A state lawmaker has agreed to plant shrubs and clean debris at his waterfront property, where, Baltimore County environmental officials have said, he did grading work and removed trees without government approval.
Under an agreement signed last week, Del. Richard K. Impallaria is to remove rubble and construction debris from the banks of a stream on his property at 1923 Old Eastern Ave., on the headwaters of Middle River, and plant 25 native hardwood shrubs near the water.
Impallaria and his wife, Sharon, signed the agreement Friday to carry out the work on the 2-acre tract by the end of this month, thus avoiding potential court action or fines. Officials had extended similar deadlines for him in the past.
Impallaria said yesterday that the county "tried to intimidate me, threaten me, about this property issue."
"It could have been made much simpler" to reach a solution, he said.
The agreement is the most recent development in contentious, nearly yearlong negotiations between the lawmaker and the county, and could mark progress toward closing the case.
The county cautioned Impallaria, a Republican who represents Baltimore County's eastern waterfront and a section of Harford County, about his "ongoing obligation to comply with applicable law in the use of your property."
In January, the county directed Impallaria to remove debris from the area of the stream and plant a forest buffer to replace trees that, the county said, were cleared without approval. According to a letter from David A.C. Carroll, director of Baltimore County's Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, Impallaria also did grading work on the property without receiving county approval.
Records show that the property is within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.
Last month, the Baltimore office of the Army Corps of Engineers notified Impallaria that he dredged Middle River near his property without proper authorization and failed to dump the spoil at a designated site. He said that he is in discussions with the federal agency to resolve those concerns.
A corps spokesman, Christopher Augsburger, said yesterday the agency is "continuing to work with the property owner and other regulatory agencies to develop a resolution."
An April 21 letter to Impallaria from Baltimore County Attorney Jay L. Liner includes a requirement from the county that asphalt, concrete, bricks, garage doors, tires, sewer pipes, logs and brush piles be removed from near the stream that empties into the river.
The letter also said Impallaria failed to plant, as previously directed, hardwood shrubs along the stream but instead planted evergreens without obtaining approval from the county.
The county noted that Impallaria did install a new silt fence and seeded a piece of his parcel. Though the fence was approved, the seeding area has to be redone and expanded, Liner noted in his letter.
"This was a whole lot of to-do about nothing," Impallaria said. "Hopefully, this will be over when I get another letter from the county. ... What do you say about the fat lady singing?"
He said his problems with the agencies "started as a series of paperwork errors on both sides. Those errors kept coming, but not from my side."
A spokesman for Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. said yesterday said the case involving Impallaria appears close to resolution.
"From the beginning, we had one concern, and that was the protection of the environment," said Donald I. Mohler, Smith's spokesman.
"We now look forward to him fulfilling the obligations in his written agreement with us," Mohler said.