Atrocity on the Severn RiverRays Pond, on the Severn River...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 13, 1994

Atrocity on the Severn River

Rays Pond, on the Severn River in Arnold, is considered "one of the last remaining gems on the Severn" by the Severn River Association.

"It is one of only four undeveloped tidal ponds left on the entire river" and defined as "an area of critical concern" by the Severn River Commission.

Does this mean anything? Apparently not.

A resident of Joyce Lane, whose property borders Rays Pond, acquired permits to build a 300-foot pier (the length of a football field). This resident also holds permits to build twin boat houses, Each one is twice the size of a two-car garage and almost four stories high.

Construction began last week. The community watched in disbelief as the pile drivers pounded away. A frantic appeal was made to the Department of Natural Resources, which decided to shorten the pier to 160 feet.

Does it matter that this 160-foot pier still partially blocks the only channel access to the Severn River for all other boaters? Apparently not.

Are boat houses of any size allowed in an "area of critical concern"? Apparently so.

According to the DNR, this resident has every legal right to build them. He acquired the permits before Feb. 14, 1994, when construction of boat houses was banned from Maryland waterways.

The only public notification required was that of his immediate neighbor, who also holds permits for twin boat houses.

In fact, there are four such permits held by residents in the Rays Pond area, which could soon become "Boat House Alley."

Are two such enormous boat houses necessary? Apparently not. This resident cannot bring his big trawler into the Rays Pond area because the channel is too shallow.

There is pressure now being placed on the Army Corps of Engineers to allow dredging of the channel to accommodate this large boat.

If dredging is allowed and boat house construction commences, the submerged aquatic vegetation, which is present for the first time in 20 years, will be destroyed.

The destruction we cause and eyesores we create remain long after we're gone. We have a moral obligation to protect what few "gems" we have left for our descendants to enjoy and not turn them into an atrocity.

Carol Friend

Arnold

Importing Trash

On Oct. 12, the State Highway Administration conducted a public hearing in Crofton to hear from the community on the SHA's proposed through truck ban on routes 424 and 450.

Several speakers addressed the hearing moderator on their concern for the recent high increase in the number of out-of-state trash trucks using 424 to get to the rubble landfills in South County.

Several speakers suggested that the county and state should ban out-of-state trash from coming into the state and county.

As a state legislator, I would love to be able to introduce such legislation. However, the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted to prohibit such an outright ban.

Because this is such as huge problem for Maryland and for some other states as well, the U.S. Congress attempted to address this problem with recent legislation that would have constitutionally allowed the individual states' governors to be able to obstruct the flow of garbage into their individual states (HR 4779).

Private landfills and incinerators would need local government approval to accept out-of-state shipments of waste and states could limit the volume of wastes they accept. The House had passed the bill, but the minority leader in the Senate objected to its passage in the closing moments before adjournment.

Therefore, even though the legislation had been the subject of intense negotiations, it was impossible to work out the differences between the separate bills of the two chambers.

Certainly the passage of this legislation would have been a start to help us gain control over our local situation with regards to controlling out-of-state trash being brought to our county.

Marsha G. Perry

Crofton

The writer is a state delegate in District 33.

Fixing Welfare

To paraphrase an old adage, everyone complains about the welfare system, but nobody does anything about it.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services is trying to do something about it, but it needs the help of community groups if it is to succeed.

The Community-Directed Assistance Program is a pilot program begun this year by the department. Its purpose is to divert people from the welfare system to self-sufficiency with the help of the community.

Families are matched with community sponsors. The sponsors help the families organize their finances, find jobs, get training or overcome whatever other obstacle exists to the family becoming self-sufficient.

For this purpose, the sponsors receive an amount equal to the amount the family would have received from public assistance for a year to be used for the family. Technical support is provided by Department of Social Service employees.

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