Residents protest development, fear it will damage bog Developer wants to build 18 houses on disputed site

November 30, 1997|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

A group of Pasadena residents says they are determined to stop a development they fear will damage a nearby bog and add even more traffic to notoriously congested Mountain Road.

But despite their opposition, the project is moving ahead.

The 22 acres between Hickory Point and Long Point roads already has the zoning that Cattail Associates needs to build 18 houses. And the Severna Park developer began the process of surveying, financing and collecting permits years ago. The firm waited out the moratorium that banned development on the peninsula and several months ago turned its plans over to the county's Office of Planning and Code Enforcement, which so far has found little wrong beyond a few details.

That didn't stop more than 100 Pasadena residents who packed a county conference room last week to watch what is usually a routine builder's permit hearing and to express their frustration over the development.

"You guys have blown it in the past," Mike Mulcahy, of the Sillery Bay Improvement Association, warned county officials. "And you say 18 homes won't have an impact, but it's everything together that will have an impact. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is not going to work."

Cattail has until late January to address concerns -- at which time the planners can decide whether to approve the project.

Like Mulcahy, most residents argue that Mountain Road cannot handle more traffic from new homes. They also say that runoff from the project will damage a nearby bog -- an acidic swamp that is home to coast sedge and other threatened plant life not found west of Ocean City.

Bogs, like marshes and other wetlands, help remove pollutants from water running into streams that feed Chesapeake Bay. They also provide a haven for rare plants.

Cattail officials say the project won't have the effect residents fear. The company already has set aside money to improve roads, a requirement of county law.

"It's a good project," said Cattail principal W. Kent Stow. "It is well designed, environmentally sound and we are trying to give careful consideration to the neighborhood."

While it seems Cattail has met most of the county's requirements, Mark Wedemeyer of the Planning Board acknowledged he was listening to the residents' complaints.

"We have to entertain what the applicant is proposing," Wedemeyer said. "But we do take [the community's presence] here into consideration. It does have an indirect impact."

In addition, the residents have formed the Mountain Road Preservation Association to add more weight to their cause.

"This project is going to impact this bog," said the association's organizer James Bilenki. "We are being developed to death. When does it stop?"

Pub Date: 11/30/97

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