In Southern Anne Arundel, Development Begs Debate

For years, people have anticipated construction of a major supermarket at one of Southern Anne Arundel's principal crossroads, Rts. 258 and 256. You might know this as Deale-Churchton Road.

But the scope of the project unveiled this week is a matter that people need swiftly to understand and debate.

A proposal outlined by Safeway to the newly formed Deale Merchants Association this week calls for the expected supermarket alongside a dozen or so stores, one of them potentially a fast-food outlet. Developers have applied for permission to pump tens of thousands of gallons of water daily from the Magothy aquifer. Traffic lights are being proposed for an intersection where none now exist. A clock-tower at the site is being discussed.

The developers express confidence that they can break ground in six months to build two pads that would be 55,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet.

This development, to say the least, could represent a jarring change in the character and the economy of Southern Anne Arundel County. Yet months before construction is scheduled to begin, few people know anything about it.

We believe that new developments are not something to be rejected out of hand. People in the vicinity of this proposed project are entitled to conveniences that sometimes are hard to find. And Southern Anne Arundel's economy, we think, could use a shot or two in the arm.

By the same token, we believe that never should major changes be pushed forward without communities having something to say about them.

That is the spirit of Anne Arundel County's new comprehensive planning law. Panels are coming together at this very moment to plan the futures of many Anne Arundel communities, including this one. We would not think that any developer would want to short-circuit a valuable process designed to give thinking people a say in what constitutes high-quality living in their community.

One local businesswoman, Ann Wolfe, wondered aloud if people want "a Tyson's Corner in the middle of Deale We've got small-area planning committees about to be put in place with respect to such developments."

Another businesswoman, Claire Mallicote, asserted that we need to respect the property rights of developers. "I'm of the opinion that it will help smaller stores. It will keep the people here to shop instead of going out of the area," added Mallicote, who convened local merchants to hear the plan.

Who's right? Who has the best interests of the community in mind?

Let's hear what people whose lives may soon be changed have to say.

| Issue 3 |

Volume VII Number 3
January 21-27, 1999
New Bay Times

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