Street-maintenance bill divides council

January 24, 1995|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer

A bill that would require the city of Annapolis to maintain the streets in condominium complexes and private housing developments left city council members divided last night.

The measure would place on all Annapolis taxpayers the financial burden of street cleaning, garbage collection and snow removal on any roadways within private communities.

The council approved a similar bill this month allowing existing private development to shift the cost of roadway maintenance to the local government.

Supporters of the latest bill on the subject said city taxpayers often end up paying for streets in privately owned neighborhoods because developers leave and residents of the developments never organize to pay for maintenance.

"Eventually, even a private street can become a public street," said Jon L. Arason, deputy director of the city's Planning and Zoning Department.

"For many people, there's an additional cost of maintaining these roads that they weren't counting on."

Critics say that if the city maintains those roads, private communities will have no power to add access gates, speed bumps and other features that keep the developments quiet and private.

"My concern is that you're taking away their freedom of choice," said Ward 7 Alderman M. Theresa DeGraff. "I don't think we've taken enough time to talk to community organizations."

The new bill also would allow condominium developments to construct narrower roads without sidewalks -- a design that does not meet city standards and a feature that some council members and residents called disturbing.

Bob Rice, owner of Downtown Cycle at the City Dock, said that would "safety problems."

Others said the new street design could give Annapolis the historic flavor it craves.

The council will vote on the bill Feb. 13.

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