ecker on March 1 as to which projects it believes he should include in his proposed capital budget.

"Well over 100 people are against this," said Sharp Road resident James Agans of the west county proposal. "It is not in the best interest of residents, children or the county at large."

If approved, the $583,000 project linking Sharp Road to Old Rover Road would create a thoroughfare from Glenelg High School to Old Frederick Road. Without the connection, residents have to take a roundabout route using either routes 97 or 32 -- an alternative they say they prefer.

The Department of Public Works decided to push for the project in the coming capital budget to save money, Deputy Public Works Director Ronald G. Lepson told the Planning Board.

Since the linkage is shown on the 1990 General Plan and must ultimately be made anyway, the county might as well do it now while correcting an alignment on Sharp Road, he said.

But some residents want no part of it.

Sharp Road is already a wide road and a very fast road, Mr. Agans said. Some drivers speed along it at 80 mph until they reach the curve the county wants to straighten, he said. If Sharp Road becomes a thoroughfare rather than a dead end, the speed will only increase, he said.

Helen K. Kolbe told the board she moved to Sharp Road on Jan. 28 because the State Highway Administration had taken her home of 25 years for its Route 32 realignment. The day after moving into her new home, the county posted a notice of its intention to connect Sharp Road.

"I'm beginning to feel persecuted," she told the board. "I would like to live in peace in my retirement. I hope this project would not be delayed, but demolished like our house on Route 32."

At least five Elkridge houses will be leveled if the county accepts the Public Works Department's plans to improve 1,000 feet of Montgomery Road west of Landing Road, said the Rev. Michael Russell, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge.

Father Russell said his parish of 225 households opposes what he called the outrageous butchery of the rural tranquillity that Elkridge residents now enjoy.

"I am very surprised to see this project in the budget," said Deer Ridge Lane resident Barbara Wachs. "We were told [during a zoning hearing] that traffic from [a nearby commercial] development would use Route 100 and Meadowridge Rout but not east Montgomery Road. We are not being given a consistent story."

Other concerns last night came from Wharff Lane residents who oppose a county water and sewer project proposed for their neighborhood, Vista Road residents who want a storm drain installed sooner than planned and Cedar Lane residents who oppose a 590-foot sewer project for one resident.

Planning Board member Joan Lancos said $149,000 -- the projected cost of the sewer line -- was "an inordinate amount of money" to spend on the project.

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