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Board rejects housing plan, criticizes builder's lawyer Planning officials say too little support offered


After the Howard County Planning Board unanimously recommended denial of a planned 25-unit housing complex for senior citizens in West Friendship, the board criticized a well-known zoning attorney for offering little argument to support the project.

The board voted 4-0 -- member J. Landon Reeve was absent -- Wednesday night, siding with a staff report from the Department of Planning and Zoning that objected to the plan proposed by Ahmad Bagheri because the 13.75-acre site in the 11000 block of Old Frederick Road was outside the public sewer district and would require an extension of those lines.

In a tape recording of the meeting, the board was clearly agitated that Bagheri's attorney, Thomas M. Meachum, offered little rebuttal to the staff report.

"We really don't have anything to add except that we disagree about the public sewer thing," Meachum told the board after county planner Robert Lalush outlined the staff report.

After Meachum gave a few brief replies to questions posed by the board, Chairman Robert Geiger asked Meachum, "So you're OK with having that much to say?"

Meachum replied, "Yeah."

After the board made its recommendation, board member Joan Lancos sarcastically said, "I'm sorry you had to come here tonight."

On the tape, board member Gary Kaufman can be heard saying of Meachum, "That's out of character for him. We wanted to hear something, and he's waiting to go to the Board of Appeals."

Added Lancos: "I'm really offended."

During a telephone interview yesterday, Meachum played down any disagreement between him and the board.

"I think they kind of understand that it was an issue to be decided by the Board of Appeals," he said. "I don't think they acted upset with me."

The Board of Appeals will make a final decision Jan. 12.

Pub Date: 12/04/98

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