Larry Young, Angelos hotel big topics at City Council Members reconvene after two-month recess

January 27, 1998|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Returning after a two-month recess, the Baltimore City Council wasted no time quashing the rumors surrounding the city's two front-burner political issues:

Will expelled state Sen. Larry Young move to the council to replace Keiffer J. Mitchell, who will be appointed to the Senate seat? Will the council seek to block construction of Peter G. Angelos' proposed Inner Harbor convention hotel as it did the Wyndham, the other convention hotel, before approving it after several months?

No to both questions, members said during last night's meeting.

"I'm going on the record," Mitchell said. "I am not interested in [Young's] seat, nor was I ever interested. I do not want to leave."

The rumor mill has been at work over speculation about what would happen to Young, who was expelled from the Senate two weeks ago for ethics violations.

Young and Mitchell live in the 4th Councilmanic District and the 44th Legislative District. Speculation had it that Mitchell would be appointed to the Senate to keep Young's seat warm until Young could run again this year. Meanwhile, Young would wait as a 4th District council appointee.

"I am trying to find out where this rumor came from," Mitchell said. "I have not talked to anyone in the 44th District about my removal from the council."

Council members gave Mitchell an ovation when he said he would remain.

Council members also hinted that Angelos' deal to bring an 850-room Grand Hyatt hotel to Baltimore would easily be approved.

"I would like to approve it now," said Council President Lawrence A. Bell III.

The proposal for the hotel has not been introduced as a bill. Last week, with prodding from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, the city economic development agency voted for the Hyatt.

Angelos has 90 days to negotiate exclusively with Baltimore Development Corp. to come up with a design and public financing terms. The final plans must be approved by the council.

"We are hoping the BDC will move quickly to accommodate the transfer of sale of land," Bell said.

The convention hotel would be built on city-owned land next to the Convention Center.

In other council news, a bill was introduced to create an environmental control board to enforce environmental, health, safety, fire and sanitation regulations.

The control board would hear appeals from residents contesting fines. Deputy Health Commissioner Elias Dorsey said that if the council approved the board, it could be in place by the latter half of the year.

Dorsey said the cost would be about $1 million to begin, but the board would be expected to support itself with revenue from fines.

Pub Date: 1/27/98

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