Hearing on island owner's plan to build new home is postponed

Environmental concerns cause second delay in case

Anne Arundel County

February 18, 2005|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,SUN STAFF

A county hearing to determine whether the owner of a Magothy River island can build a 4,600-square-foot home there was postponed for a second time yesterday - until May - because of a state agency's concerns about protecting the shoreline.

An Anne Arundel County official put off the variance hearing until May 19 after the state's Critical Area Commission requested that the owner of Dobbins Island, David L. Clickner Sr., perform a new survey detailing the boundaries of a required 100-foot buffer between the shoreline and where construction can occur.

The agency wrote county officials that members of the Magothy River Association, a conservancy group fighting Clickner's plans, "appear[ed] to indicate" to the panel Monday that Tropical Storm Isabel had eroded the steep slopes along the shoreline.

The commission is worried about the impact of the project on the 100-foot buffer. Such buffers cover land bordering the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

But one of Clickner's attorneys, Harry C. Blumenthal, told Stephen LeGendre, administrative hearing officer for the county's Office of Planning and Zoning, that if data from the new survey are similar to what a survey three years ago showed, Clickner would not need a variance for the home. Blumenthal requested that the hearing be delayed because an accurate site plan would not be available until the survey is finished.

Clickner, a Glen Burnie businessman, bought the land near Pasadena in October for $825,000 and has sought variances to build a house within the buffer area and two piers that would be longer than allowed - one extending from the island and one from the nearby mainland. Despite the delays, he said yesterday he was confident he will eventually be able to live there.

LeGendre postponed the first hearing Nov. 4 after ruling that Clickner's first site plan was inaccurate. At the request of the Critical Area Commission, Clickner had agreed to reduce the size of the home from 5,100 to 4,600 square feet, but those changes were not reflected in the drawings.

"I never had to do this before," said LeGendre, referring to the first postponement. "Now I have to do this again?"

The hearing is set for May 19.

Paul Spadaro, president of the Magothy River Association, believes the matter should be dropped. He said the state should extend the 100-foot barrier by 50 feet or more because the eroding steep cliffs constitute an added risk to Dobbins. No home could be built if the buffer were extended that far, he said.

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