Council votes building ban Yearlong moratorium on Mountain Road peninsula OK'd, 5-1

'This is a timeout for us'

Residents along route say development is swamping facilities

July 02, 1996|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

The County Council banned last night new construction along Pasadena's Mountain Road by approving a yearlong moratorium on a scenic peninsula that has become one of the county's most bitter development battlegrounds.

The law, approved 5-1, was sponsored by Democratic Councilman Thomas W. Redmond Sr. of Pasadena, would prohibit new residential development east of the Mountain Road intersection with Route 100 until May 8, 1997.

Chairwoman Diane R. Evans, an Arnold Republican, cast the only negative vote.

The moratorium could be renewed at that time if council members still believe there is too much traffic on the road as it sweeps out toward Gibson Island.

"We have no game plan for development, for roads, for infrastructure on this peninsula," said Redmond, whose constituents implored him in a May public meeting to face down new growth in the area or face their wrath at the ballot box in 1998.

"This is a timeout for us to figure out what's going on there."

From 1986 through 1989, a similar moratorium was in effect along Mountain Road. Redmond said he used that legislation, sponsored by then-Councilman Edward C. Ahern, as a model for the proposed new ban that prevents the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement from approving subdivision plans dated after May 9, 1996.

Residents along Mountain Road have complained that residential development is swamping roads, schools and hampering the ability of ambulances and public-safety personnel to respond quickly to neighborhood emergencies.

More than 18,000 people live in the area affected by the moratorium, which Redmond describes as having "one way in and one way out."

The county has plans to widen Mountain Road, and to build a 2 1/2 -mile bypass route connecting Mountain and Magothy Bridge roads in Lake Shore.

Residents supporting Redmond's bill argued that the road projects would only ease traffic in the short term if new building was left unchecked.

"We should have no subdivisions along Mountain Road whether you widen it or whatever," said Mark Way, who has lived in the neighborhood for four years. "If you live down there, you know this is a problem.

"There should be a moratorium forever."

In other matters, Redmond introduced legislation last night that would amend the section of Anne Arundel's charter setting term limits for the seven council members.

Now council members are prohibited from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms. Redmond's resolution would allow county voters to decide whether council members should be allowed three consecutive terms in office before stepping down.

The measure, which could come up for a council vote later this month, would have the most immediate effect on Evans and Councilman George F. Bachman, a Democrat from Linthicum.

Under current law, Evans and Bachman could not seek re-election once their current terms expire in 1998. The amendment would allow them to run again.

If the council approves the bill, the charter amendment would appear on the November ballot.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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