Residents reject footbridge, facilities, wider roads, other proposed projects

About 130 attend hearing by the Planning Board

February 04, 2000|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Thanks but no thanks.

That was the message from Howard County residents who showed up at a Planning Board hearing last night in Ellicott City.

Don't build a footbridge in Gorman Park in North Laurel, they told officials.

Don't widen Dorsey Run Road.

Don't build too many facilities and ball fields in Western Regional Park in Glenwood.

Don't build a golf course in West Friendship.

Don't put in more storm drains in Font Hill.

Don't widen Whiskey Bottom Road.

There were a few projects residents wanted.

Do build a new instruction building and renovate the gym at Howard Community College.

Improve road access from the River's Edge community to U.S. 29 near Route 32. "It's worth your life to get out sometimes," said Gary and Donna Greenwald, River's Edge residents.

About 130 residents attended the hearing in County Council chambers, where Raymond S. Wacks, the county budget director, told them that not all proposed capital projects will be approved.

The county has received $189 million in capital requests from its agencies, including $53 million sought for school projects. Many of the proposals won't be recommended to County Executive James N. Robey, and he will cut some that do cross his desk.

This year's capital budget is $98 million.

"Somebody has asked for each of these projects. But if there's significant opposition, it probably won't happen. That's what the process is for," Wacks said.

That's fine with William Colleary, 71, of Font Hill.

His back yard on Pierce Drive gets wet after a big storm, but he's lived there for 35 years, he told the board, and it's to be expected.

"That's what was nice about Howard County in those days," Colleary said. "It was rural. It's too crowded now."

Colleary said a storm drain project would bring noise, disruption and heavy equipment to Font Hill. He promised to return to budget hearings each year to oppose such proposals.

Bruce Land, president of North Gate Woods Community Association, a group of 72 homes on Whiskey Bottom Road, said a curve is the problem with the roadway, not its width.

If the county widens Whiskey Bottom, Land said, the people who have suffered a pickup truck crashing into their living rooms, or found their cars on the front porch one night will have even more such disruptions.

"Something needs to be done," Land said, but not widening the road.

Ed Litzenberger of Kindler Road in Laurel was among a group of residents who opposed construction of a footbridge from Kings Contrivance to their neighborhood across Gorman Park.

"This has become a major party site. We have beer cans, campfire sites, trash and deer carcasses," Litzenberger said.

Add a bridge and the problems will grow, Litzenberger and his angry neighbors said.

Laurence Moore, owner of Larriland Farms on Route 94 in Woodbine, told the panel he was around when Route 32 was first paved, and when the county had no snow removal machines and farmers like himself cleared the roads.

Moore supported a new regional park in Glenwood but, he said, don't fill it with features, such as big picnic pavilions, which will hurt farms like his that also provide recreational activities.

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