Ilchester neighborhood activist William C. Smith stood in front of a wall of dirt and pointed to one of the reasons he's campaigning for the County Council seat now held by fellow Democrat Shane Pendergrass.

Buried in the bottom of the wall and pointing into Maurice Cahill's yard is a 24-inch drain pipe where a 60-foot poplar once stood.

"The way they are dumping water on this homeowner is the kind of thing that's been happening to District 1," Smith said.

In just the last year, proposals have been floated to make District 1 home to giant truck stop, a truck garage and a huge regional garbage sorting center, Smith said.

"It is clear that people of Howard County have lost control of their government," Smith, 40, told a dozen neighbors attending the opening of his campaign Tuesday.

The computer consultant faulted Pendergrass for not pushing harder for legislation that would ensure development doesn't overburden schools and roads.

Pendergrass said Smith alerted her to his candidacy last Saturday. She added that she's "always disappointed when a constituent is not happy with my representation."

She has not yet formally begun her reelection campaign. The primary is Sept. 11, and the winner will face the republican nominee in the Nov. 6 general election. As of now, Dennis R. Schrader is the only GOP candidate.

A longtime president of the Bonnie Branch-Ilchester Community Association, Smith helped form the Coalition of Community Associations this spring. He also was its first chairman but has now stepped down from that post.

Smith has pledged not to accept contributions from developers but said he is not opposed to all development."

"Developers have a right to build on their land. I will insist, however, that they play by the rules and not continue to blatantly disregard our rights," Smith said.

That's also the attitude of Cahill, who now lives next to the wall of dirt. He and two neighbors tried to buy the land now slated for more than 20 single-family houses but were outbid by a developer. Now, Cahill is trying to figure out to handle all the storm water runoff that will drain across his property.

"I've always had a runoff problem. But they cut all the trees down and regraded the land so that even more water drains across my front yard now," Cahill said.