Council contest offers choices

Six candidates in race for 2 seats differ on traffic problem

One candidate for mayor

May 17, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Manchester Councilman Christopher B. D'Amario is running unopposed for mayor in tomorrow's municipal election, but voters will choose among six candidates for two open Town Council seats.

D'Amario, 37, a forensic chemist for the Baltimore County Police Department, has served on the council for four years. He will succeed Mayor Elmer C. Lippy, 78, who is not seeking re-election because of health concerns.

D'Amario's council seat is open. Incumbent James J. Singer is running for re-election.

Others in the council race are Mark J. Mangieri, Mary E. Minderlein, A. Geoffrey Rice and Ryan M. Warner. Howard Grundland filed to run, and then withdrew, but was persuaded to stay in the race.

The candidates have focused on quality of life issues. Most have included traffic congestion, water and wastewater infrastructure improvements and community involvement in stemming nuisance crimes on their campaign agendas.

Incorporated in 1834, Manchester's roots are distinctly agricultural. The town still has no fast-food restaurants. The population has climbed to 3,200 and is expected to reach 5,000 within 20 years. There are 1,459 registered voters, town election supervisors said.

Manchester has mostly been a place for 18,000 motorists to pass through. Many are traveling between Baltimore and Hanover, Pa., along Route 30, called Main Street in Manchester and Hanover Pike outside town.

When Interstate 795, dubbed the Northwest Expressway, opened in 1986, it linked the Baltimore Beltway to the Hanover Pike, but it also turned Manchester's quiet two-lane Main Street into a virtual parking lot during morning and evening rush hours.

A proposed bypass, rejected by town officials 15 years ago, is now seen as an essential solution to the congestion problem, but the candidates have slightly different opinions on accomplishing the task.

Seeking his second elected term, Singer, 68, a retired machine tool operator, favors a two-lane extension of I-795. He wants the town to take advantage of any state and federal funding that would afford a reasonable solution to alleviate the gridlock.

The state is proposing parking restrictions and left-turn lanes to ease traffic flow, measures consistent with Gov. Parris N. Glendening's Smart Growth initiative. The governor removed the project from the state's Master Plan because he said it would encourage suburban sprawl.

While not wanting to turn down any state quick-fix proposals, Rice, Mangieri, Minderlein, Warner and Grundland favor a limited access four-lane bypass.

"We have to keep pestering until the governor gets [the Manchester bypass] back into the state's Master Plan, and we need to continue doing whatever it takes now to find suitable options until a bypass can be built," said Rice.

Rice, 34, is a traffic engineer for Baltimore County and chairman of the town's Board of Zoning Appeals.

Counting a previous special election for a vacant seat, this is Rice's fourth run for office. He favors adoption of a five-year capital budget to ensure that money is available to make repairs and maintain public services.

He also wants to update the town charter, noting that some ordinances are outdated and don't cover zoning for home day care businesses or residential care facilities, for example.

Mangieri, 38, is a quality engineer who has not run for office previously. He said the bypass is the most prominent issue, but is probably never going to get the governor's support. He wonders if people are willing to make sacrifices, such as giving up downtown parking, to alleviate congestion.

Mangieri said water tops his list of priorities and he would favor hiring experts to accelerate the timetable for finding water sources.

He endorses speed bumps and increased police radar operations on neighborhood streets, and community watch programs to curb vandalism.

Minderlein, 44, is a pension plan administrator. She said she would bring 20 years of business experience -- budget and planning management skills -- to the council.

She favors preserving the town's rural character by maintaining agricultural and conservation zoning along the proposed bypass route.

Warner, 24, is a legislative aide to Carroll Del. Joseph M. Getty, an elected member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

Besides favoring a bypass and a search for water sources, Warner wants to revise the town code, especially with regard to development. He supports adding an additional officer to expand police coverage and reduce juvenile crime. He also wants to initiate public discussion on adding fluoride to town water.

Grundland, 49, is a sales representative for the floor-covering division of Sherwin-Williams Co.

After filing to run for the council, Grundland announced his withdrawal, saying he was heavily involved in other matters. Friends have asked him to stay in the race, and he said he will accept a council seat if elected.

Grundland said growth and quality of life are intertwined.

"We need foresight," he said. "Don't do today what might hurt those living here 15 to 20 years from now. Let's benefit from our decisions today, but also think long term."

He says he sees himself as less political than some of his opponents and able to offer a fresh perspective.

The polls will be open for registered voters from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Town Hall, 3208 York St.

Pub Date: 5/17/99

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