Baltimore Sun

Casino sign and parking issues dominate Perryville town meeting

Illegal parking and the potential Hollywood Casino in Perryville sign overlooking I-95 were the two hot topics of conversation at Tuesday night's relatively short meeting of the Board of Town Commissioners.

"It must be vacation month," Mayor Jim Eberhardt joked, referring to the decline of business conducted and attendance.


Eberhardt opened the meeting by thanking the participants of a July 9 Diamond in the Rough Triathlon, as well as those who participated in a July 21 fundraiser for the Perryville Outreach Program.

He also recognized the achievements of the Perryville girls all-star Little League softball team, who "had a great year," including playing in the semifinal round of the region championship inConnecticut.


It was noted during the commissioners' reports that Commissioner Alan Fox is working on a historical book about Perryville, and if any residents had old pictures of the town to contact him.

When the floor was opened to the public for comments and concerns, Beacon Point resident Richard Hall, of the 500 block of Cedar Point Drive, took the podium first.

"I believe the 175-foot sign will ruin the decor of this town," Hall said in reference to the proposed Hollywood Casino pylon sign, which would be designed to attract traffic from I-95.

While Hall expressed his discontent as "a personal thing," he also noted that the proposed sign would be viewable from his backyard and "something that high, illuminating over the town," is of great concern to residents.

The town commissioners also acknowledged receipt of a letter from Penn National Gaming Inc. in regards to infrastructure costs, in which the casino operator is asking for more money from impact funds than was previously agreed to — $1.5 million.

A motion was approved acknowledging the letter was "written;" but commissioners agreed that more information would be needed before any decision will be made on their part.

The casino infrastructure costs and who is responsible for them has been an ongoing point of contention among the town, Cecil County and Penn National Gaming.

Train station parking


Bringing up an ongoing issue with train station commuters illegally parking in residential areas and not in the designated parking lots for the station was Robert Damrow, of the 400 block of Bond Street, who said these commuters are "too lazy to walk from the other lots."

Damrow, who's wife is wheelchair-bound due to a stroke, has had ongoing issues with commuters parking on his hill and blocking his car from either parking or leaving his spot.

An example Damrow gave of this "aggravating" situation was BMW with a New York license plate that remained parked in front of his house for 48 hours.

While he has called police in previous instances to help solve the issue, Damrow expressed that a more permanent solution was needed, such as "residents only" or handicap parking signs.

Eberhardt and other commissioners were wary, however, that the wording of the potential signs could be vague enough, as with the "residents only" signage, that it would not once and for all deter commuters from parking there. A "handicapped residents only" sign or residential permits to park in these areas was also suggested.

Unfortunately, the parking situation is not a new issue for Damrow or other residents, Eberhardt said, adding that "all of Bond Street" is impacted by this problem and hopefully a solution can be come up with "easily enough" after some thought.


Other business

The new ethics ordinance was introduced.

The ordinance, which went from three pages to 17, is the result of the state of Maryland expanding its ethics law that applied only to the state, not to its municipalities. The new ordinance will require department heads and other "key officials," as well as elected officials, to disclose their financial associations.

A banking resolution was passed to allow the town to move to a higher money market account to receive "the best interest rate we can find."

Budget amendments to vote on switch gate repairs and computer maintenance were also passed.

An event form request from the Perryville High School cross country track team was approved. The team annually holds a meet at the community park an has requested the fee for use of the park and pavilion to be waived, which has been the case for past events.