In between jabs at the "incestuous" nature of the Greater Severna Park Council and "old-line" Severna Park, the founding members of the Millersville-Severn Run Federation established some goals and ideals for themselves at their first meeting Tuesday night.
The unincorporated federation is made up of three civic associations north of Benfield Road and west of Jumpers Hole Road, which discovered common political ground in their opposition to the proposed East-West Boulevard during the past year.
But members of the group are quick to say that although their opposition to a Ritchie Highway/Interstate 97 bypass may be the glue, there is a more general need for an umbrella group in their growing community.
"It's a geographic fact of life that the center of the Severna Park community is in the area around the high school, and we have always been on the outer fringe of that area. We can't and shouldn't expect (the GSPC) tolook at our issues for us," said George Cumberledge, a Brightwood resident.
So far, the new organization is made up of the approximately 1,900 homeowners in the Brightwood Civic, Elvaton Improvement and Shipley's Choice Homeowner's associations. All the associations also belong to the 60-member GSPC.
Cumberledge declined a nomination to head the new federation at Tuesday's meeting, saying "he'd feel more comfortable" waiting for a formal election at the federation's next meeting in April. By then the federation hopes to have doubled its membership.
The five organizers, who voted to call themselves a steering committee, applauded Cumberledge's judgmentand discussed the need to have a more open decision-making process than the GSPC, which one member described as "incestuous." The steering committee agreed that all informational meetings with state and county officials should be open to the members, as well as the delegatesfrom all community associations.
"We are taking a very differentapproach than most umbrella organizations, where what happens is they send a delegate to a meeting and the delegate comes back and filters the information," said Steve Finlayson of Shipley's Choice. "We called ourselves a federation instead of a council, because we're interested in having everybody come in to all the informational meetings."
The steering committee also set up membership, environmental affairs, public affairs, public works, and zoning committees that will report regularly at meetings beginning April 16.
Jim Pell, a longtime foe of the East-West Boulevard, will chair the public works panel, andSandy Cox of Brightwood will head the membership committee. The federation's other committees will be filled later.
Pell was asked to investigate safety at the Benfield Road/I-97 interchange for April's meeting.
Cox will try to recruit the Shipley's Choice Community Association, Chartwell, Kilmarnock, Old Mill, Mill Race, Chartridge andPointfield Landing to join the fledgling federation.