Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Comp Lite Redux

In October of 2006, when this blog first started, I wrote a post about Angela Beltram endorsing Chris Merdon in his race against Ken Ulman for county executive. At that time Angela had reentered local politics to lead the fight against the so called “Comp Lite” zoning process.

In the comments section of that post, another local blogger, David Keelan, made a bet with me as to whether adding eighteen properties that were not included in the comprehensive rezoning process to the Comp Lite process was illegal. The bet was for a pint of Guinness at Kelsey’s in Ellicott City.

Merdon lost the election and the attempt to put Comp Lite up for referendum failed because it was judged that the petition language did not adequately describe what the petition was about. When the referendum effort was nullified, the Comp Lite opponents took their fight to the courts. As it made its way through the court system, Comp Lite gradually faded from the news.

It never left my radar though. There was a beer at stake after all.

Today I spoke with Paul Johnson in the County Office of Law. After making inquiries as to the status of Comp Lite with Dick Story and Mary Kay Sigaty I ended up at his doorstep.

Paul told me that the challenge to the authority to add those eighteen properties had been dropped. The only piece of the litigation that remains to be settled is between property owners Nancy Cavey and Kevin Campbell. It is expected that these parties will settle their remaining differences before the next hearing scheduled for May 26th.

In other words, the great Comp Lite debate ended with a whimper.

After three years, that Guinness will sure taste good.


Anonymous said...

But this really doesn't address the issue of legality, unless I am missing something. The only thing this means is that the bet will never be settled.

Scott said...

great post.. thanks for the update

Anonymous said...

Fading away does in no way equate to being illegal. Your logic is completely off.

Was OJ innocent? Well, the court said he was innocent, so he must be innocent.

What fading has to do with is that powerful sources have money and time. Fighting in court is what they do for a living! Our tax dollars pay these same people to fight citizens both for the county and against the county and against residents.

Residents on the other hand are working a job completely unrelated to land use in howard county, raising kids, trying to be good examples. Resident's time is not spent in circuit court daily suing everyone they come in contact with, including each other!

If fading equates to illegality, then most certainly a court finding OJ innocent absolutely equates to his innocence.

Anonymous said...

You are right. Legal or illegal is a function of what the courts say. If the courts do not say it is illegal, it isn't.

BTW, why is Beltram so angry about everything lately? Is she in support of anything that isn't a loser? Maybe she is just plain wrong on the issues.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31 says OJ is innocent. Interesting.

If a murder happens and human beings say it didn't, well then it just didn't happen. Tell that to his children and her family.

That logic makes you one of two things: OJ, or recipient of knucklehead award for the most ridiculous statement this year.

PZGURU said...

Those of you who believe the courts are absolutely infallible are INSANE. It wasn't too long that courts rules slavery legal, that negroes were 3/5 of a person, and plenty of other travesties of "injustice".

You are like the anti-death penalty people who fret that people convicted of a crime MIGHT be innocent. Yet, those same people never raise the possibility that acquitted persons could actually in fact be guilty (insert OJ example here).

I too have followed this court case, and the only thing that it demonstrates is that political interference is alive and well in the court system.

This case was being handled by Judge Becker for most of it's duration. Suddenly, and inexplicably, I believe in late summer or fall of 2008, Judge Becker recused himself and Judge McCrone stepped in and took over the case.

Judge McCrone happens to be a close personal buddy of CE Kenny "Boy" Ulman, who happens to be one of the primary defendants in the case.

So, who here thinks the case was decided fairly and impartially, or who thinks McCrone pulled a fast one for his buddy Ken?

I firmly believe the latter.

And - what a shocker - another example of a referendum petition drive upended by the courts over a technicality. What a JOKE!

wordbones said...

"So, who here thinks the case was decided fairly and impartially, or who thinks McCrone pulled a fast one for his buddy Ken?

I firmly believe the latter."

Of course you do.


Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that someone actually believes that justice is equal and if the courts rule that someone is innocent, then they are. Our legal system is flawed like every other system humans invent...try working with the new Vista Ultimate system.
So many people are outraged about OJ for good reason. The techicality that kept Bill Ayers, an admitted Weatherman and bomber in the 1970's, out of prison is another outrageous protection under the law.
It scares me but I tend to believe some of what PZGURU wrote.

PZGURU said...

Wordbone - of course you side with the politicians.

Way back when, when you and David Keelan made your bet, I believe that David outlined in specific fashion, what sections of the law were violated by the County (ie: the CE at the time, Guzzone, and Ulman). Go back and re-read those posts and please explain how you think Comp Lite was ok.

And, wasn't it you who, just a few weeks ago, made a BIG todo about Marc Norman et al not following the EXACT rules and procedures for their petition drive????


wordbones said...

pzg, et al,

David Keelans question was "By permitting “a number of new properties into the process” did the zoning board “break the law”?

Hence, was comp lite illegal?

We now know that the challenge against the legality of comp lite has been dropped. While it is true that doesn't necessarily prove that it was legal it similarly doesn't prove it was illegal. Since the majority of the property disputes in the comp lite litigation were amicably settled outside of a courtroom, I would argue that this is a tacit acknowledgment by the parties involved in the suit that the Comp Lite zoning process itself was legal. In fact, the only remaining Comp Lite legal action doesn't even challenge the legality of Comp Lite, it is more about establishing acceptable buffers and setbacks for the eventual development of the Cavey property.

What all this means to me is that Keelan owes me a beer.

This isn't about OJ Simpson or the death penalty. It's just about a beer bet.


PZGURU said...

Wordbones - you're pathetic. Since certain plaintiffs "settled" out of court and thereby dropped their legal action against the County, that in NO way proves that what was done was legal!!!

I'll go even further. It does NOT take a JUDGE to establish when something is wrong or illegal. You don't need a law degree to be able to read and understand the law, and to understand when someone else breaks the law.

Those people probably only dropped their lawsuits because they figure (and rightly so) that the County has unlimited resources (ie: taxpayer dollars) to fight them, so they cut their losses. It doesn't in any way shape or form mean you were right (that Comp Lite was legal).

Ulman has yet again shown how he will manipulate any situation to his benefit. A true piece of horse dung, imho. And you, in lock step, are willing to show that you'd rather sacrifice integrity (of the system) when it's convenient for you and when it benefits you.

In the words of Daffy Duck, "you're dispicable!"

Anonymous said...

Comp Lite was illegal because the Council bill that "extended" the Comprehensive Rezoning specified that certain items were to be "reconsidered" because the Council had not adequately reviewed and decided them. However, the Council chose to "add" more items that had not been reviewed during the first go round. That was illegal because the bill was specific in what could be reviewed.
The opponents of the petition to referendum sued the Howard County Board of Elections for approving the petition.
The Circurt court ruled that the petition in Comp Lite was legal. It was only when it was appealed that the Howard County Board of Elections chose not to answer the appeal and left it up to the original petitioners to enter the case.