Herson, neighbors battling over ramp proposal Marina owner aims to build access to Perry Cove

September 20, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Jerry Herson and his neighbors are still at odds.

Herson, who owns Pleasure Marine Center in the 1700 block of Poplar Ridge Road, has run into stiff opposition from representatives of community associations, who continue to resist his plan to build ramp access to Perry Cove off Main Creek.

First, he offered to move the ramps from the cove into the creek. Then, he reduced the number of ramps from five to one, though the single ramp would have been wide enough to accommodate six boats at a time.

Finally, he asked for permission to allow boaters to use multilevel boat racks to alleviate possible traffic congestion.

But he was rebuffed on all three counts.

"We're trying to work this out," said Herson, owner of the marina near Bodkin Creek in Pasadena. "We still believe that there are an awful lot of people who would like to get access to the water. We haven't given up on this."

"But neither have we," said Brantley Marshall of the Bodkin Creek Coalition, a 1,500-homeowner group protecting many of the Pasadena creeks that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.

Last January, Herson proposed building five new boat ramps on 10 acres of waterfront on the Perry Cove side of Main Creek, just northwest of the marina. The plan also called for 10 new boat slips and a 140-vehicle parking lot. The ramps would have cost about $400,000 and were to have been completed next spring.

But outcry from residents of surrounding neighborhoods about potential traffic congestion and environmental damage prompted Herson to rework his project. Four weeks ago, he approached Marshall and state and county officials with a new plan.

Marshall and other coalition officials applauded Herson's proposal to move the site because that would reduce the impact watercraft would have on an area that state environment officials have called a "valuable habitat" for yellow perch.

"Maybe the fish have a chance to live now," said Marshall, who also is president of the Poplar Ridge Improvement Association.

But community leaders and state officials, including Anne Arundel's state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno and Del. Joan Cadden, were not happy when they learned about the six-boat ramp.

Poplar Ridge Road "is just too small to handle the volume of cars and boats" that would be generated by the ramp, Jimeno said, adding, "Until they address the traffic concerns, the community still stands in opposition, and we join them in opposition."

And Marshall reminded Herson that a 1989 covenant signed by the marina's original owner, Richard Carback, prohibited the use of multilevel boat trailers.

"Can you imagine the traffic that would be created on this creek and these roads?" Marshall asked rhetorically. "This is not just the place for a 'boat-el.' "

But Herson challenged the notion that every boater would use the ramps on the same day. He said no more than 20 percent of boat owners at his marina use their crafts at the same time.

And he noted that some citizens and groups such as the Pasadena Sportfishing Group need public boat ramps that are closer than those at Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis.

"I was born in this county, and I'm trying to give back to the county," said Herson, who was raised in Woodland Beach in southern Anne Arundel. "I think the final project could be something that the communities and ourselves could be proud of."

Both sides pledged to continue discussions.

"If we can maintain an open dialogue, I think we have a good chance of doing things beneficial to all parties," Herson said.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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