Wednesday, November 22, 2006

County Running Short of Land: Development Community Offers Modest Proposal

According to a recent report by outgoing Director Joe Rutter's Department of Planning and Zoning, the County is dangerously short of land zoned for commercial and industrial development. Only 6,381 acres of undisturbed woodland, wetland, and meadow remain to accomodate the County's ever increasing demand for Wal-Mart's, Jiffy Lubes, Burger Chef's, and car dealerships.

"This (study) just demonstrates where that (developable) land is so we can get our claws into it .... Excuse me, I mean our arms around it," said county land-use spokesman Tammy Jordan.

Given that the area left is only 3 square miles larger than the City of Annapolis, this revelation has raised considerable concern on the part of the development community.

Developer lobbyist and Director of the Alliance for Faux Land Use, Jack Pantylines, is the leading advocate for what he calls "a modest proposal for Anne Arundel County's future." Mr. Pantylines proposal, which has the backing of much of the development community, including John Ribera, Michael Sturbridge, Liam Buckshire, and Gerry Coke, would include filling in portions of the Magothy, Severn, and South River, zoning them C-4 along the periphery, with swaths of tight industrial zoning in their interior. "Let's be frank, these rivers are already moving in this direction. They're basically cesspools, turning the color of a well-shaken Yoo-hoo after almost every rainstorm. By passing this legislation, the Executive and Council will virtually triple the amount of commercial and industrial property in the County, and ensure that the tax burden for County residents continues to decrease, as it has over the past 3 decades of intense development."

County Executive-Elect John Leopold expressed some concern about the proposal, but offered, "I have my Chief of Staff looking closely at it. Will there be opportunities for ballfields on these reclaimed mallscapes?"

Despite Leopold's hesitation, Pantylines is undeterred. "Hey, it's a win-win-win. I get thirty pieces of silver from my developer overlords, the Executive and Councilmembers get the eternal goodwill of the people who fund their campaigns, and the people of Anne Arundel County get to keep laboring under the delusion that they can grow their way out of the problems associated with growth."

An artist's rendering of the Severn's future as an important commercial hub

This is, unfortunately, only partially satire. Any resemblance contained herein to individuals living or deceased is purely coincidental.

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