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Columbia Council likely to approve land purchases


The Columbia Council tonight likely will approve a controversial $1 million purchase of about 5 acres in a former East Columbia industrial park, including one contaminated parcel tentatively slated for a recreational vehicle storage yard.

The council -- the nonprofit Columbia Association's board of directors -- agreed to buy two parcels in the old General Electric Co. manufacturing park off Snowden River Parkway from the Rouse Co. last spring, contingent upon an environmental consultant's study.

That study detected contamination in ground water and soil samples on the 3-acre RV park site and noted two adjacent, capped hazardous waste dumps. The GE park is on state and federal lists for cleanup and monitoring.

But an outside attorney advised the council that the "likelihood of any liability arising from the environmental condition . . . is remote" if the Columbia Association builds a parking facility without substantial excavation, if public water is provided and if the area is repaved and maintained.

The attorney, Randall M. Lutz of the Baltimore firm Smith, Somerville & Case, will review the study with the council tonight at 8.

The council wants to build an RV park to help residents comply with rules prohibiting campers and boats on residential lots. The board is awaiting results of a cost-benefit analysis and could vote on the project tonight.

The deal with Rouse allows the association to impose its tax-like levy on two large commercial and residential properties now excluded from the charge. Council members say that potential income from the properties makes the land purchase a good deal.

No use has been set for the second parcel, a 2.3-acre lot in the nearby Gateway Plaza office park.

Police log

Oakland Mills: 5600 block of Shadow Fall Terrace: Moments after residents did not respond to a knock at their door, they discovered a man trying to pry open a rear window Tuesday morning. Police said the man ran off when he realized he had been spotted.

Oakland Mills: 9500 block of Wandering Way: Someone entered a house after prying open a rear window and stole a television, a stereo and a videocassette recorder Tuesday, police said.

Oakland Mills: 5600 block of of Thunder Hill Road: Police charged a man with breaking into a shed Wednesday.

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