Despite the protests of neighbors, the Anne Arundel County Council lifted yesterday a year-old moratorium on the construction of subdivisions on the traffic-clogged Mountain Road peninsula.
The decision means developers can plow ahead with plans to build in the community, including one proposal to raise 17 upscale houses on Mountain Road near Hickory Point Road.
"They are going to drown us in construction all the way down to the Magothy River," Sharon Long, a 54-year-old Pasadena saleswoman, said as she left the council meeting.
Developers said they are happy that the county has lifted the freeze, which they described as unfair to builders and ineffective in solving the traffic problems on Mountain Road.
Advocates of extending the moratorium for another year argued that the county needed more time to consider whether to widen Mountain Road, build a bypass or change its long-term plan for development in the area.
The dead-end road leads through the booming Pasadena peninsula to Gibson Island. The 14,225 residents of the peninsula drive the two-lane road 28,000 times a day, creating traffic jams that some residents worry could slow ambulance service in an emergency.
From 1984 to 1989 and again in 1996, the county imposed moratoriums on the construction of subdivisions for more than a mile on either side of Mountain Road from Woods Road to the end of Mountain Road at Gibson Island. The latest freeze was supposed to have lasted a year, with an expiration date yesterday.
New class of zoning
But County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond, a Democrat from Pasadena, asked the council yesterday for a one-year extension.
Redmond said that with the extra time, the county could consider creating a new class of zoning for peninsulas that would limit growth on the sensitive lands so that their roads wouldn't be crowded or their environments damaged by overpopulation.
"We have thousands of people on a peninsula with only one way in and one way out," Redmond told the council. "And we still haven't come up with a solution as to what we should do to relieve the traffic problem."
The county is studying whether it should build a controversial 2.5-mile bypass that would run parallel to Mountain Road and relieve some congestion. Another possibility is widening the road.
The council voted 4-3 against Redmond's request for an extension, with council Chairwoman Diane R. Evans casting the deciding vote.
Also opposing the extension were Councilmen James DeGrange, a Glen Burnie Democrat; William C. Mulford II, an Annapolis Republican; and John J. Klocko III, a Crofton Republican.
Voting with Redmond in support of the extension were George F. Bachman, a Linthicum Democrat, and Bert L. Rice, an Odenton Republican.
Evans, a Republican from Arnold, said that moratoriums are meant to be temporary.
"My concern is that by continuing the moratorium, we would be giving the citizens a false sense of hope and not doing anything to actually solve the problem," Evans said.
Kent Stow, a principal of Cattail Associates development company in Severna Park, said he is overjoyed that the freeze has been lifted. He said this means he can go ahead with plans to build 17 homes on 23 acres near Hickory Point and Mountain roads as early as the summer of 1998.
"Obviously, this is a victory for justice and the American way of life," he said.
Local residents had a different perspective. "Obviously, with all the developers licking their chops over this, they are going to take advantage of it," said Carolyn Roeding, president of the Greater Pasadena Council.
"This is prime waterfront real estate. And now the flood gates have opened."
Pub Date: 5/09/97