A bill that would limit the number of unrelated persons who can live together in a single-family, detached home met with mixed approval this week from members of several Prince George's County civic and tenants organizations.
At a public hearing on the bill, now being studied by the County Council, former landlord-tenant commissioner Lawrence Albert called the legislation "unethical, discriminatory and morally wrong," and said it was "extreme and hostile" in its views about the singles population of the county.
The bill, which was written in response to complaints in the Hyattsville area about noise and parking problems allegedly caused by eight people living in a single-family house, would reduce the number of unrelated people allowed to rent a residence from the current eight people to five unrelated people. In addition, the legislation would allow either a family or a maximum of two unrelated individuals to rent to three other unrelated persons.
Albert protested, asking the council, "Why are you making life so difficult for singles? To the best of my knowledge, families have just as many cars and have just as many parties."
Albert compared the bill to legislation initiated early last year that would have allowed landlords to restrict renting on the basis of a tenant's marital status.
James Wyerman of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group told the council the bill "would have the worst impact in university areas like College Park. It will affect many poor tenants and create a group of renters increasingly limited to the middle- and high-income groups."
Most people who spoke said they would support the bill, despite its shortcomings. They said they felt it was better than a more restrictive version of the bill that had been drafted earlier.
The council is expected to vote on the bill next week.
In other action:
The council voted to send the Matta-woman proposal to yet another public hearing. This time the council would like to hear the public's opinion on a proposal to leave the land proposed for the new town in rural agricultural land, thus preventing any development for the next five to six years.
The hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 and 8 at the Upper Marlboro County Administration Building hearing room.
In an effort to increase the use of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport by county employes, the council directed the county executive to design new travel regulations that would designate BWI as the "preferred airport for all travel."
Council member Francis B. Francois, who introduced the bill, said the use of BWI would help alleviate citizen concerns about overuse of National Airport, would reduce air pollution and would encourage the economic development of Maryland and Prince George's County.
The travel regulations would require that any travel from airports other than BWI be approved by the county's chief administration officer.
The council opposed a decision made last week to close the Child Health and Dental Clinics in Accokeek. In a strongly worded letter drafted this week to county health officer Dr. Donald K. Wallace, the council told Wallace that "no facility could be closed without the explicit order of the county council acting as the board of health."
In his letter to the Accokeek Health Council, Wallace gave no indication why the clinics would be closed but said that transportation to the Baden Health Center would be available on a monthly basis.
Council member David G. Hartlove presented a package of bills that would implement the county's "anti-litter" campaign.
The six bills incorporate recommendations made by the Citizens Concerned for a Cleaner County and inviolations of the county litter and refuse codes; a requirement that the Animal Control Warden pick up on request any animal carcass; requirements for a junkyard license, and prohibitions against open storage of automobiles in disrepair.
"There are many forms of litter, and often we don't think about what constitutes litter and what makes our neighborhoods unsightly," said Hartlove. "These bills certainly address specific problems. But they also intend to put citizens on the alert that Prince George's County is serious about its anti-littering laws and its anti-littering program."