Foes want appeals panel to stop UMBC research park

March 28, 1997|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Opponents of the UMBC Research Park again have taken their fight to the Baltimore County Board of Appeals, asking the panel to overturn the project that they say will harm their communities.

Yesterday, Thomas E. Dernoga, a lawyer for the opponents, told the board that a hearing officer erred when he approved the 36-acre project because he used a definition of neighborhood that was too limited when he considered the project's compatibility with the surrounding area.

The attorney also argued that the University of Maryland Baltimore County should be required to go through the county's subdivision process to develop the property.

The opponents, including former county Councilwoman Berchie Lee Manley, have been fighting the project for almost a decade. Previously they appeared before the Board of Appeals to argue against a larger version of the project.

Although the university's current plan is smaller than earlier proposals, opponents contend it is still out of character with the Catonsville and Arbutus neighborhoods and will strain the area's sewerage system.

In January, a county hearing officer approved plans to construct four buildings totaling 253,000 square feet. Officials for the county, state and UMBC say the research park will provide up to 750 high-paying jobs in an area that has lost manufacturers.

Tenants will be companies or organizations involved in research and development. They must agree to cooperate with the university by providing jobs or other opportunities to faculty and students.

The Board of Appeals is to issue a decision within three weeks.

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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