Issues & Impacts of the Proposed Development in Arnold, Maryland on The Broadneck Peninsula . . .

(The photos below were taken of the flooding on East Joyce Lane after a rain on August 8, 2010 -- a common occurence -- and illustrate some of the infrastructure problems that our community is already facing prior to any new development.)



Infrastructure  (Roads, Traffic, Etc.)

East Joyce Lane is a narrow two lane road with sharp curves and a blind hill and during heavy rains, the road floods at both ends.  In addition, East Joyce Lane is flanked at both ends by schools and a church.  The traffic jams at the South end of East Joyce Lane during pick up and drop off times for Arnold Elementary School as well as for events at Asbury United Methodist Church.  Traffic jam have also historically been a problem at the north end during drop-off and pick-up times when The Chesapeake Academy was located there and this is likely to occur again as a new school (The New York Academy) is moving into that location.  At the north end, the county has intervened and no left turn is allowed due to the dangerous intersection and heavy traffic on Ritchie Highway.  To leave this community going South, traffic must travel from East Joyce Lane to Church Road to Arnold Road encountering the traffic light in front of the Arnold Safeway.  This intersection already has significant backups during rush hour and would be completely overwhelmed by an extra 150 cars per day (estimating that each townhome would have an average of 2 vehicles).  In addition, traffic on Ritchie Highway (Route 2) is already extremely heavy and with the proposed 260 new homes in the area volume on that road would be increased dramatically.

Environment  (Wildlife, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Superfund Hazardous Waste Site Information)

There is a huge amount of wildlife that would be displaced by the proposed East Joyce Lane development.  The area currently houses a large herd of white-tailed deer, red fox, grey squirrels and rabbits.  There are raccoons and other nocturnal animals as well.  In addition, there are many species of birds including red-tailed hawks, owls, woodpeckers and wild turkeys as well as box turtles, snakes and many varieties of insects, trees and plants.  There are Bald Eagles in the Arnold area as well.  Eliminating habitat and food supply will be severely detrimental to our beloved area wildlife and also, with nowhere else to go, wildlife will be forced into residential areas.  The Broadneck Peninsula Vision Statement (read the full Broadneck Peninsula Vision Statement on our Home Page) states that “The citizen’s vision for The Broadneck Peninsula is first and foremost to preserve the unique residential and close-to-nature character of our communities” and we need to work together to uphold this vision and to preserve our communities from overdevelopment.

The proposed  East Joyce Lane development area has a creek running behind it that is Chesapeake Bay watershed and in the past was considered a Chesapeake Bay Critical area;  with the movement towards stricter environmental regulation, it doesn’t seem possible that it would no longer be considered as such.  Part of the proposed development area on East Joyce Lane is an EPA Superfund/Brownfields Investigation site.  Superfund is a federal government program to clean up hazardous waste dumping sites.   Read the details from the Maryland Department of The Environment below:


A.S. Pearmon Site, Arnold, Maryland 

Site Description

This 3.98-acre site is located at 1283 Hardy Road in Arnold, Maryland. The site is situated 0.5 miles northeast of the intersection of Joyce Lane and Hardy

Road in rural Anne Arundel County, and is a former unpermitted landfill. The property is bordered on the north and east by an unnamed stream and wooded area,

on the south by residential houses, and on the west by an auto shop. The unnamed stream flows into Mill Creek, which flows into the Magothy River. The site is partially wooded, with a hill overlooking a small field located next to the stream on the eastern side of the property.  While public water and sewer are currently

available to some area homes, the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) July 1994 Focused Site Inspection report estimated that approximately 4600 households within a four mile radius rely on groundwater for potable water. The nearest residential well is reported to be approximately 200 feet west of the site.

Site History

A.S. Pearmon purchased the property in 1969.  Prior to that time, the property was vacant and unimproved. During the 1980s and possibly the 1970s, the property was allegedly used as a dump site for industrial and other types of wastes, including marine paints and solvents.  Michael Peranio purchased the property in July 1991 and sought permits to construct a new home. He was granted approval in July 1991 to conduct a percolation test for a proposed septic system. It is unclear whether the test was performed or whether the building permit was approved.  MDE’s Hazardous Waste Enforcement program investigated the site in 1991 following a

complaint that marine paint and other unspecified chemicals were dumped on the site.  Investigation found several fill areas containing tree stumps, building debris, household appliances, and 55-gallon containers. Two flatbed trailers, creosote-treated poles, piles of tires, and construction and household trash were also found on the property. The owner, Mr. Peranio, removed a substantial amount of refuse located on the ground surface, including the tires, trash, and flatbed trailers.  The site was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) list on October 30, 1992. MDE completed a Preliminary Assessment (PA) in 1993 and learned that wastes may have been buried at the property. In 1994, MDE completed a Focused Site Inspection (FSI) to evaluate whether groundwater, soil, sediment, or surface water had been impacted by the disposal of hazardous wastes at the site. Samples of soils, sediments and groundwater revealed relatively low levels of contaminants.

Current Status

This site is on the State Master List that identifies potential hazardous waste sites in Maryland. The Master List includes sites currently identified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System. An April 1999 site survey conducted by MDE recommended that the site be further investigated to determine if large quantities of paint waste had been buried on the property as

originally alleged.  In November 2001, ENSAT Environmental Services, under contract to MDE, excavated test pits and collected groundwater, sediment, surface water and soil samples at the site. Though various quantities of solid waste and fill were discovered in some excavations, no significant chemical contamination was discovered. The information contained in the fact sheet presents a summary of past investigations and site conditions currently known to MDE.” 

This property remains on the State Master List that identifies potential hazardous waste sites in Maryland.

NOTE:  There is a second Superfund site involved in the East Joyce Lane proposed development in Arnold, Maryland.  The Green Valley Road Site EPA Superfund Site I.D. Number is MDD980918361 (See Link Below):

Schools   (Overcrowding, Quality of Education and Safety) 

Broadneck Peninsula schools are ranked highly ranked on the county, state, and national level.  The schools that students living in the area of the proposed East Joyce Lane development will attend Arnold Elementary, Severn River Middle School and Broadneck High School.  For the past several years each of these schools have been labeled as “closed” by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools Board of  Education.  A “closed” status means that due to schools being at or over capacity, no new developments are to built for 6 years or until a school is considered below capacity; even if that school is listed as one student over capacity.  Although these schools have remained “closed” for several years, as of July 1, 2010 all three schools listed above are considered “open” for students from newly built developments.   Koch Homes, which is also developing three other communities on the Broadneck Peninsula in Arnold, is donating a $2 million addition to Broadneck High School to enable their development plans to proceed.  This new addition will provide eight new classrooms.  The new classrooms allow for 144 new students; this does not take into consideration the salary of the additional teachers needed for the new classrooms. 

Broadneck High School has been designated as the Anne Arundel County Environmental Literacy Signature School.  This program allows Broadneck students to use the natural environment of the Broadneck Peninsula as a classroom to learn about environmental preservation.  It is outrageous that as this designation is taking place, their “natural classroom” environment is facing devastating overdevelopment!

Arnold Elementary, which is  the school closest and most immediately affected by the East Joyce Lane development is now listed as under capacity by 10 students.  The school is in a constant state of disrepair.  During the 2008-2009 school year, Arnold elementary was forced to place two kindergarten classes in one portable trailer classroom.  This was due to the extensive water and mold damage caused by rupturing pipes.  Rupturing pipes have also damaged the Media center and several other classrooms.  Pipes have ruptured during school hours putting students at risk of injury.  The school’s teachers routinely find rodent droppings in their classrooms and desks.  Overcrowding is an issue as well.  During  the 2009-2010 school year, one fifth grade classroom contained 30 students.  This is double the state’s average student teacher ratio for fourth grade!  With the addition of new students from the proposed developments, this problem will only increase and threatens our children's quality of education.

Students living in the proposed East Joyce Lane development will be considered walkers.  There are no sidewalks on East Joyce Lane.  Koch Homes has stated that they will not provide sidewalks or funding for repairs at Arnold Elementary in order to accommodate the new students from the East Joyce Lane development.   This means that elementary school children will be forced to walk in a road that will have approximately an additional 150 cars on it per day!

NEW!   ACT Schools Update After 8/16/10 County Council Meeting

Thanks to all of you who attended the Anne Arundel County Council Meeting on August 16, 2010!  We had over 40 people come out to support ACT’s efforts to stop the overcrowding of our schools and the overdevelopment of our community.  We attended the meeting in opposition of Bill 67-10, which would implement the Board of Education’s new school Utilization Chart.  This chart was based upon the Board of Education’s projections for enrollment for the 2012 school year.  On this chart, only one school on the Broadneck peninsula, Cape St. Claire Elementary School, would be deemed closed (it was also determined that Severna Park High School and the feeder schools below it would remain closed as well).  The rest of the county schools, including Arnold elementary (only under capacity by 10 students) will be deemed open.  Once the schools were moved to “open” status, developers have the ok to build and the schools will be absorbing the new students.  Despite evidence proving that the Board of Education’s enrollment projections are consistently wrong, the County Council did not cast their votes in our favor and passed Bill 67-10. This, by no means is a signal to give up!  We must continue fighting for our children and our community. 

We at ACT understand, that if the County Council were to vote Bill 67-10 down; children in other parts of the county would be facing the same overcrowding of schools that our children are  now facing.  Because no child should be subjected to such overcrowded classrooms, the Bill 67-10 was truly a Catch-22 situation.  The members of ACT understand this dilemma; however, what we do not understand is the attitude taken by OUR elected representative.  District 5 Councilwoman, Cathy Vitale (R), made a point of addressing the ACT members who were going to speak, stating, “You do understand that the chart will not stop the developments.  They [the developments] are coming.”  This comment was made before any member of the opposition (ACT or others) were able to present their testimony.  As voters, we must ask ourselves, “Do I want MY elected representative to dismiss my case before I even have a chance to speak?”   Is a candidate that negates constituent’s concerns before they are even presented worthy of my vote?   It is our hope that all of our current and future elected representatives know that, in order to reach or maintain public office, it is in their best interest to listen to their constituents concerns and not to predetermine their intentions.   

Our next ACT Meeting will be announced soon.  Thank you all for your continued support!

NEW!    Capital News Article Follow-Up to County Council Meeting on 8/16/10

Full Article:


"The unanimous decision by the County Council Monday night in Annapolis came during a busy legislative session, with members also unanimously approving the long-delayed Odenton Town Center, as well as lifting a de facto moratorium on new subdivisions on the Broadneck Peninsula. Residents from Arnold claimed that last move will usher as many as 500 new homes into an area where schools are increasingly crowded."

"Two Rivers OK'd

The meeting also included approval of a second deal with a developer that would advance the stalled Two Rivers housing project in Odenton, which proposes 2,000 homes to be built around a golf course.

The deal would change how and when Koch Homes pays for access to the county's sewer system. In exchange, Koch would give the county access to 500,000 gallons of sewer capacity at a private plant.

According to an analysis by County Auditor Teresa Sutherland, the county would lose $9 million by delaying collection of the fees, but gain about $14 million by selling the extra capacity to someone else.

Currently, the developer owes the county nearly $4 million in outstanding fees, plus another $26.5 million due in January 2012. The approved plan waives the outstanding fees and delays the bulk of the others until after 2015.

The council also adopted a few changes to stormwater regulations spurred by new state laws. The topic will be in front of the council again in September.

Broadneck protest

Meanwhile, residents from Arnold protested lifting the de facto moratorium on subdivisions in their area, saying too many developments are in the pipeline and that they will eventually overwhelm schools.

A deal with Koch Homes to add eight classrooms to Broadneck High School effectively put an end to the moratorium by creating space in the otherwise overcrowded school feeder system.

The school system brokered the deal in January, and council members last night told residents they cannot choose to keep the moratorium in place if schools can accommodate more students.

"We do not have the legal authority to do that," said Councilwoman Cathy Vitale, a Severna Park Republican who represents the area.

One woman broke down in tears as she told council members their action would damage children's education." 


NEW!  Cultural History of Arnold, Maryland

The Arnold Hometown History Project:

The Arnold Preservation Society History of Arnold, Maryland:

Property Values

It is a concern that historically the addition of townhomes to an area lowers surrounding property values.  In addition, in the current economy there is a large inventory of homes on the market as well as foreclosures.  These current property owners will be less likely to be able to sell their existing homes with more than 450 new homes flooding the Arnold housing market.  It is also likely that a number of the new homes will be sitting vacant without buyers.