Howard Week

January 14, 2001

Montgomery Road residents fight plan for senior housing

The new houses would not likely attract late-night parties, skateboard rallies or garage bands - not with seniors living in them. But residents along Montgomery Road in Elkridge are nevertheless opposed to a retirement community planned for their area.

In what has become a recurring scenario in Howard County, where the elderly population is surging, homeowners along the busy byway are fighting a proposal to build housing for "active seniors" adjacent to Rockburn Branch Park.

Opponents say the 21 small, detached homes, which would sell for about $200,000 each, would be out of place in a neighborhood of large homes in the $350,000 range. The dispute over the development, proposed as Rockburn Woods and scheduled for a county Planning Board hearing Thursday, is yet another episode in the county's effort to expand senior housing options in the area.

County police ask for help in burglaries investigation

Howard County police are investigating a spate of burglaries in the Ellicott City and Elkridge areas that they believe were committed by the same people.

No arrests have been made, and police say they do not have any suspects. On Jan. 5, the department issued a call for help from county residents in solving the crimes.

The roughly 20 burglaries and burglary attempts have occurred within a limited area and share characteristics, police said.

Residents oppose plan for Key property roads

In a sign that the developer of the Key property in southern Howard County has a way to go in winning over neighbors, more than 60 worried residents turned out Monday night to voice concerns about the developer's planned upgrade of area roads.

The developer, Rouse Co. affiliate Howard Research and Development, is seeking state and county permission to add an access point from the Key property in North Laurel to Route 216 between the Interstate 95 interchange and the intersection with All Saints Road.

But many of those attending Monday night's information session at Laurel Woods Elementary School hope to block the work, or at least delay it.

Wilde Lake residents meet with school officials

On Tuesday night, Wilde Lake residents held a forum to discuss a topic they can't seem to get enough of - education.

"We're having this to hopefully pull together the community and the people who are making decisions about the future of our schools," said Joshua Feldmesser, chairman of the Wilde Lake Village Board.

Board members invited leaders of the four schools inside Wilde Lake's borders - Bryant Woods and Running Brook elementary schools, Wilde Lake Middle and Wilde Lake High - all five school board members, members of the Leadership Committee on School Equity and Superintendent John R. O'Rourke to speak at a town meeting at Slayton House in the village center. About 80 people showed up to hear and be heard.

Plan for lighted fields at park sparks debate

If five athletic fields included in the proposed Western Regional Park in Glenwood are equipped with lights, the rural atmosphere of the area will be lost, residents of the Howard community say.

People in favor of the lighted fields say it would help ease the lack of recreation space for thousands of county children who are involved in organized sports by extending hours of use.

About 200 people debated the issue at a public meeting Wednesday night across Carrs Mill Road from the parkland.

CA hopefuls' withdrawal angers Columbia residents

Dozens of angry residents confronted the Columbia Council Thursday night over its derailed attempt to hire a new Columbia Association president, saying they were embarrassed and outraged by a process that unraveled with the withdrawal of two finalists.

About 70 people crammed into the council room to blast the council for its handling of the hiring process, which fell apart last week amid claims that some members did not back Michael D. Letcher because he is black.

Letcher, 47, city manager of Sedona, Ariz., withdrew Wednesday. A week earlier, Theodore J. Staton, 45, city manager of East Lansing, Mich., pulled out. Both noted racial politics as factors. The withdrawals left only Gregory C. Fehrenbach, 53, Piscataway, N.J., administrator, in the running to head the Columbia Association.

Schools chief unveils spending plan for 2002

Howard County Schools Superintendent John R. O'Rourke unveiled his first spending plan Thursday night, showing again his intent to be more hands-on than his predecessor and asking for $40 million more than last year.

In addition to money for new teachers, support positions and supplies, the $374.8 million proposal for fiscal 2002, which begins July 1, includes about $363,000 to institute a new approach to managing the schools with the lowest achievement.

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