Third Ave. extension stays alive Hearing shows sentiment for both plans SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

April 30, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. looked at the Sykesville Town Counci agenda Monday and wrote DOA next to Third Avenue Extension, the town's proposal for realigning Obrecht Road.

After an hour of public debate on the issue, he erased his note and said the proposal was alive and well.

"Even those adamantly opposed gained an appreciation of the other point of view," said the mayor. "I was impressed with one of the best and healthiest debates I have ever heard."

About 40 residents attended the hearing, which the mayor called to gather public opinion on two recommendations -- the town's and the county's -- for extending Obrecht Road to Route 32.

Many residents who live on or near Obrecht Road favor the county's $1.5 million proposal to loop the road around the north side of Fairhaven Retirement Home. They call the town's option -- extending Obrecht to Third Avenue and on to Route 32 -- unsafe, although they admit it is less costly, by about $500,000, and more direct.

"These people want to stick with the county's original plan," said Garth Adams, who delivered 58 signatures opposing the Third Avenue extension.

Kathy Blanco-Losada of Hollenberry Road favors the town's proposal, which she calls "a well-thought-out and more direct route with a safer intersection at Route 32."

The northern route would be "environmentally disastrous" with a severe impact on Piney Run and surrounding wetlands, she said.

"This may not seem to be as high in priority as getting to work fast or protecting children from motorists, but the park is the reason why many people want to live here in the first place," she said.

Much of the land used for the loop has been "untouched for years" and shelters wildlife, she said.

"The amount of earth that would have to be moved and rearranged to build this road will be a threat not only to Piney Run but the Patapsco River" into which the stream feeds, she said.

Fairhaven's 300 employees and 425 residents have an interest in the decision also.

Greg Burgan, Fairhaven vice president of finance, said many complain that "they can't get on and off Route 32" at peak hours.

"We initiated this proposal with the town," he said. "The county alternative could create a monster flow of traffic around Fairhaven."

The council is deferring its decision until May 10.

In the interim, the mayor has asked Police Chief Wallace P. Mitchell to study measures to make Third Avenue safer for motorists and residents.

Mr. Helt also wants to explore the state's plans to relocate Route 97. When that project is completed, it should give residents living west of Sykesville easier access to Route 70, he said.

"We will review all comments," said the mayor. "We have some heavy thinking as both options have something to say."

Although the final decision rests with the county, Mr. Helt said, "The county is willing to follow Sykesville's and Fairhaven's lead."

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