The only major home construction sewer hookup request supported by Prince George's County Executive Lawrence Hogan since he took office last December is for a multimillion dollar housing development in Bowie proposed by his former campaign treasurer.
While rejecting the sewer hookup priority requests of some 50 developers this year, Hogan made one exception by endorsing the plans of George G. H. McDaniel Jr., a Hogan ally who served as campaign treasurer and fund-raiser in several of his political campaigns.
Hogan recommended to the County Council that McDaniel's sewer hookup request for 127 lots for $50,000 to $70,000 homes in the Bowie area be approved. But at the same time, arguing that the county could afford only limited growth, the county executive urged the council to delay or deny sewer authorization for more than 8,000 single-family homes, 3,071 townhouses and 996 apartment units.
Many of Hogan's recommendations conflicted with those of his staff, which recommended approval for at least three other residential developments seeking the same priority as McDaniel. Sewer hookup authorization is a key step in development which cannot proceed without it.
Hogan said he planned to deny McDaniel's request until McDaniel called, arranged a meeting and "explained what he was planning to do."
"George is a friend of mine and he called me about it," Hogan said. "He got in the door because he is a friend, but I think his proposal flies on its merits."
Hogan said McDaniel's request was clearly distinquishable from those of other homebuilders. "They are not building the houses, but they are going to sell lots individually so that people can arrange to build their own homes," he said.
"The [McDaniel's] lots are going to have a lot of greenspace around them.This will not be a tract development where you have only three or four different styles of houses. Many of the other [developers] want to build standard tract subdivisions," Hogan said.
Hogan's recommendations on new sewer hookups have run into opposition on the County Council, which must approve Hogan's plans. Council members have said that Hogan's policies are far too rigid and that more development must be approved and encouraged.
Kenneth Duncan, Hogan's chief aide, said yesterday that the sewer hookup recommendations are being reviewed again and that Hogan might revise them before public hearings next month.
McDaniel, a Hyattsville insurance salesman, said yesterday that he and three other investors bought 60 acres for the Bowie development some 15 years ago, but began work on the property only last year.
He said he first approached former executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr., about subdividing and selling individual home lots. "I had a meeting with him but it never got out of his office," Mcdaniel said. "He never sent it down to the council.
"I guess Hogan approved it this time because he liked it," McDaniel said. "I don't know. I don't mind-read. I can't tell how he feels."
A former Republican state senate candidate and member of the county Republican central committee, McDaniel was the treasurer of Hogan's campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 1974 and served as a fund-raiser and treasurer in Hogan's congressional campaigns.
McDaniel did not work actively in Hogan's campaign for county executive because of a serious illness, but contributed $1,000 -- the legal limit for an individual.
"I'm a friend of Winnie Kelly, too," Mcdaniel said. "I was the cochairman of his New Quality Committee."
What Hogan is supporting for McDaniel is a sewer hookup priority that will allow Mcdaniel and his partners to begin making final subdividing plans. Builders cannot submit these plans until they receive the priority, and the plans must be approved before final development work can begin.
The builders who applied for sewer hookups this year were seeking varying priorities, depending on the stage of their developments. In addition to Mcdaniel's requests granted by Hogan were for commercial developments and for two applicants who want to build five homes.
The priority sought by McDaniel represents the next-to-last stage in the complicated process of approval for new county development. Nine other developers seeking to build 1,656 homes requested the same priority, but Hogan recommended against them.
At least three of those developments were recommended for approval by Hogan's technical staff, including a project of ninety-one $100,000 homes less than a mile from McDaniel's property sponsored by Albert W. Turner, a prominent Democratic developer. Except for McDaniel's plan to sell lots individually, the two sites are nearly identical, according to county officials.
"There's no question that these things are somewhat political," said Robert Manzi, Turner's attorney. "This development meets all the criteria for the priority we're requesting, so it should eventually be approved."
"I did not single out Albert Turner's lot to kill it," said Hogan. "He never came up here and explained it to me or told me what he was planning. But I guess he figures he will get what he wants from the [all-Democratic] council, anyway."