Marsh house plan irks environmentalistsANNAPOLIS -- An...

MARYLAND/REGION BRIEFS

December 09, 1993

ANNAPOLIS — Marsh house plan irks environmentalists

ANNAPOLIS -- An Arnold optician's plan to build a home over a portion of Sullivan's Cove Marsh won the approval of a county hearing officer yesterday, prompting opponents to predict it could topple Maryland's environmental protection laws.

"Our laws will be meaningless if this guy is able to win this," said James Martin, president of the Severn River Association, which represents civic groups throughout the 70-square-mile watershed. He said his group will appeal.

Francis Nicholas Codd, whose family has owned a quarter-acre lot on the Severn River tributary for 30 years, has been fighting state and federal agencies since 1988 for the permits he needs to build a 3,160-square-foot home on a platform above the marsh.

The home he wants to build would be within the 100-foot setback from the shoreline required under Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Critical Area law.

Yesterday, Administrative Hearing Officer Robert C. Wilcox ruled that Mr. Codd can build because the lot was legally subdivided before the environmental rules were adopted.

State Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad, a District 30 Democrat and leading environmentalist in the Senate, disagreed with Mr. Martin's doom and gloom predictions, labeling the decision "one of those rare cases that doesn't set precedent." The government's only alternative to approving the project is purchasing the property, Senator Winegrad said.

Stalking charges dropped in 1st case of new law

FREDERICK

FREDERICK -- Charges have been dropped against a man accused of stalking his former girlfriend, a Frederick County prosecutor said.

Richard Lee McGeehan, 31, pleaded guilty Tuesday in county District Court to two counts of harassment, Assistant State's Attorney David Daggett said.

McGeehan was charged in what was the first case under the new state anti-stalking law. However, the stalking charge was dropped because there was insufficient evidence to prove the victim had been stalked and feared for her life.

McGeehan was released without bail on the condition that he not contact the victim. Sentencing was set for Feb. 8.

Suspect denied lower bail in I-83 rock-hurling case

YORK, Pa.

YORK, Pa. -- A judge has refused to lower bail for an 18-year-old York man accused of throwing rocks at vehicles on Interstate 83.

Troy Matthew Gentzler faces more than 100 felony and misdemeanor charges and remains in York County Prison on $250,000 bail. He was arrested Nov. 24.

He was charged with 27 counts of felony aggravated assault, 27 counts each of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and propulsion of missiles into occupied vehicles and 22 counts of criminal mischief.

He is accused of throwing rocks from his van at cars traveling the opposite direction on I-83 between Exits 7 and 10 in the York area in the incidents that were reported from Oct. 17 until shortly before his arrest.

After hearing testimony Tuesday from state Trooper Phillip George, Judge John C. Uhler declined to reduce Mr. Gentzler's bail. At least 11 people were injured when sandstone landscaping rocks weighing from 1 pound to 3 pounds crashed through their windshields, Trooper George said.

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