October 29, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- State leaders announced that three developers would build a $150 million complex including homes, offices, shops and a hotel next to the Odenton MARC train station, the first major piece of the long-discussed town center.

The project, on 24 acres owned by the state and Anne Arundel County, will also include two parking garages totaling 3,500 spaces. An additional 1,245 outdoor parking spaces would be available at the proposed Odenton Town Square, which is to include 70,000 square feet of retail space, the 90- to 120-room hotel, 572 apartments and condominiums, 250 townhouses and five single-family homes. State and local leaders said the project would expand mass transit options.

Is this the kind of development you support in Odenton? Do you welcome the parking garages or worry about the additional traffic?

Who wins, taxpayers or developers?

As usual, the devil is in the details. The amenities of the 24-acre development next to the Odenton MARC train station read like a developer dream deal. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. tried to sell public lands to a "friend" and County Executive Janet Owens seems to be in a hurry to sign off on potentially controversial development projects before she leaves office. So pardon me if I am skeptical that the taxpayers are the real beneficiaries of this deal.

Is the developer getting the state and local land free? What tax benefits will the developers reap? Where is the stipulation for workforce housing? Who gets the revenue from the parking garages and spaces? More information is needed, much more!

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

Seeing both sides, looking for wisdom

An Outside View

With me not being from Odenton, and never living in Odenton I might not have the same feelings or even the same information pertaining to the issue at hand as someone who does live in Odenton. However, in the same light there are two sides.

One is pro-development. If you look at the issue from this side it is easy to see that development has many positives. With more development, you have more people, which can be both good and bad. From my perspective more people is a good thing. It brings more money to the area, helping the overall economy and way of life. It spurs a re-birth, revitalization into an area.

On the flip side people may not like it that live there or drive through there. It will cause more traffic, but if it will increase mass transit use as analysts are saying, then the growth is good for the environment, even though there may be more traffic.

In either case it is an issue that the next County Executive will have to deal with. They will have to work closely with the County Council to make a good decision. Make your choice wisely when you vote.

Victor Henderson Glen Burnie

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