Planning coalition proposed for Severna Park Community council overwhelmed by job CENTRAL COUNTY * Arnold * Broadneck * Severna Park * Crownsville * Millersville

May 20, 1993|By Angela Winter Ney | Angela Winter Ney,Staff writer

The Greater Severna Park Council has decided that som things are just too big for it to handle.

The task of preserving, improving and otherwise coordinating the affairs of Severna Park extends beyond the reach of one community organization, council officials concluded at a recent planning retreat.

To address difficult and complicated issues such as growth, the council decided to try to form the area's first community planning coalition.

"In order to accomplish more difficult goals, we want to involve everybody in Severna Park," Pat Troy, council president, said.

The idea of a larger coalition surfaced during the April retreat and a May 8 workshop.

The proposed coalition will involve the council, Chamber of Commerce and possibly the Jaycees, as well as any other community groups that would like to join, Ms. Troy said.

Possible big issues for the coalition might include transportation in Severna Park, the need for a senior citizen facility and the possibility of a multipurpose community center.

"Other communities have such things. Obviously, we have a lot of research ahead of us," Ms. Troy said.

"Fortunately, we do have a great deal of expertise in Severna Park, and there's a lot we can do on our own, but we have no urban planners that I know of in the council," she said.

Linda Zahn, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, called the joint venture a workable idea but had some reservations.

"Sometimes joint programs don't work out because each group has a different agenda," Ms. Zahn said. "For example, we represent the business interests of the community, and sometimes that conflicts with other interests. But when you can form a stronger voice for a common good, the chamber's always interested."

At the retreat, held in Chestertown, the council for the first time formally evaluated its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

"Things we want to protect" included equal representation within the council, the environment, a sense of community, quality of schools, safety, low-density housing, affordability and government services.

"Things we want to fix" included such items as traffic congestion, pollution and lack of public access to water.

Short-term goals included having a council bulletin board in the library and obtaining community service support through The Severn School.

"Things that are not now being done" mentioned shortening council meetings, studying the concepts of a community center and a town center, and examining the possibility of incorporation as a municipality.

The council also proposed starting a quarterly newsletter that would inform the delegates of issues and other committee information.

Council officers are exploring how much the idea would cost, Ms. Troy said.

"A lot of different needs are surfacing," she concluded. "Maybe if the community pulls together, we can accomplish some of them."

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