Mayo-Edgewater plan panned

100 attend meeting

development will hurt community, critics say

July 20, 1999|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Residents of the Edgewater-Mayo area told the county Planning Advisory Board last night that too much commercial development and new housing construction would destroy their tightly knit southern Anne Arundel County community.

They complained that former County Executive John G. Gary did not choose anyone from their community organization to sit on the Edgewater-Mayo Small Area Planning Committee, which has drafted a proposal for land use, zoning, road and community improvements, and environmental safeguards.

Many of the more than 100 residents who attended the hearing at the Board of Education on Riva Road live in Londontown or are members of the local property owners association.

They applauded when several of the speakers testified that the proposal calls for too much commercial development that would lead to clogged roads.

"The Edgewater-Mayo Small Area Planning Committee has spent 18 months on a plan that would destroy the very roots upon which our community has been built," said Royce Ball of Londontown.

Ball said the community, built in 1932, attracted people who wanted to escape the ills of suburban sprawl such as commercial overdevelopment, traffic jams and crowded schools.

"But today, our community faces this same intrusion of unwanted commercial development," he said.

According to the committee's plan, Mayo Road and Route 2 are the most developed commercial corridors in the area and form a central business district that panel members said needs to be revitalized.

Panel members recommended improvements along Route 2, including sidewalks and bike lanes, and improving building facades, signs and parking. The committee called for a "pedestrian-friendly roadway" along Mayo Road through the center of town that would be redeveloped as a "true village center" for Edgewater.

The committee also recommended setting up a nonprofit organization to help business development and expansion.

Other residents told the board that local schools were crowded and new housing development would mean more school-age children.

"Where will these children go to school," said Jean Capps, a 20-year area resident.

"They [county officials] tried to tell me that only 34 children from a new 167-townhouse community would be attending our schools."

Last night's meeting was one of the final steps in a two-year process of evaluating neighborhoods for a comprehensive county zoning plan.

The Edgewater-Mayo Small Area Planning Committee, a 15-member group appointed by Gary, finished drafting its plan this year and submitted it to the Planning Advisory Board for its recommendations.

Six of the 16 Small Area Planning Committees have drafted plans and made recommendations to the Planning Advisory Board, a seven-member group appointed by the county executive.

When the 16 plans are complete, County Executive Janet S. Owens will propose a comprehensive land use-zoning plan, which has to be approved by the County Council.

The Planning Advisory Board has postponed hearings on the plans for Crofton, Crownsville and Annapolis Neck.

The meetings were originally scheduled for this month, but the board decided that it needed more time to review plans from other areas.

New hearings for Crofton, Crownsville and Annapolis Neck have not been announced.

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