Anne Arundel, Annapolis examine joint approach to problems in common

Conference set May 7 is first step, officials say

April 25, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County and Annapolis officials will hold a joint conference next month, inviting urban growth experts and community leaders to figure out how the two governments together can plan development and solve traffic congestion.

Holding hands in light-hearted symbolism of their partnership and occasionally completing each other's sentences, County Executive Janet S. Owens and Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson announced Friday the Annapolis Regional Planning Conference on May 7, the first such gathering in city and county history.

"Crime, culture, community, and I would add, cars, don't observe county or city lines," Johnson said.

"We are partners and we are wending our way into the future, and we have to figure out a way to do it better," Owens said.

The idea for a conference grew out of discussions at Annapolis Neck Small Area Planning Committee meetings last spring and fall, at which residents complained that officials sometimes did not communicate with each other on development near the city-county line.

"There's been a lot of concern about issues of traffic congestion," said Robert W. Corbett, a member of the Annapolis Neck committee and co-chairman of the regional conference. "The idea that the city could annex land and develop it to a higher density and impact county roads, for example."

Corbett and Co-chairman Charles E. Lamb, who also was co-chairman of Owens' Land Use Transition Team, have been planning the conference since December.

They have lined up experts, including Jonathan Barnett, an architect, author of regional planning books and consultant to Cleveland and Washington; David Rusk, author of "Cities Without Suburbs, Baltimore Unbound" and former mayor of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Bruce Katz, senior fellow and director of the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Organizers hope that participants will learn about regional planning in other areas, identify problems in the Annapolis area and figure out a "regional perspective" in land use, transportation, housing, economic development and environmental planning.

Owens and Johnson pointed to transportation as the likely main topic of discussion.

"There will be no trouble at all talking about that one all day," Johnson said.

Organizers say invitations were sent to hundreds of developers, planners and residents, and 100 participants have signed up so far.

"It's going to be public recognition of the fact that both jurisdictions want to work together, recognizing that we're in the same boat," said Johnson.

Pub Date: 4/25/99

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