City/county Digest

CITY/COUNTY DIGEST

March 15, 2006

Officials may resurrect Harford Co. rezoning plan

Amid increasing scrutiny, Harford County officials pledged yesterday to continue exploring ways to resurrect the rezoning process that was struck down by an executive veto last month.

Last week, the County Council failed to override County Executive David R. Craig's veto of the contentious rezoning bill, which maps out changes in land use for the next eight years. The council had made more than 50 amendments, but agreed to work with Craig on a compromise.

Under the county's zoning code guidelines, the veto washed away 15 months of planning, and the process must be started from the beginning at the application phase. Administration officials have been discussing changes that could pave the way for negotiations on a new bill using the applications and testimony submitted during this rezoning process.

Those changes were expected to be outlined at last night's council meeting. However, Council President Robert S. Wagner said he pulled the topic from the agenda late last week. Wagner, who voted against the bill and supported the veto, indicated the process might need to start from scratch.

"To make it simple, most of us feel we went through a comprehensive rezoning process that's been completed," said Wagner, a Republican. "We're at the point of starting a new one, not an addition to the old one."

Councilman Richard C. Slutzky, a Republican from Aberdeen, said the county's $200,000 in legal fees on a separate, previous matter would "be a fraction of what it would cost to defend another poor decision in court" on the rezoning issue, and said the process should be started anew.

Roxanne Lynch, Craig's director of government and community affairs, said the executive embraces the additional time to review the options. "Extra time is good," she said.

Justin Fenton

Baltimore: Miss USA

Tickets go on sale starting Saturday

Tickets for this year's Miss USA competition at 1st Mariner Arena will go on sale at noon Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at the arena box office, by calling 410-547-SEAT or online at ticketmaster.com.

Postal Service

Special postmark to mark convention

The U.S. Postal Service will offer a special postmark to commemorate the Suburban Washington/Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention, which will meet tomorrow through Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Postal Service will have a booth at the show from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Harford County: Circuit Court

Manslaughter trial to resume today

The trial of a 53-year-old Darlington woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a toddler from an overdose of methadone is scheduled to resume today in Harford County Circuit Court after a two-day delay. A registered nurse and program director with an Aberdeen methadone clinic, the final witness for the prosecution, fell ill Monday, said Assistant State's Attorney Salvatore Fili. Judge Stephen M. Waldron postponed the proceedings until today, with the cross-examination of the witness by the defense to resume.

Justin Fenton

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