Annapolis council OKs plan for 162 townhouses

January 11, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

The Annapolis city council last night approved a developer's plan to build 162 townhouses at Aris T. Allen Boulevard and Yawl Road over the objections of the county Board of Education.

The unanimous approval, 8-0, was given without discussion, though aldermen debated at length late last month whether the city should collect nearly $500,000 from developer Rick Polm for school construction.

After the vote, school board President Thomas Twombley urged the council to adopt an "adequate facilities" ordinance that would bar construction of new homes if schools, and possibly other public facilities, would be overburdened.

The county already has an adequate-facilities ordinance, but development within the city limits is exempt.

The city also needs to follow the county's lead and adopt school "impact" fees that must be paid by developers for every new home built, Mr. Twombley said.

He pleaded with the aldermen to stall Mr. Polm's project, known as Oxford Landing, and to freeze all other housing development until the council adopts an adequate-facilities ordinance.

"I, as school board president, can no longer allow you to have a free ride," Mr. Twombley said.

The school board recommended against the development last fall because it could contribute to crowding at Parole Elementary School. But the city Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval, noting that the city lacked both an adequate-facilities ordinance and an impact fees law.

If the project were being built only a few hundred feet from its current site, across the city line, the developer would have been required to pay nearly $500,000 in impact fees and other charges to waive the adequate-facilities restriction.

Mr. Twombley said any money collected from developers in the city would be devoted only to schools attended by city residents.

In other action, the council adopted, 5-3, Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins proposed assignments to the six standing committees, where most legislative work is done.

New assignments are routinely made every four years after an election, but this year's assignments have been particularly acrimonious as Mr. Hopkins has jockeyed for control of the Finance Committee, which reviews the mayor's annual budget proposals.

The council rejected Mr. Hopkins' proposed committee assignments, 5-4, during its last meeting in December after several veteran council members complained they had not been consulted.

Last night, Alderman Dean Johnson, a Ward 2 Independent, was upset that he again had not been consulted and had been replaced on the Finance Committee by Alderman Shep Tullier, a Ward 4 Democrat serving his first term.

Alderman Ellen Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat, who was nominated by the mayor to chair the Finance Committee, said Mr. Johnson "would like to have it all."

She noted that he was nominated by the mayor to chair the Rules Committee. Committees will elect chairmen at a later date.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, had voted against the mayor's proposed committee assignments last month but switched his vote last night.

The council also unanimously adopted last night a resolution urging state lawmakers to adopt handgun controls and to ban assault rifles. The resolution calls on city residents to support a statewide rally against handgun violence Monday at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

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