Resident would give road plan a red light Bypass would destroy Lake Shore homes

March 26, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

William L. Long's assessment of a proposed Mountain Road bypass can be summed up in the four words on a large, neon orange sign on his front lawn: "Not through my house!"

What has sparked Mr. Long's anger is County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond's proposal for a 2 1/2 -mile, two-lane bypass linking Magothy Bridge Road to Mountain Road between South Carolina and Maryland avenues in Lake Shore.

The bypass, designed to divert about one-third of the 27,000 motorists who use Mountain Road daily, would pass south of Jacobsville Park and Lake Shore Elementary School and through the front door of Mr. Long's split-level on South Carolina Avenue. Plans for the $6.5 million project call for the destruction of his home as well as others in Pasadena.

"It upsets me," Mr. Long said yesterday. "We own the property, we own the house, and now we could end up going in the hole for it."

The county can take private property for public purposes if the County Council passes a resolution of condemnation. The county then must negotiate a price with the owner, who can go to court if he is not satisfied with the government's offer.

Mr. Long, 53, said he and his wife have lived in their home since 1966, raised two daughters, and were considering retiring when they heard of the plan.

"We were shocked," he said. "We thought, 'Why don't they just widen Mountain Road?' Some businesses would lose some frontage, but it wouldn't be taking anyone's homes."

Mr. Redmond said a proposal to add a lane to the eastbound and westbound sides of Mountain Road between Route 100 and Lake Shore Drive is being considered, but still is in the early planning stages.

He said he offered the bypass proposal because he campaigned on a promise to try to do something about the congestion on Mountain Road. But he acknowledged that some homes would have to be relocated to accommodate his plans.

"There's no other way to do it without someone losing their home, and that's unfortunate," Mr. Redmond said. "No matter what we do, someone's going to be affected."

The councilman stressed that the project was "not etched in stone" and that his first priority is to ensure the safety of the more than 1,200 residents who live on the eastern end of the Pasadena peninsula.

"It's a safety valve," Mr. Redmond said. "God forbid, we should have an accident on Mountain Road that blocks it up and then someone on the peninsula has a heart attack or something. We couldn't get the emergency vehicle down there."

Mr. Long and neighbors spent the past weekend building a large plywood sign in the 4600 block of Mountain Road to urge passing motorists to attend a forum on the bypass at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chesapeake Senior High School and voice their opposition to the plan.

Other bypass opponents posted similar messages on neon orange fliers on telephone poles.

Mr. Long's neighbor, Steven Smith, said he sympathized. He scoffed at motorists who could not deal with the congestion on Mountain Road.

"I've lived on this road all of my life, and it's something we've learned to live with," he said. "Anyone coming to buy a home here knows that."

Mr. Long said he would not give up his home without a fight.

"I'd get an attorney," he said.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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