Riverdale Baptist doesn't care for DavidsonvilleRiverdale...


April 06, 1997

Riverdale Baptist doesn't care for Davidsonville

Riverdale Baptist Church is attempting to manipulate the current Anne Arundel County zoning law in order to avoid submitting plans to the county's special exception process.

The new zoning law requires any project proposed for a rural area with approximately 250 parking spaces to submit to a special exception hearing, a process that requires public hearings, traffic impact studies, noise/nuisance studies and community impact studies. Unfortunately, the leaders of Riverdale Baptist Church believe they are above the law and are doing everything they can to circumvent it.

It is time for the people of Anne Arundel County to be given the facts regarding Riverdale's actions. This Prince George's County organization spent in excess of $100,000 in an attempt to block and defeat County Council Bill 93-96, the law that now requires Riverdale to submit plans to special exception.

The leaders of the church even attempted to force a referendum on the law by collecting signatures on petitions at the Annapolis Mall. It is to the credit of the residents of Anne Arundel County that they failed at both endeavors.

The proposed megachurch complex that Riverdale Baptist Church is threatening to inflict on Davidsonville is a large project by any definition. The proposed 99-foot-tall sanctuary contains 1,736 seats. This number does not include seating for the 100-member choir and the 35-piece church band, a 323-seat chapel for "small weddings," a fellowship hall/cafeteria with a capacity for more than 1,000 people, and educational facilities .. for 800 people. The plans call for six showers, a ticket booth, a bookstore, the paving of more than six acres and the destruction of more than one acre of forest for septic fields. The septic system is designed to process 41,650 gallons per week.

"Phase 2" plans call for a fitness center with a basketball court, four racquetball courts, four additional showers, an indoor swimming pool, increased sanctuary capacity for up to 2,200 seats, two more stories added to the education center to increase the educational facility capacity to 1,200 and an estimated 3.5 additional acres of black-topped parking.

Remember these facts the next time a spokesman for Riverdale Baptist Church professes the "desire to to work with the community" as they "downsize" their project. In fact, Riverdale Baptist Church has exhibited no concern for the residents of Davidsonville and the impact this enormous facility would have. Riverdale believes it can build a huge project with impunity and remove any obstacles by throwing expensive lawyers and lobbyists into the picture.

Riverdale Baptist Church is in the process of "rearranging" the complex in an attempt to avoid the special exception process. It is up to the planning and zoning administration of Anne Arundel County to reject such tactics and protect the residents of Davidsonville by requiring Riverdale Baptist to obey the law and submit to the special exception process.

Lynn Cara Schwalje


Thanks, BGE flack, for fly-ash comments

I would like to extend my thanks to Nancy H. Caplan, public information representative for BGE.

In The Sun in Anne Arundel on March 5, she is quoted as saying, "There's been extensive research done, and fly-ash is a benign material." Then in the Maryland Gazette on March 19, she claims that public opposition is just another case of the "not-in-my-backyard theory." After years of tedious, time-consuming battles with BGE over this massive dump, it is tough keeping the average citizen energized. However, Mrs. Caplan's uninformed, insensitive and arrogant comments are nothing short of inspirational.

Looking down from the lofty fly-ash piles that continue to press in on our tiny communities "backyards," her words incite me.

From that high vista, I can see nearly all of Solley, the churches, the new school, the homes (not just houses), third- and fourth-generation families, all facing a growing crisis. When BGE finishes dumping millions of cubic tons onto hundreds of acres surrounding our community, the final chapter in the destruction of a once beautiful peninsula will have been written.

But BGE's "benign" fly-ash dump will not have been solely responsible. Anne Arundel County's on-going complicity in trashing the entire Marley Neck peninsula will be a legacy to our children and their children.

Our area is graced with a leaking hazardous-waste fill, a medical waste incinerator and massive landfill, courtesy of Baltimore City, junkyards and the soon-to-be built prison, not to mention various and sundry industrial polluters.

My wife believes that every room needs a trash can. Perhaps that is true for every county as well. And we are apparently it!

Carl Hackmann

Riviera Beach

Compensation for the Orioles? Why?

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