Third move's a charm for homeowner Razing: An Owings Mills woman is selling her home to the government, for the third time, to make way for a highway. She's relieved to be leaving the growing area.

December 15, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

What are the odds?

When Ruth Gilvickas moves from Owings Mills to Westminster next month to make way for a $6.5 million Baltimore County highway, it will be the third time she's had to sell her home to the government.

Baltimore County officials plan to pay the retired saleswoman $199,000 for her modest one-story house on Lyons Mill Road so (( that it can be razed to make way for a 1.5-mile extension of Owings Mills Boulevard.

The four-lane artery -- which is the focus of a feud between the county and a group of neighboring homeowners -- would connect Lyons Mill Road with Liberty Road when it is completed in 2005, county officials said.

For Gilvickas, it is a relief to move from the home she purchased in 1978 because she will leave behind the traffic and noise that has accompanied Owings Mills' growth during the past decade.

"Just to get away from here is going to be nice," she said.

It is not the first time for such a move.

Gilvickas sold a house in Baltimore when the city needed her land to build a football stadium for Walbrook High School in the mid-1960s, she said.

She moved to the Villa Nova section of Baltimore County, where the home she bought was in a flood plain. When Tropical Storm Agnes caused extensive flooding in 1972, Gilvickas sold that house to Baltimore County after the government offered buyouts to homeowners in flood-prone areas.

This time, Gilvickas said she learned the highway was coming through her property from a neighbor about six years ago.

"I just can't seem to get away from the government. They're everywhere I want to be," said Gilvickas, 72.

Gilvickas, whose husband died six months after the couple moved to Owings Mills in 1979, said the explosive growth in Owings Mills New Town has made life miserable for her and her brother, an 80-year-old retired carpenter who shares the house with her.

"With all the traffic and all the growth and development that's gone on, it's added stress in my life at a time when I don't need it," she said.

Traffic from Owings Mills New Town, which is about a mile north of their home, keeps Gilvickas and her brother, Roland Carman, "trapped" in their house until after 9 a.m. each day, she said.

"I mean to tell you it is bumper-to-bumper in the morning," said Carman, who moved in with his sister several years ago.

Police, fire and ambulance sirens from Owings Mills awaken them at least one or two nights each week, they say. The woods near their home also have been transformed into $200,000 houses, and construction work from highways and homes has ruined their well water, they say, so they drink bottled water.

The highway also has upset residents of Lyonswood, a community of 150 homes that will be split in two by its construction and has been fighting it for several years.

"We're worried about accidents and crime and pollution and whether our kids are safe," said Donna Lisa McClendon, a lawyer who has lived in Lyonswood for five years.

County officials say the highway is a much-needed artery that will carry 45,000 vehicles a day, serve a community of 40,000 residents, and has been documented in county plans as far back as the 1970s.

"Traffic in the Owings Mills community will become intolerable without this road," Charles R. "Bob" Olsen, county public works director, wrote in an Aug. 21 memo that outlines the highway's history.

County Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, a Republican whose district includes the Owings Mills corridor, said he hopes to appoint a panel of planners and community leaders early next year to look for ways to minimize problems created by the highway and to recommend overall improvements in Owings Mills.

County officials say improving Owings Mills is the reason they plan to purchase the Gilvickas property. The County Council is expected to approve the purchase next month.

"It's a shame we have to do it, but we're going to have gridlock there if we don't do something," McIntire said.

Pub Date: 12/15/98

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