Two weeks after they approved the expansion of an electrical substation, Annapolis lawmakers reversed themselves and left the controversial project in limbo.
The City Council called a special meeting last night to reconsider a resolution allowing the expansion of the Tyler Avenue substation after residents pointed out that the 5-4 vote was improper.
A "super-majority," or 7-2 vote, was required under city code because more than 20 percent of the neighbors had filed petitions opposing the application by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.
Two years ago, the council rejected the planned $2.5 million substation expansion because of the community's concerns over reports linking electromagnetic emissions to an increased risk of cancer. BG&E; sued to reverse the decision and won.
Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Bruce C. Williams called the decision "arbitrary, capricious and illegal" in October and ordered the city to grant the utility a permit to expand the substation.
But after a 1 1/2 -hour discussion, the council agreed last night to draft another resolution that would attach more conditions to the permit. The council postponed taking any action until April 12.
In their resolution two weeks ago, council members attached only limited conditions, such as landscaping, which angered Tyler Heights residents who want to cap the electromagnetic emissions.
Two dozen residents sporting "Vote No" stickers showed up at the meeting in City Hall. Three of them have separately filed a motion asking Judge Williams to reconsider his ruling.
Alderman Dean Johnson, an independent from Ward 2, scoffed at the lengthy discussion that led to no action.
"The status of the council is right back to the level of a used-car salesman again," he said.