Neighbors petition to stop building

Linthicum residents fear floods, erosion with development

July 18, 1999|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Residents are worried that a proposed 36-home development would worsen flooding in their Linthicum neighborhood and lead to erosion of an already-damaged stream.

They are urging state and county officials to withhold approvals for the project and are calling for groundwater studies to determine if the site is suitable for construction.

More than 150 homeowners have signed a petition opposing the subdivision planned by Cattail Associates of Severna Park. The developer wants to build Andover Estates on 10 acres west of Hammonds Ferry Road, between Kingwood and Kingbrook roads.

The petition and letters from residents opposing the development have been sent to the Maryland Department of the Environment. The department is reviewing the developer's request to fill in a stream channel that crosses the property, and a decision is expected by the end of the month.

"All of the building around here has played havoc with the ground, and if you have days of real hard rain, the ground gets so saturated that the water won't go anywhere," said Georgianna Fletcher, 75, who has lived in her Hammonds Ferry Road home since 1952.

"It just stands there; it doesn't run off like it used to," said Fletcher, who grew up in the area and remembers when the children used to wade in the Kingwood Road tributary.

"I know when I was a kid we used to play in the stream and it wasn't very wide or deep," she said. "Now, the stream has gotten much wider and much deeper. It's just a bad situation."

The developer is awaiting final approval of a subdivision site plan from county zoning officials. Neither Cattail Associates nor the county could be reached for comment.

Kingwood Road residents maintain that storm water runoff from residential development has already made lawns soggy and flooded their basements. They argue that clearing more land will take away the last remaining natural drainage.

Homeowners object to the developer's plans to fill in the stream and replace it with a storm water management pond. The proposed development is on the Kingwood Road tributary.

Residents say that the stream has severely eroded over the years, and the county allocated $555,000 in the current budget to restore it.

In a letter opposing the development, the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association wrote that the health of the Kingwood Road tributary is of paramount concern.

"As a community we are deeply troubled by the possibility of adding yet another development near the tributary," the letter says. "This stream plays an unquestionably important role in the community by providing several of our neighborhoods with a path for storm water drainage."

County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle has joined residents in efforts to stop the development. She said the narrow, steep property is unsuitable for development, and that it should remain open space.

"When you walk the property, it just doesn't make sense," Beidle said.

In their letters to state environmental officials, residents wrote of spending thousands of dollars to deal with flooded basements, sinking patios and saturated back yards.

"My basement has water leaking in with every rainstorm," wrote Dorothy Osmanski, a Kingwood Road resident since 1925. "I am getting ready to add several loads of fill dirt to my front yard, as it is sinking."

One couple told of spending more than $10,000 on landscaping, waterproofing their basements and installing underground drains.

Residents are pressing the state and county to do a groundwater survey, contending that the land to be developed contains underground streams, springs and sinkholes, and that grading will reroute the natural flow of the water.

"You cannot analyze this as a surface water problem," said Thomas A. Deming, an attorney hired by the residents. "You have to look at the groundwater hydro- logy as well."

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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