Housing limit bill likely to be withdrawn

Legislation to ease school crowding eyed

October 16, 2001|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Council members were expected to withdraw at a meeting last night a development bill that would have limited residential building in some neighborhoods, many with attractive waterfront views.

But Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk, an Annapolis Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, introduced similar legislation last night intended to replace the original bill.

Samorajczyk was not available for comment late last night because the council meeting was still in session.

William Sullivan, president of Manhattan Beach Civic Association, is one of many homeowners favoring the legislation that would prevent developers from building new houses on sites that fail to meet modern size requirements for residential lots.

Sullivan said he and his neighbors were disappointed recently when a builder bought a property that had been cobbled together from two undersize lots and built a house on one of them. The lot with the house is 20 feet wide at the driveway, and sits about 15 feet from a neighbor's back porch.

Council members also were poised last night to adopt legislation that would prohibit homebuilding in areas where any school in a feeder system is crowded. Now developers can gain permission to build as long as there are open seats in schools within the feeder system, which includes elementary and middle schools and one high school.

Discussion with school board

Council members met with the Board of Education last week to discuss the bill.

While most school board members support the bill, they said it should not be used to force redistricting, a process that can be agonizing for parents and children.

The law would expire in two years, by which time council members hope to have established clearer guidelines to guard against school crowding.

Another meeting topic was the Broadneck Small Area Plan, which was reviewed by the council during a work session last week. At the time, the message from the resident committee that put together the plan was clear: Keep new growth to a minimum.

While council members support that vision overall, there is a sticking point - the former David Taylor Research Center, which is set to be redeveloped as a business park as soon as county and Navy officials can formalize a real estate transfer.

Size of business park at issue

Residents - who were well-represented at the meeting - want the county to follow redevelopment guidelines as set by an advisory committee more than two years ago.

That plan limited office space at the future high-tech business center to 585,000 square feet and parking spaces to 1,853.

The current redevelopment plan - which was adopted by the council earlier this year - puts office space at 730,000 square feet and parking spaces at 2,300.

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