Panel endorses Wagner's Point buyout plan Bill still needs approval from council, Schmoke

November 07, 1998|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

In another step toward the buyout of 94 properties in the Wagner's Point section of Baltimore, the city's Planning Commission has endorsed a City Council bill that would allow the purchase as part of an effort to expand a sewage plant.

The commission's endorsement Thursday night was one of several hurdles the measure must clear. The City Council bill must be reviewed and approved by the council and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who introduced the bill two weeks ago.

Schmoke wants the city to buy the properties in Wagner's Point by negotiated settlement or by eminent domain, in which the city would take the properties after compensating the owners. Schmoke has said that the Department of Public Works needs the land to expand the Patapsco Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The bill has fueled a dispute between the mayor and some of the 270 Wagner's Point residents. The residents have asked the city to buy their homes, but they want to negotiate a purchase and relocation package rather than have the city condemn the properties.

Residents, worried by pollution and cancer cases, said they fear that if the homes are condemned, they won't get good deals when they sell. Small groups have held rallies, hoping to win support for a negotiated settlement.

Schmoke said he wants to help residents move but that he believes eminent domain is the fastest way.

Pub Date: 11/07/98

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