Dell won't debate I-795 with Ridgely

September 04, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County Commissioner Donald I. Dell has turned down Cornelius M. "Neil" Ridgely's challenge to debate the issue of extending Interstate 795 into the county.

"Your motivation in challenging me on these issues is pure political grandstanding," Mr. Dell wrote in a Sept. 1 letter to Mr. Ridgely, a Democratic candidate for commissioner.

It's too early for "informed debate" on the merits of extending the highway because studies on the issue are not finished, he said.

Mr. Ridgely, a county employee who opposes the road extension, last week asked Mr. Dell to debate after learning that the commissioners had instructed the county planning department to study the issue.

Mr. Ridgely called the proposed road extension "a ridiculous project" that would jeopardize residents' property values and quality of life. Residents have said they don't want the extension, he said.

The route proposed last year by Mr. Dell would cut through Mr. Ridgely's Finksburg neighborhood and eat up hundreds of acres, some considered environmentally sensitive.

Last year, Mr. Dell began talking with residents about his idea to extend I-795 roughly parallel to Route 140 from Baltimore County through Carroll to connect with Route 15 in Pennsylvania.

He also proposed building an incinerator at the Northern Landfill in Reese and a sewer plant in Finksburg.

Mr. Ridgely helped establish the Carroll County Civic Association, which opposed the plans and vowed to follow other growth issues in the county.

Mr. Ridgely is the county's landscape and forest conservation manager.

He and Mr. Dell have clashed frequently in recent years over development projects that are in the process of getting county approval.

In his letter, Mr. Dell said county officials should further study Carroll's long-range transportation needs before making any decisions. County and state officials also are studying a bypass of Route 140 in Westminster.

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