Proposal would send payments to groups

July 12, 1995|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

County Councilman John Klocko appeared skeptical last night about a proposal to channel payments by a privately held rubble landfill to community groups in southwest Anne Arundel.

The proposal, which needs council approval, would free $384,000 that was paid into an escrow account over the last pour years to pay for additional police and traffic safety along the Sands Road corridor and environmental inspections at the landfill.

Some of the money would be channeled to incorporated community nonprofit groups from the southwest quarter for projects that ameliorate nuisances created by the landfill, including large volumes of out-of-state truck traffic on the narrow rural roads.

P.S.T. Reclamation Inc., the landfill's operator, also would pay an additional "community benefit" fee of up to $200,000 annually to be used for the same purposes.

Mr. Klocko, a Republican whose district includes the landfill, said he saw a "real deficiency" in the proposal because it did not provide for a "citizens committee" to inspect the landfill site. Instead, the county has proposed hiring a third party to make environmental inspections.

He also expressed concern that there may not be any incorporated nonprofit groups within the boundaries of the proposed South County Community Benefit Districts.

For the past four years, a county employee has conducted zoning inspections at the site, said Tom Andrews, the county's top land use officer. However, neighboring residents have expressed a wish that an outside agency handle the inspections and that they be widened to include compliance with environmental laws.

The council was expected to vote on the P.S.T proposal and other proposals late last night.

If the council does not approve the P.S.T proposal, an existing pact negotiated in 1991 will remain in effect. However, the money would remain in escrow.

Mr. Andrews said the proposal discussed last night was aimed primarily at gaining access to the money.

The council also heard testimony on proposals to regulate group homes and roadside vendors and to grant tax breaks to a private, non-profit housing developer in Galesville.

Arundel Community Development Services Inc. has asked the county for a break on the real estate taxes it must pay on 2 acres within view of the West River where it hopes to rehabilitate 16 rental homes for low-income families.

Under the proposal before the council, ACDS' tax payments would be fixed over the next 20 years regardless of the property's value. The payments would start at the current level, $4,667, and grow at a fixed percentage.

ACDS, an agency spun off from the county government into the private sector two years ago, plans to use $1.2 million in federal and state money to install bathrooms and kitchens in the homes on West Benning Road.

Most of the residents of the small cluster of homes worked as shuckers at the Woodfield Oyster Co.'s now-defunct packing plant or are their descendants.

Another proposal would change how and where roadside vendors can park and hawk their wares, whether live crabs or stuffed animals or velvet Elvises.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman James E. DeGrange, would require them to obtain a county permit, restrict them to certain commercial areas and require them to provide safe and adequate parking. The permit would cost $25 a day or $250 a year. The permits would be enforced by county police.

Although the measure has the support of a wide range of business groups, including seafood restaurants and garden shops, numerous roadside vendors complain the bill is designed to put them out of business.

Councilman Klocko introduced the group home legislation after meeting with the neighbors of a Davidsonville group home that has received permits to add 18 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms to an existing three-bedroom rancher. The addition will more than triple the size of the building at Birdsville Road and Whispering Oaks Lane.

Mr. Klocko said the expansion is inconsistent with the single-family homes in the neighborhood.

Residents say they do not object to senior group homes in their community. However, they said, they homes should look like other residential structures.

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