Citizens Group Puts Foot Down On Further Growth
By Darrell Mak
Concerned residents from Pasadena and Glen Burnie have banded together to express dissatisfaction with the quantity of unchecked development occurring in the area, and are diligently working on bringing two potential housing development projects in the area to a halt. We are a group of concerned citizens who believe in the Maryland Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the County Charter, said Joe Delimater, a Glen Burnie resident who has been active in the group.
Of particular interest lately have been two areas of land near the intersection of Jumpers Hole Road and Mountain Road near the Pasadena/Glen Burnie line that recently won zoning modifications to allow a significantly higher number of dwelling units to be built on the properties. Were tired of the traffic congestion in Glen Burnie and Pasadena and all the spot zoning going on, expressed Delimater. The two areas he pointed out included Marley Meadows and Long Hill Road, both of which had been up-zoned by the county to allow for additional housing development. Delimater said Marley Meadows will include 36 new apartment units on 2.6 acres of land, while Long Hill Road was up-zoned from one to 15 homes per acre, which will allow for 300 to 600 new homes.
The citizens group, called Anne Arundel County Reform, currently consists of about 30 people volunteering their time to make the community better for all. The group has been meeting on a weekly basis to discuss next steps and plans to take both zoning change actions to referendum. However, the group will need to amass about 25,000 signatures by the middle of February to succeed at having the issue put to referendum. The group currently has only about 2,000 signatures.
The Maryland Constitution affords citizens the power to refer bills passed by the legislature to the ballot via a petition process, known as the popular referendum process. Any act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor, can be placed on referendum if signed by three percent of the qualified voters of the State of Maryland.
We believe this is a quality of life issue, said Delimater. Before they build any new houses, they need new infrastructure. Expansion of Mountain Road is one avenue the group would like to see happen. Mountain Road on a weekday is already a parking lot, explained Delimater.
While State Delegate Nic Kipke agreed infrastructure improvements have not kept pace with development in the area, he said expanding Mountain Road is not a viable solution. Property owners on Mountain Road own the land up to the very edge of the road, he said. Wed all like to see Mountain Road widened, but its expensive. Youd have to buy property from owners and then build the road and shoulder right up to their front doors. A lot of people in the community dont want to see that happen.
The citizens group may have a long road ahead as it tries to obtain the additional 23,000 signatures required in time to bring the issue to referendum. To help matters, Delimater said the group is also planning to present a separate referendum to the County Charter, one requiring only 10,000 signatures, to reduce the number of signatures required to bring bills to referendum.
For more information about the groups ongoing initiatives, visit its web site at http://www.aacountyreform.org/.