Glen Burnie site chosen for new jail

March 17, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

The County Council has spoken -- the new detention center will be built in Glen Burnie.

By a 4-3 vote, the council approved last night a resolution designating an 85-acre tract of county-owned land on Ordnance Road as the location for the jail.

A competing resolution that would have placed the detention center on the grounds of Crownsville Hospital Center was withdrawn by its sponsors.

As expected, Councilwoman Diane Evans, R-Arnold, cast the deciding fourth vote in favor of the Ordnance Road site. She was joined by council members David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville; Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, and Virginia Clagett, D-West River.

Voting against the Glen Burnie site were Council members George F. Bachman, D-Linthicum; Carl G. Holland, R-Pasadena, and C. Edward Middlebrooks, D-Severn.

"The choice I'm making is based on what I feel is a responsible decision," Ms. Evans said, in explaining her vote.

She based her decision on criteria that included the fact that the county owns the land, that it is properly zoned, that water and sewer lines are in place, that it has access to public transportation and that it is not too distant from the courts.

The council heard no public testimony last night as citizens had their chance at a hearing on Monday. The handful of residents from Glen Burnie who remained in the council chambers when the vote was taken greeted the result with silence.

The three North County council members, who sponsored the Crownsville resolution, were bitter.

"We will have a new county executive in December, a new council in December," said Mr. Holland. "I'm sure we'll all revisit this issue in December."

"If anyone leaves here tonight thinking Ordnance Road is the jail site, they're sadly mistaken," said Mr. Middlebrooks. "They've been fooled. They've been misled."

The three North County council members reserved their harshest criticism for Ms. Lamb and Ms. Clagett, calling them environmentalists who turned their backs on environmental problems that will be caused by putting a jail on Ordnance Road.

The site, once part of an Army depot, is contaminated by radioactive thorium nitrate that was stored there. Federal officials who are overseeing the cleanup predict the job should be completed by October.

County Executive Robert R. Neall must convince Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the General Assembly to agree to the county's plan and to provide funding. Members of the North County Assembly delegation have vowed to fight such an attempt.

Mr. Neall said he would first try to get planning money so that the county can study what kind of facility would be built at Ordnance Road -- two possibilities that have been mentioned are a work release facility or a pre-release center -- and what renovations are feasible at the present detention center on Jennifer Road near Annapolis.

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