Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

May 02, 2004

County should protect wetlands in Odenton

The Sun's article regarding the planned Odenton Town Center cited the surprise of a county official at the opposition from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and others to the wetlands impacts of an Odenton development ("Groups oppose filling wetlands for town center," April 22). This single project will destroy more than 7 acres of high-value forested wetlands, 4 acres of which are for a parking lot.

Wetlands are critical to the health of streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. They filter polluted water, reduce downstream flooding, and maintain base flow to streams during drought. Forested wetlands are among the most valuable wetlands and are extremely difficult to restore. Every effort should be made to avoid impacts to these wetlands.

In October 2001, CBF discussed this project and its impacts with Anne Arundel County and the Maryland Department of the Environment. We suggested a variety of techniques for avoiding wetlands impacts, such as shared parking arrangements and tuck-under parking beneath buildings. The proposed development plans do not incorporate any of the ideas we offered and differ little from the plans we first saw in 2001.

In developing a plan for the Odenton Town Center, Anne Arundel County is in a unique position to devise comprehensive solutions for wetlands protection. The county should lead the way to wetlands protection, rather than leave the survival of Odenton wetlands to be decided upon project by project.

Rob Schnabel

Annapolis

The author is a watershed restoration scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Thanks to delegates for lifesaving bill

Travel on the Broadneck Peninsula has been made safer by the passage of HB 754, which established penalties for convictions of stopping, standing or parking a vehicle where prohibited by an official sign while operating a commercial motor vehicle in Anne Arundel County.

HB 754 was introduced by Del. Virginia Clagett and co-sponsored by Del. Herb McMillan. Its immediate effect has been to stop trucks from parking on either side of the service road by the Wawa off Route 50 just west of the Bay Bridge. Barriers and signs now make it clear that there are penalties for parking and obstructing the view of motorists attempting to leave the Wawa or enter the service road.

Thanks to Delegates Clagett and McMillan for introducing this literally lifesaving legislation.

Diane M. Rey

Annapolis

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