Bodkin Point resident fights neighbor's plan to build driveway


It's one of those neighborhood disputes over land and how it's developed.

The owner of Hammerjacks is involved, as is a group of owners of million-dollar home in an exclusive waterfront community on Bodkin Point in Pasadena.

On Wednesday, a standoff nearly ensued when one homeowner tried to put his Honda Accord between construction workers in a bulldozer and a stand of trees. The confrontation brought two county inspectors, a police officer and several curious neighbors out to see what was happening.

"It's a shame, but once it's done, it's done," said Robert J. Chaisson, who failed to save the trees that were supposed to be part of a buffer zone between his house overlooking the Patapsco River and a lot next door.

The dispute, which probably has more to do with community covenants than county laws, stems from changes that Lou Principio, the owner of the lot off Janer Drive, made in his plans to develop it.

Mr. Principio, the owner of Hammerjacks, a south Baltimore night club, apparently decided to build a driveway through the buffer zone between his lot and Mr. Chaisson's.

Mr. Chaisson, vice president of the Bodkin Pointe Community Association, objected, claiming covenants require a 30-foot wall of trees between lots and that a path to a nature preserve that borders both lots at the mouth of the Patapsco River remain open.

When Mr. Chaisson found out that work on Mr. Principio's lot was scheduled to begin Wednesday, he called the County Inspections and Permits Office to appeal the grading permit.

But he was told he had missed the 25-day appeal deadline. He still could appeal, but the county could not stop the work unless the county rules in his favor at the appeal hearing, which is scheduled for next month.

On Wednesday, when the bulldozer showed up and started to clear the land, Mr. Chaisson got on the phone to a slew of county officials and Rep. Helen Delich Bentley's office.

By the time county officials arrived, workers already had knocked down several trees next to his front yard and cleared part of the property abutting Mr. Chaisson's lot.

The inspectors issued a stop-work order, but not because of Mr. Chaisson's complaints. They said Mr. Principio had let one of his permits expire, and unless he could show them it had been renewed, his workers could not touch certain parts of the property.

Mr. Principio had permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to work in designated wetlands and received a grading permit from the county in March.

The permits allow him to extend a driveway from the end of Janer Drive 367 feet. Mr. Principio could not be reached for comment Wednesday or yesterday.

John Peacock, the head of environmental programs for the county, said Wednesday that Mr. Principio's renewal from the Army Corps of Engineers' permit was on its way and work could resume once the county receives the paperwork.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad