Opponents of Konterra, the ambitious residential and commercial development planned for northern Prince George's County, filed a suit in Circuit Court yesterday that seeks to overturn the County Council's decision last year to rezone 523 acres, a vote that allows the initial phase of the proposed 2,000-acre minicity to go forward.
The suit, by 27 owners of property adjacent to the development, charges that the council's action was "prompted by undue political pressure" -- a reference to "arm-twisting" on behalf of Konterra by Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening, according to Walter H. Maloney Jr., who has led the fight against the development. Maloney has helped collect funds to finance the suit but said he did not join it because his home is not next to the property.
Maloney cited, for example, Glendening's blistering attack on "misguided" antidevelopment activists in the county and their political allies. That speech was made between the council's initial and final votes on Konterra.
The council blocked the bulk of the rezoning requests by developer Kingdon Gould Jr., but approved 488 acres of mixed-use residential and commercial zoning, as well as a 35-acre office park. Initially, the council imposed a stringent highway condition on the development on the 488-acre parcel, but later eased those terms.
The plaintiffs, who argue that the development would reduce property values and impair the residential character of their neighborhoods, also charge that the rezoning was not motivated by "public need," but rather "granted for the exclusive benefit and profit of the applicants."
Konterra lawyer Glenn T. Harrell Jr., who said Gould is still considering an appeal of the council's denial of nearly 1,000 acres of mixed-used zoning, said he could not comment on the suit.