Owens removes committee chairman after his angry e-mail...

ARUNDEL DIGEST

January 10, 2001

Owens removes committee chairman after his angry e-mail

County Executive Janet S. Owens has removed the combative chairman of a committee advising the county on how to turn the former David Taylor Research Center into a $250 million high-tech office park on the Severn River.

Owens sacked Steve Carr, whom she appointed, after he sent an angry e-mail to County Council members and others. Carr complained that the council had ignored residents by defeating amendments to a zoning bill deemed essential to the conversion.

"The e-mail was so inflammatory it was clear Steve had lost the kind of objectivity it takes to be chairman," Owens said yesterday. She said he had been her ally on the project until a recent "180-degree flip-flop." Carr and others worry about traffic impacts.

"This will come back to haunt you, my friends," Carr wrote in the e-mail, saying the council was on a "course of action that will ruin our lives." He wrote that "each of you is a hopeless cause - consider this bridge burned. Good riddance!" He concluded with: "What Goes Around, Comes Around."

Owens said, "I can't have a chairman I appointed threatening people. That is just inappropriate, not professional."

Carr is in Scotland and could not be reached for comment yesterday. Owens has not appointed a new chairman.

Annapolis council defeats road-repaving proposal

On a 6-3 vote, the Annapolis city council rejected Monday night a proposal that would have allotted $1.25 million this year to repave all city roads that are scheduled for the work through 2005.

The measure, introduced by Aldermen Herbert H. McMillan, a Ward 5 Republican, and Louise Hammond, a Ward 1 Democrat, would have appropriated more than one-fifth of the city's $5.68 million surplus from fiscal 2000 toward repaving parts of more than 30 city roads.

"To deny that we are behind in this area is to stick your head in the ground like an ostrich," McMillan told the council.

McMillan and Hammond were able to garner the support of one other member, Alderman Sheila M. Tolliver, a Ward 2 Democrat. Other aldermen said the matter should be handled during the regular budget process that begins this spring and that the surplus should be used instead of borrowing money for other scheduled capital projects.

Report on impact fees made public on Internet

A citizen committee's report to County Executive Janet S. Owens recommending the first increase in development impact fees in 13 years has been made available for public review on the Internet at www.aacounty.org.

Representing business, civic and environmental groups, the 14-member panel, appointed by Owens and led by St. John's College President Christopher B. Nelson, suggested that the county increase the fees collected to offset the impact of new construction on roads and schools by nearly 51 percent.

"The committee is right," Owens said. "After 13 years, we need to adjust the fees to make sure that new homes and businesses pay for their share of the county's infrastructure."

The county collects impact fees when it issues building permits for homes, offices, shopping centers and other construction that would have an impact on schools and roads.

The county collects a $2,096 school impact fee and $533 transportation impact fee for every new, single-family home that is permitted.

Maryland Relay stages quiz show on its services

The game prizes are not as large, but Maryland Relay - the public service interactive telecommunications system for people with impaired hearing or speech - is staging a road show modeled on the popular "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" to publicize its services.

The show will be staged from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at Annapolis High School, 2700 Riva Road, with what Maryland Relay describes as its "Regis Philbinish host" quizzing contestants about the services.

Maryland Relay enables those who are deaf, deaf and blind, hard of hearing or speech disabled to communicate using text telephones (TTY) through specially trained operators.

The show is scheduled to tour 14 towns through April, with contestants selected from the audience and challenged to answer multiple-choice questions.

"Just like the television show, contestants will have three lifelines, and each time a correct answer is chosen, the contestant will win a prize," said the show's monochrome-suited, deaf master of ceremonies, Randy Murbach, account manager at Maryland Relay.

Prizes will include prepaid long-distance calling cards and gift certificates for area retail establishments.

The free program will be signed with voice interpretation. Information: 800-552-7724 TTY/V, or www.mdrelay.org.

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