Council votes to condemn 2 parcels


The County Council voted last night to condemn two pieces of property -- one parcel would be used to align an intersection, the other would become part of county parkland.

The vote to condemn the parcels enables the county to sue the owners and allow the court to determine the value of the land.

The council was divided on the parkland vote.

"Six months ago, we urged the county and the property owner [of the parkland] to get together on price, and there is still a difference of opinion" as to the value of 31 acres, which is owned by a Silver Spring couple, said Councilman Paul R. Farragut, D-4th District.

Mr. Farragut urged the council to approve what he called "a friendly condemnation."

Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, opposed taking the owners of the parkland, Walter and Susan Madigosky, to court. "There is no such thing as a friendly condemnation," he said.

Mr. Feaga said the county should not condemn property unless it is needed to assure public safety. In this instance, the county wants the Madigosky parcel to complete its Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. The couple's property lies between 66 county-owned acres and 950 acres that the Rouse Co. plans to give the county for the environmental area.

"We should just let them sit on it if the price is not right," Mr. Feaga said. "In the end, I think they'll offer it to us."

Other council members felt the county had waited long enough -- negotiations were begun in 1978 and resumed six months ago -- and voted 3-1 to take the Madigoskys to court. The fifth council member, Darrel Drown, R-2nd, was absent due to a family commitment.

There was no disagreement among members about the need to condemn 6,500 square feet belonging to Barbara C. Winchester at the intersection of Route 108 and Trotter Road. Public works officials told the council at a hearing last week that the property is needed for storm drainage and to make sure motorists have a clear line of sight when approaching the intersection.

Mr. Farragut said he had intervened in an attempt to handle the negotiation of price for the Winchester property in "a sensitive way" but was unsuccessful. The council voted 4-0 to take Ms. Winchester to court.

In other action, the council:

* Approved a resolution calling for a change in the charter that would allow the council to cancel any regularly scheduled legislative session by a two-thirds vote. The change would require approval by the voters in the general election.

The issue arose because the regularly scheduled time for the council's September meeting falls this year on Rosh Hashana, a Jewish holy day. The council plans to avoid that conflict by holding a special session Sept. 7, the day after Rosh Hashana.

* Approved a $128,000 grant that would let the Sheriff's Department manage 1,000 clients in the court's community service alternative sentencing program.

* Approved a bill authorizing the county to trade 10 acres at Rogers Avenue and Old Frederick Road to developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr. for 15 acres across from Patapsco Middle School. The county plans to build an elementary school on the site and open it in 1997.

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