the Annapolis City Council voted last night to allow "conditional" expansion of the Tyler Avenue Substation despite council and community members' concerns about possible harmful electromagnetic emissions.
The council voted 5-4 to approve an application by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to expand the substation, over the objections of those who fear effects from the emissions of electromagnetic fields.
Voting against the application were Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and Aldermen Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, Wayne Turner, R-Ward 6, and Theresa DeGraff, R-Ward 7.
Two years ago, the council rejected the planned $2.5 million expansion of the substation because of neighborhood concern over reports linking electromagnetic fields (EMF) produced by power lines to an increased risk of cancer.
BG&E; sued to reverse the council's decision and won.
"EMF was an issue then," Mr. Turner said. "It's more of an issue now. The concern is out there. Remember the past concerns in regard to lead paint. It was known to be harmful but it took years to complete the studies."
Last October, Annapolis lawmakers decided to appeal a court order requiring the city to issue a permit to BG&E; for expansion of its substation. The appeal has not yet been filed, and its status was unclear after the vote last night.
Alderman Turner said he also opposed the council voting on the proposed resolution because residents in his ward had not received enough notice.
Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, said she had concerns about electromagnetic fields but did not believe the city could base its decision on unsubstantiated reports.
The council also voted, without discussion, to allow the opening of the city's first coffeehouse. Gavin Buckley, a waiter at the Middleton Tavern, and two of his friends, Dennis Boyd and Edward Howlin, will open a small coffeehouse at Prince George and Randall streets.
The prospective owners plan to offer international newspapers and magazines, espresso, pastries and a facsimile service. In warm weather, customers would be able to sit at tables in a bricked-in courtyard adjacent to the shop, which would seat 34 inside and 34 outside.
Musicians would play acoustical music, and writers give readings.
The application by the three men is the first of several. City officials have received inquiries from 35 prospective coffeehouse owners in recent months.