Finksburg residents thrash Dell's I-795 plan Angry citizens meet to discuss opposing the extension

April 08, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell stood hidden in the crowd last night as Finksburg-area residents skewered him and his plan to extend Interstate 795 through the county.

The residents -- many of whom didn't know Mr. Dell had come to the citizens meeting -- even applauded when resident Kim Edel said they should vote the commissioner out of office over the issue.

About 150 residents packed the meeting hall at Emory United Methodist Church, 1600 Emory Road, to show their opposition to Mr. Dell's plan.

Mary Lewis of Elderberry Lane called the meeting to organize a citizens group to oppose the plan.

Mr. Dell wasn't invited, but he said he wanted to hear the citizens' comments.

After standing in the back of the room for an hour listening to residents, he went to the podium and assured them that the highway extension was just an idea.

"That is not etched in stone, and this may never happen," he said.

The commissioner complimented the residents for gathering.

"This is what government and democracy is all about. This is the way things happen in this country," he said.

"He's a fair and decent man who's come up with a dumb idea," said resident Kevin Dayhoff, referring to the proposed road as "Dell Boulevard."

Mr. Dell has proposed extending I-795 roughly parallel to Route 140 from Baltimore County through Carroll to connect with Route 15 in Pennsylvania.

The commissioner links the highway extension with his proposal to build an incinerator at the Northern Landfill and a sewer plant in Finksburg. He also said he would like the county to concentrate industrial growth along Route 140 in Finksburg.

"We've got to get rid of Dell in the next election because I don't think he knows what he's talking about," Mr. Edel said.

Many last night said the commissioner's main objective was to lure industry to Carroll with a new road and not to alleviate congestion on Route 140.

Others suggested that Route 140 be widened instead of extending I-795.

Resident Mike Baker urged citizens to study the issue themselves.

"I think what we have to come up with is an alternative to relieving congestion on the main road [Route 140]," he said. "It's up to us to offer alternatives."

Resident Thomas E. Allen said he talked with Mr. Dell by phone about the plan and was "flabbergasted" when the commissioner said he hadn't studied the need for extending the road or the cost of doing it.

"We should push for Dell to retract his proposal completely until he thinks it through. I think it's irresponsible for him to propose it without thinking it through," Mr. Allen said.

Mr. Dell said in an interview this week that he wants to gather citizen reaction to his idea before asking the Board of Commissioners to vote on it in about six months.

If the board approves the idea, he said, he will ask county staffers to study the plan.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy has said he supports the plan. Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she does not because it would eliminate the planned Route 30 bypass.

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