Council hopes to settle questions on zoning bill

February 07, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

In an article in Monday's editions of The Sun for Anne Arundel County, the schedule for remodeling Andover Middle School was reported incorrectly. The project is scheduled to begin in May.

The Sun regrets the error.

The County Council has scheduled a public meeting prior to its regular session tonight, so community association members can question planning officials on a controversial bill that would change zoning laws.

Community association members want any vote on the bill delayed until they have had more time to study it. They have lobbied successfully for several changes in the bill -- striking provisions that would allow larger houses on small lots and shorten the public notification requirement on rezoning hearings.


But if the council does not take action tonight to approve the bill, which was introduced in November, it will expire and will have to be introduced again.

Robert Dvorak, director of planning and code enforcement, told the council at its last meeting that if the bill expires, he will not introduce it again. He has had enough, he said, after his staff worked more than a year and a half on the bill and after it went through three months of public hearings.

But representatives of the county's community groups, many of whom say they are feeling the brunt of over-development, say it's too important an issue to rush the bill. They say there have been so many changes made to the bill that there may be gaps, loopholes and overlaps that should be eliminated.

Mr. Dvorak agreed to the public forum -- which will begin at 5 p.m. in the council chambers -- at the last council meeting, in hopes of answering any lingering questions and getting passage of the zoning bill.

Council members Virginia Clagett, D-West River, and Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, two of the strongest advocates for delaying the bill, will miss tonight's meeting due to long-planned vacations.

During the regular session, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., the council will hold public hearings on fund transfers for a school repair project and a new building at the Sarah's House shelter.

County officials have requested a transfer of $500,000 from the Andover Middle School conversion project to be used to correct structural problems at Crofton Meadows Elementary School. Work on Andover Middle School is not expected to begin until next year.

The county is pursuing legal action against the original contractor to recover money for repairs to the relatively new school building.

For the shelter project, the county received a $375,000 grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for construction of another building at Sarah's House on Fort Meade. The plan originally was to use the money to build a shelter for disabled homeless people, but the Army rejected the idea, so the money will be used for another transitional shelter.

Both meetings will be held in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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