Council urges roads improvements

June 19, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Sun Staff Writer

One week after they agreed to keep open the controversial extension of Emerald Drive in Bel Air, County Council members adopted a resolution encouraging the county to improve the roads that service the Watervale and Brentwood Park communities.

By a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, the council recommended improving Red Pump and Tollgate roads, and erecting temporary barriers to restrict traffic to a one-way flow at Emerald and Lancaster drives.

Many residents had argued in favor of closing the short extension that links the two neighborhoods because, they said, drivers routinely violate the one-way signs and speed along Emerald Drive.

The resolution also recommends offering Watervale residents the option of having sidewalks built along Emerald Drive and recommends installing speed deterrents on certain roads in the communities.

Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson said that the resolutions are nonbinding, but "this, as a corporate decision, might make the administration come back in the future budget with money for capital projects.

"This is an opportunity for us to express a vision for that area."

In other business, the council:

* Endorsed the county's application for a federal-state grant to support a planned shelter for women and children in Bel Air.

The $381,000 Small Cities Community Development Block Grant would help finance the renovation and expansion of an existing building on Tollgate Road. The county's portion of the matching grant will be at least $400,000, said Robert Hockaday, director of government and community relations.

The shelter eventually will house 16 people and will replace ECHCO House, the transitional shelter for women and children in Street.

Mr. Hockaday said the Bel Air location would put residents closer to critical community services and, after expansion, would house twice the number at ECHCO House.

* Heard a presentation by the Task Force on Mediation, a panel created by County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann to investigate mediation as a method of solving civil disputes.

District Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. told the council that a mediator would be a neutral third party who would assist two or more disputants in reaching voluntary negotiated settlements of their differences.

Similar projects, which use volunteers as mediators, are under way in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, he said.

The project would not deny individuals access to the courts, but mediation could mean faster and more efficient resolution of some disputes, he said.

The judge said the county executive plans to bring legislation to the council next fall to establish a community mediation commission as the governing body.

* Held a public hearing on two bills authorizing the county to sell $12.185 million in general obligation bonds and $6.79 million in bonds to finance water and sewerage projects.

The general obligation bonds would pay capital costs associated with school renovations and additions, the Harford Detention Center addition and construction of the Edgewood Senior Center.

A third bill would authorize a lease-purchase agreement for a $540,000 computerized accounts receivable system for the county's Treasury Department.

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