Plans for access path bring flood of complaints Residents say proposal would worsen problems on Glen Arm Road

June 25, 1998|By Jamie Smith | Jamie Smith,SUN STAFF

Every time a major storm washes through Glen Arm, a branch of Cowen Run floods. And every time it floods, drivers -- faced with a waterlogged Glen Arm Road -- must travel miles out of their way or risk plowing through.

Residents have long fought government officials over the issue, contending the problem could be fixed. Now they are battling a gravel access road under construction, which they believe will worsen the situation.

The road is being built in the 11300 block of Glen Arm Road by resident James Novak, who said he simply wants to reach his landlocked property. But Charlotte Pine, president of Long Green Valley Association, said the road is too close to the stream.

Residents believe that rushing water from heavy storms would sweep the gravel into Cowen Run branch, which is less than 10 feet away in spots, and plug a culvert that allows the stream to pass under Glen Arm Road.

"I don't know how he [Novak] is going to build a road by Cowen Run without ruining Cowen Run, and if Cowen Run is blocked, we'll all suffer," said Stanley Pollack, president of Summerfield Farms Association.

Most recently, the Cowen Run branch gushed over its culvert and onto Glen Arm Road on June 13, inconveniencing local residents as well as motorists en route to Harford County.

Representatives from the two community associations are expected to meet with state Department of the Environment officials today and ask them to consider alternative sites for the access road.

Novak, who is building the road to Glen Arm Road from 2 acres of property he rents, thinks his project won't add to the flooding problem. "All we're doing is just spreading gravel," he said. "That's not going to hurt anything. This is just standard procedure."

Pollack said he is sympathetic to Novak's situation but worries that the flow of traffic on Glen Arm Road -- which he calls "our artery into the rest of the world" -- could be affected by the access road if its gravel is carried into the stream.

Department of Environment spokesman Quentin W. Banks said the new roadway would not exacerbate the flooding. "Our guys don't see a problem," he said.

Resident Virginia Sarant, whose property would be divided by the road, said she offered in January to let Novak build it 180 feet away from the area, off a paved road she owns. Last week, Long Green Valley Association members voted unanimously to support that plan.

But Charles Lamasa, an attorney representing Woolford Realty Services, which owns the land Novak is renting, said the alternative was too long and narrow, and posed other problems. Woolford, he countered, offered to use a nearby dirt road that runs through Sarant's property, but was rebuffed.

Glen Arm residents say they only want to avert flooding. "Anything that blocks Glen Arm Road is a major disaster for everybody," said Pollack.

Pub Date: 6/25/98

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