Management at Woodside Gardens in Annapolis abandoned a controversial photo identification card plan last night after residents called it insulting and invasive.
"You're acting like a warden," Typhne L. Brown yelled at representatives of Alpha Property Management Inc., which owns the federally insured apartment complex. "This isn't a jail. And we are not prisoners."
The explosive meeting, held in a hot basement room at the development, lasted more than two hours and ended with management abandoning its plan to photograph all residents 6 and older for identification cards.
"We're not doing it," said Bryan Miller, Alpha's assistant regional supervisor, who traveled from the company's Dallas headquarters to attend last night's meeting. "If the tenants don't want it, then we are not doing it."
Alpha posted a notice last week informing residents of the ID plan and defended it as an effective way to keep loiterers, trespassers and other suspicious intruders off the property. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development postponed the plan after city and federal officials criticized the lack of resident involvement in shaping the policy.
All of the more than 70 residents at last night's meeting rejected the plan in a voice vote. Alderman Carl O. Snowden, whose district includes Woodside Gardens, also railed against the IDs. "I don't like the idea that there's a stigma on this community," Mr. Snowden said. "There's no other community in Annapolis that requires this ID."
HUD officials said such ID cards would not violate any federal regulations and are used at four public housing developments in Baltimore. Those IDs were implemented only after residents approved them, they said. The ID cards are not used in any of the more than 700 federally insured housing developments in Maryland, according to HUD.
Although Woodside Gardens residents were fiercely opposed to the photo ID plan, they said they were even more angry about management's handling of their needs and complaints.
Tenants accused management of ignoring their complaints about what they called deteriorating living conditions, including problems with the sewage system, flooding, rodents and roaches.
Meanwhile, tenants began to organize an association last night to represent them in decisions at the 144-unit complex. At least 10 people signed up for the new association after last night's meeting.
Several residents were sharply critical of the on-site manager, Eva Anderson, who has worked at Woodside Gardens for less a year. Ms. Anderson did not speak during the meeting and would not answer a reporter's questions afterward.
Mr. Miller said management, not the residents, will decide Ms. Anderson's future at Alpha.