Bill would require racetrack developers to make their plea at a public hearing Proposal would redefine complex's exception

December 22, 1998|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,Sun Staff

Three members of Anne Arundel County Council introduced legislation last night that would throw a speed bump in the path of developers proposing a 61,600-seat auto racetrack in Pasadena.

The bill proposed by 3rd District Councilwoman A. Shirley Murphy and two other Democrats would require Chesapeake Motorsports Development Corp. to appear before a public hearing before building on bay front land south of Key Bridge.

Murphy's bill would reverse a much-criticized zoning law that the council rushed through in April to allow motor racing complexes as a "conditional use" on land zoned heavy industrial.

The proposal would define race tracks as a "special exception" in heavy industrial zones, requiring the developer to win the approval of the county administrative hearing officer after a public meeting.

"The people of my district don't want the racetrack, and I think this will make them very happy," said Murphy. "Basically, the developers would have to go back and start over all again."

No representatives of Chesapeake Motorsports attended last night's meeting. No date has been set for a vote on Murphy's bill.

The motor sports company needs to win a lease from the owner of the 100 acres of waterfront land, the Maryland Port Authority.

During the November elections, the councilman who sponsored the track legislation, Thomas Redmond of Pasadena, was voted out of office after being widely criticized for not requiring the developers to appear before the county administrative hearing officer.

One of the co-sponsors of Murphy's bill, Council Chairman Daniel Klosterman, said the proposed legislation would not kill the track but would allow more public participation in the decision-making process.

"People felt like this was rammed down their throats," said Klosterman, who represents the 2nd District. "The biggest concern by residents was that they did not get due process. This legislation would allow people to voice their opinions."

The third sponsor of Murphy's bill is 6th District Councilwoman Barbara Samorajczyk.

Pub Date: 12/22/98

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