Council poised to pass two Honeygo resolutions

June 29, 1994|By Pat Gilbert | Pat Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

After much political posturing and chest-thumping yesterday, the Baltimore County Council appears ready to give final approval next Tuesday to two resolutions crucial to the Honeygo Community Plan.

During a public work session, members argued over fine points of the plan and peppered county planners with questions about Honeygo, regarded as the most ambitious planned residential community in county history. Most said afterward they would vote to approve it.

On June 20, the council delayed action on the resolutions after the last-minute introduction of 30 "technical" amendments to the plan by the administration of Executive Roger B. Hayden. That action annoyed several council members.

The Honeygo proposal calls for 5,556 homes, 60 percent of which would be single-family dwellings. Current zoning would allow 11,000 units. The planned community, just north of Perry Hall in the White Marsh/Perry Hall growth area in the northeastern part of the county, would cover more than 2 1/2 square miles, with nine acres of retail stores, 37 acres of parks and 35 acres for schools, recreation centers and other uses.

One resolution asks the council to adopt the proposal as part of the Master Plan. The other instructs the planning board to begin comprehensive rezoning for Honeygo.

In the midst of an election year in which many council members face stiff re-election challenges, words became heated several times yesterday, particularly during discussion of an amendment offered by Councilwoman Berchie L. Manley, a 1st District Republican.

Mrs. Manley, who has fought hard to preserve the older communities she represents in the southwestern part of the county, wanted an amendment that would state that the Honeygo Plan would not be given priority over older communities in capital improvements funding.

That issue had no direct bearing on the two resolutions, and the plan itself already addresses the issue, but Mrs. Manley stood firm.

She was joined by Republican colleagues Douglas B. Riley and William A. Howard IV, and by Democrat Donald C. Mason, who usually sides with the Republicans. Only Mr. Mason is not running for re-election.

Democrats Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, Melvin G. Mintz, D-2nd, both running for county executive against Mr. Hayden, a Republican, said the amendment was unnecessary. So did Vincent J. Gardina, sponsor of the resolutions,

"I agree in substance that the older communities shouldn't be neglected over the newer, more glamorous communities, but this amendment is nothing more than a political statement," said Mr. Ruppersberger.

Council Chairman Howard, who is likely to face the popular and politically strong Democrat Joseph Bartenfelder in the general election, strongly disagreed.

"You can't sit there and say it's not political when the amendment is absolutely not necessary," Mr. Gardina said.

Mr. Ruppersberger finally gave in and said he would support the amendment.

Mr. Riley, apparently still irked at the last-minute flood of amendments, announced at one point he was prepared to force planners to explain all 30 amendments.

Mr. Riley, who faces no strong opposition, threw one question after the other to Planning Director Arnold F. "Pat" Keller, concerning certain property rights issues he saw with the plan.

Mr. Riley finally relented after a half-dozen amendments.

When the session was over, Mr. Howard said he saw no problems with the two resolutions passing "unless the administration come in with something last-minute."

Mr. Riley agreed. "We were just having some fun," he said.

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