Howard Week

January 05, 2003

Lake Kittamaqundi dredging project not in CA's 2004 budget

With no help in sight from state or Howard County officials for a $2 million project to dredge Lake Kittamaqundi, the Columbia Association has abandoned its hopes to begin clearing the lake next year and has not included money for the work in its draft $45.8 million fiscal 2004 budget.

The lake, in the heart of Columbia near association headquarters, is an important focal point for the community. Large volumes of silt carried into the lake by the Little Patuxent River have made portions of it very shallow.

The dredging - the most expensive project proposed by the homeowners association for the 2004 capital budget - was contingent on other agencies paying half the cost. But the prospect of tight state and county budgets caused the Columbia Association to decide against including the project, said Chick Rhodehamel, the association's vice president for open space management.

Developers betting heavily on drab U.S. 1 corridor

Community leaders have been agonizing for years about how to rescue U.S. 1 from the drab motels, junkyards, tattoo parlors, dreary industrial parks, liquor stores and jails that define the highway in Howard County.

But developers are not waiting for the long-planned makeover. They are betting that people will plunk down at least a half-million dollars to live near the run-down business strip - and they appear to be winning those bets.

"In most places, this wouldn't happen," said Joseph W. Rutter Jr., the county's planning director. "But I think, because of the perception of Howard County, that people are willing to intermix and have high-quality housing - because the schools are good, crime is low, traffic is relatively not congested. They're nice neighborhoods."

Single-family homes are selling for an average of $500,000 in the Rouse Co.'s new mixed-use development of Emerson, which straddles Interstate 95 on the U.S. 1 corridor's western edge, said Dennis W. Miller, a Rouse Co. vice president for development in Howard County.

Ex-prosecutor chosen to be deputy state's attorney

A one-time Howard prosecutor who has worked for the Howard County Office of Law for nearly two decades is incoming Howard State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone's pick to fill a key deputy state's attorney's slot.

F. Todd Taylor, 51, has accepted the deputy's job and likely will start in the office in a month - after taking time to finish his work with the county law office and to end his private civil practice. Taylor will be one of two deputies, and while the details of their respective roles have not been finalized, he likely will take more of an operational role - much like that of former Deputy State's Attorney I. Matthew Campbell, who resigned last month.

HotSpot programs to go on, Livesay and Robey pledge

Howard County is strongly committed to continuing its HotSpot police programs in Harper's Choice and Long Reach villages - with or without state funding, said Police Chief Wayne Livesay and County Executive James N. Robey.

"It's doing a lot of good," Livesay said. "I believe it's working." Livesay added that he likes the concept so much that the county used funds from Horizon Foundation to begin a similar project in North Laurel and would like to put an office in Oakland Mills Village Center.

Robey said through a spokeswoman that he is committed to supporting Livesay, and that he will find county money to replace the $240,000 in state funds the county receives.

The 5-year-old HotSpot program was created by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who lost her bid to become governor in November. Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. derided the program during the campaign. With a huge state budget shortfall looming, he is expected to let it die. Ehrlich's transition office has refused to discuss the fate of specific programs.

In tough times, Howard's libraries drawing a crowd

Across the nation, public libraries are becoming more attractive destinations for education and entertainment in economically troubled times. But many are being forced to close branches, curtail hours and cut staff because of decreasing revenues.

Not in Howard County, where aggressive marketing and cutting-edge services in new and renovated branches are drawing growing numbers of patrons.

With items in 25 languages, including a donated collection of 600 books in Chinese and a new series of sign-language videos for the deaf community, the county's six-branch library system is reaching out to every segment of the public. That effort is bearing fruit, library director Valerie J. Gross said.

Court denies developer use of lot for an access road

In a decision that appears to buttress existing homeowners' rights as developers continue to subdivide in Howard County and other suburbs, the Court of Special Appeals has ruled that a developer could not use a covenanted lot in an existing development to provide access to a new subdivision.

The ruling "recognizes both the importance of residential restrictions on property and also recognizes the Circuit Court has the power to enforce covenants," said James M. Connolly, attorney for residents of Beaufort Park, a community off Reservoir Road in Fulton.

The court issued its ruling last week. The covenant governing Beaufort Park prohibits use of lots for anything other than residential purposes.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.