100 residents voice opposition to Mountain Road subdivision The area cannot sustain more building, they say

December 07, 1997|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

In a scene all too familiar in Pasadena, 100 residents gathered in a firehouse hall Thursday to protest the building of 18 homes off Mountain Road.

Four state delegates, two state senators, one county executive, a dozen county planning officials and three maps surrounded residents as they rose to argue that their peninsula cannot handle one more car, one more house or one more student.

The residents blamed the county Planning Board for approving new homes, the Planning Board blamed the county executive for not funding the expansion of Mountain Road, the county executive blamed state lawmakers for not getting the state to fix the road, and the lawmakers blamed the county executive for not making the road the county's No. 1 priority.

By the end of the evening, residents said it was clear that it will take years, millions of dollars and some serious politicking before anything is done about Mountain Road.

"I agree with you that Mountain Road is a mess," County Executive John G. Gary said during one heated moment. "But instead of people working with us, we come out to these meetings and have crazy people screaming crazy things at us."

Residents came largely to discuss a new 22-acre subdivision between Hickory Point and Long Point roads being built by Cattail Associates that they fear will damage a nearby bog. But that discus- sion soon turned into a generalcall to outlaw more development on Mountain Road.

"There is no accountability for what [planning officials] can do," said resident Mike Mulcahy. "They can issue permits at whim. There should not be any more development. It is as simple as that."

Gary said it was not so simple.

"We'll deny this proposal just like we have denied others," he said, "and the hearing board will uphold the decision. But the circuit court will not. And the reason is because the U.S Constitution puts the value of a person's right to build on their property above your right to deny it."

Planning officials defended themselves by pointing out that Mountain Road is a state road.

But before the state can fix a state road in the county, Del. Joan Cadden said, the county has to tell the state that Mountain Road is its priority.

"If the county does not support us," said Cadden, "the state will not put millions of dollars down here, and that is the bottom line."

Gary said the completion of Route 2 in Edgewater this month will move Mountain Road to second on the county's priority list, but the county's first priority is making Route 32 a highway. He said the county is under intense political pressure from the National Security Agency, which has its headquarters on Route 32, and from state officials who complain about traffic.

A State Highway Administration official told The Sun last month, however, that another project is on the list above Mountain Road -- a connector ramp on Jennifer Road in Parole.

It seems disagreement over whether to expand Mountain Road or build a new road has slowed the process of getting anything done about it, residents and lawmakers have said.

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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