The Prince George's Council withstood an extremely long legislative session on Tuesday and passed a number of important zoning ordinances that will affect industrial growth in the county.
In an 11-hour session punctuated by occasional light comments about the lateness of the hour, the council also refused to license county cats, returned to committee a bill to change the hours that prohibit dancing and heard a Metropolitan Council of Governments report on the effects of growth throughout the metropolitan area.
Growth, through a major change in the industrial zoning laws and through amendments offered to the 10-Year Water and Sewarage Plan, was the major issue of the day.
Developers and attorneys for developers battled it out against citizens groups in a public hearing on the water ans sewer plan with one side attempting to move up the timetables for development while the other side rejected the push.
John Austin of Bowie echoed many citizens groups' feelings about expansion when he told the council, "We are not a development, not a community of transients.We did not come to Schaeffer Lane for speculation, but to live in peace. All we ask is to be let alone. We are not trying to thwart development - we just want to keep our way of life."
The major change in zoning during the council session came when the members passed an ordinance to change the uses in an industrial park or I-3 zone.
Sponsored and maneuvered through committees and public hearings by council member David G. Hartlove, the ordinance will place a greater emphasis on high quality employment by creating a mix of industrial, research and office uses within the same area as institutional and recreational uses.
The legislation was necessary for the growth of the county, Hartlove said, because deficiencies and restrictions in the current ordinance hindered the development of industrial areas throughout the county.
Hundreds of acres in the county have recently been reclassified I-3 or are being considered for reclassification through the sectional map amendment procedures in a push toward high quality development in the area.
A planned industrial-employment park could combine banks, manufacturing, hotels, radio and television broadcasting studios, a golf course and warehouses within any land parcel larger than 25 acres.
Prince George's County itself owns a 1600-acre land tract that the council plans to develop for use as an employment park in the I-3 zone.
"I believe we had an I-3 zone in Prince George's that was totally ineffective (in promoting development)," said council member Francis B. Francois. "This will turn it into something useable."
Council member Gerard T. McDonough added, "This will make the zone show a little more life."
The only bit of life at the council session, however, was a discussion on the bill to license cats. An attempt to control the county's cat population through licensing and mandatory rabies shots, the bill faced stiff competition from cat lovers at a public hearing last week and finally went down to defeat as the council members realized the difficulties with such a law.
Francois said that many senior citizens are cat owners, and to license their cats would impose one more hardhip on them.
Several council members stressed the difficulty the department of licensing and permits was having with dog licensing and said that there was no way of knowing how many cats there are in Prince George's county.
Council chairman William B. Amonett told the council, "You cannot contain a cat in a yard. They are hunters by nature and have to roam."
"It's just not in the nature of the feline beast," said council member Samuel W. Bogley.