Anne Arundel Co. executive warns racetrack opposition could backfire

January 22, 1998|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Driving away the developers who want to build a racetrack north of Russett could backfire because a plastics factory might be built in its place, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary said yesterday.

Gary's words of caution came a day after a majority of County Council members said they oppose a zoning law change sought by the Middle River Racing Association to build a 54,800-seat track on Route 32.

The loss of political support resulted from a public meeting Monday during which hundreds of Russett residents protested the project's potential traffic, noise and pollution.

"I don't care if the track is built there or not," said Gary, who has not taken a position on the zoning law change sought by the developers.

"But the people need to realize that land is zoned for heavy industry," Gary said. "And if the track doesn't end up there, you could have a manufacturing plant built there with 1,000 or 2,000 employees working on two shifts, seven days a week."

Encouraging the racing association to build at that location might create more traffic congestion for Russett than the current site, because the entrance to the subdivision is on Route 198, Gary said.

"The people of Russett shouldn't have their heads in the sand," Gary said. "They could end up with a double whammy, an industrial plant next door and the racetrack near by in Prince George's County."

A Toronto-based company, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., has expressed interest in the Route 32 site for a plant to build machines that make plastic containers, said William A. Badger Jr. of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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