Bill would put limits on building in corridor Councilman proposes 1-year moratorium

vote expected tonight

July 01, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A proposal to limit residential development in the traffic-clogged Mountain Road corridor of Pasadena is drawing mixed reviews from residents.

County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond has introduced a bill that would impose a one-year moratorium on subdivision approval for the area east of the Mountain Road-Route 100 intersection.

A vote on the bill is expected tonight in the County Council chambers at the Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis.

Redmond said his bill would prohibit the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement from approving any subdivision plans submitted between May 9, 1996, and May 8, 1997.

He said the moratorium could be renewed every year.

Redmond said he fashioned the bill to mirror a similar moratorium in 1986 championed by then-Councilman Edward C. "Buddy" Ahern, who also heard numerous complaints from Pasadena residents about uncontrolled growth.

"I figured it worked then," Redmond said, noting Ahern's moratorium lasted between 1986 to 1989. "All this does is give us a one-year time-out to see what's going on down here."

Redmond said he would use the year to talk to community groups about development and what the county should do to control it.

State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, who represents the corridor, said he hoped Redmond's moratorium would be as successful as Ahern's.

"It's an opportunity for us to evaluate growth in our area," Jimeno said.

More than 18,000 people live in the corridor, and residents say unchecked development will burden schools and make it difficult for emergency vehicles to reach their neighborhoods.

Frank Halgas, president of the Greater Pasadena Council, said the bill would prevent the kind of development that would add to the traffic problems. "The moratorium keeps it as it is," he said. "It keeps the status quo."

While many residents applaud the intent of the proposal, they also contend it is too little, too late.

"I would have liked to have seen the moratorium earlier," said Rhynold Baker, who has lived in Pasadena for 49 years. "I would be more impressed with a 10-year moratorium because developers would say, 'I'm not waiting 10 years to develop a piece of property.' With the one year, what good is that going to do?"

Toni Koebrugge, who lives on Mountain Road, said she is not only concerned about the current traffic problems, but also what might happen if county officials make improvements to the major thoroughfare without addressing development.

Koebrugge said the projects -- one to widen Mountain Road and one to build a bypass -- could be for naught if the developers are allowed to clear more land and build more communities.

"Irregardless of which one they do, it won't matter if they don't control growth in the area," she said. "If we don't keep the moratorium on, we're going to be right back where we started."

Still, others, such as William L. Long, want the moratorium to include the Redmond's plan 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.

"If you're going to put a moratorium, then there should be no building -- period," said Long, whose home on South Carolina Avenue is a possible site for the bypass. "Not even the bypass."

Pam Smith, who also lives on South Carolina Avenue, said she and her husband are in favor of Redmond's bill only because she thinks it will reduce the appeal of the bypass.

"Our main reason for supporting the moratorium is to take away the advantage of putting in a bypass," Smith said. "If we do that, [developers] can't build along Mountain Road and the bypass won't be that appetizing."

Pub Date: 7/01/96

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