Howard Week

May 09, 2004

Developers hoping plans will lessen Highland congestion

Developers of two corners of western Howard County's Highland crossroads are preparing plans that they hope will ease traffic concerns while maintaining the area's rural character.

Operators of Boarman's Meat Market and the developers of a property once destined to become a large funeral home want to dedicate the front of their properties to create turn lanes to increase the capacity of the two-lane intersection that experiences frequent backups.

Merdon measure seeking to give builders incentive

A Howard County councilman is dangling the incentive of housing allocations before developers of mixed-use projects in the hope of spurring construction of office space, particularly on the burgeoning commercial corridor along Route 100.

Christopher J. Merdon, an Ellicott City-Elkridge Republican, is sponsoring a bill that was introduced last week to offer developers one housing unit allocation for every 2,000 square feet of office space that is developed in projects that integrate offices, houses and shops.

The builder benefits from the ability to take advantage of Howard's hot housing market, he said, and the county benefits from the higher taxes charged on a finished building.

But leaders in office development are wary of adding office stock.

"Oversupply always adversely affects rents," said Rand Griffin, president and chief operating officer of Corporate Office Properties Trust.

Double-jeopardy rule shields Howard woman

An Ellicott City woman who was drunk when she rammed the back of a motorcycle last year, killing its rider, faces no more than a year in prison because of constitutional protections against being charged twice for the same crime.

Susan Elizabeth Williams, 35, was convicted May 3 of driving under the influence - the most serious charge that remained in the aftermath of a Howard circuit judge's decision to dismiss motor vehicle homicide charges related to the death of Dennis Jerry Sullivan on Sept. 7.

Although Williams' blood alcohol content registered 0.29 - more than three times the legal limit - her lawyer argued last month that her decision to pay a $275 negligent-driving citation issued the night of the crash on Baltimore National Pike protected her from a homicide prosecution.

That left prosecutors with the drunken driving charge, which carries up to one year in jail.

Officials to mark opening of a new halfway house

Howard County officials will mark the opening this week of Howard House, the first halfway house for recovering addicts in the county, which health and drug treatment officials have been seeking for more than a decade.

The renovated facility - on the grounds of Sheppard Pratt at Ellicott City - will serve as a home base for a maximum of 15 men who have completed a higher level of substance abuse treatment and want to rebuild their lives.

Deal ends tense talks over Fulton property

James and Maria Oliver have found a new home - and so have some of their collection of carefully nurtured trees.

After months of tense talks, the Howard County couple have agreed on terms for selling their 3-acre, 35-year-old homestead, which will become the northern entrance to a huge mixed-use development in Fulton called Maple Lawn Farms.

Many of the dozens of specialty trees will be saved for sale to wealthy buyers. Seven large trees have been sold.

Tax increases developing as a partisan issue

As Howard County's Democrats and Republicans gathered last week for annual party fund-raising dinners charged with election-year presidential politics, a local fight over tax increases was emerging as a rival for attention.

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski was the keynote speaker for the Democrats on Wednesday night at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville, and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was the Republicans' big gun Friday night at Turf Valley, where the party planned to help launch a petition drive to make county tax rises more difficult.

Teen linked to sex incident barred from Mount Hebron

At least one of the three students cleared of charges of raping a 15-year-old girl at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City will not be allowed to return to the school, his attorney said.

Lawrence B. Rosenberg, who represents Roderick D. Rudolph, 15, met with a Howard schools official Thursday, along with the youth and his mother. The attorney said he was told the teen would be banned from the school for the rest of the academic year. Rudolph will be sent to evening classes, beginning Tuesday, and likely be moved to another county school when classes resume in August.

School officials confirmed last week they met with Rudolph, a freshman, and the family of a second boy, sophomore Christopher S. Berry, 16. A meeting with the third teen-ager, Demitris R. Myrick, 18, a sophomore, is set for this week.

Berry's mother declined to comment on the outcome.

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