Howard Week

April 29, 2001

One challenger, two incumbents win in Columbia

After a second year of bitter Columbia Council politics, voters elected new leadership April 21 for a town that's supposed to stand for social harmony. Only one of the three incumbents who sought re-election lost. In Kings Contrivance, challenger Steven Pine beat Kirk Halpin 263-121.

In Oakland Mills, incumbent Barbara Russell defeated Earl Jones, who lost to her by seven votes last year, and Patti Boyd. In Hickory Ridge, incumbent Miles Coffman easily beat Robert E. O'Brien, 332-54. In Wilde Lake, Joshua Feldmesser beat three other candidates with 323 votes for the seat being vacated by Vincent Marando. Mary Kay Sigaty had 194 votes, Randy Clay had 66 and Hank Eigles had 42. In Long Reach, Linda Odum won a three-way race with Deborah Tolson and Shelby A. Tucker King.

Kalin plans to retire from school system

After 27 years in the Howard County school system - the last 16 in what might be called the district's toughest position - Associate Superintendent Maurice F. Kalin will retire at the end of the school year.

Kalin, 60, announced Friday his intention to retire.

County delays sale of office buildings

Howard County officials have decided to delay selling two prime government buildings for at least a year while they plan construction of an office complex in Ellicott City - gambling that the market for office buildings will stay strong.

The county had planned to sell the Gateway building, an 81,000-square-foot structure bought at fire-sale prices during the recession nearly a decade ago, and the twice-as-large, former AlliedSignal building - both in Columbia - to help finance construction of buildings in Ellicott City.

But because space in the two buildings is needed until the new ones are ready, the county was prepared to sell them, then lease back the space. That, Robey administration officials have decided, might be too expensive because the space is likely to be needed for a number of years.

New zoning regulations head for final council vote

Changing zoning laws can be tricky because of the range of subjects to be covered. That's the case with the mammoth revision wending its way toward a final vote by the Howard County Council on May 7.

The measure was discussed during a two-hour council session late Tuesday. From airfields to waste, from restricting propane tank storage to manufacturing zones to guaranteeing new housing for the moderate-income elderly, the council discussed a laundry list of subjects.

More than a week remains to discuss ideas and propose amendments to the bill.

Appeals court backs ruling against adult bookstore

The state Court of Special Appeals upheld Tuesday a lower court ruling requiring that an Ellicott City adult bookstore be shut down under a 1997 Howard County law that sharply limits sexually oriented businesses.

The appeals court rejected arguments by the store, the Pack Shack on U.S. 40, that the county law violated its First Amendment rights.

The law, which bars adult businesses from most parts of the county, left the store with a dozen places in the county it could move to and therefore did not violate its free-speech rights, the court ruled, upholding an opinion in May by Circuit Judge James B. Dudley.

Developer, residents debate rezoning plan

Residents opposed to rezoning 21 acres at the junction of Routes 100 and 103 contested Thursday night a developer's claim that the 1998 opening of Route 100 made the lots unfit for residential housing.

Ahsan Kahn has requested rezoning for two residentially zoned lots he owns - a 17-acre parcel at the northeastern corner of the junction and a 4-acre parcel at the southeastern corner. Developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr., who is working with Kahn, has argued that the opening of Route 100 has made the parcels more suitable for office towers than for homes.

Neighbors of the parcels rejected that argument, telling the Zoning Board that their happiness living near Route 100 and the increased value of their homes since the highway's opening proved the developer wrong.

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