Whether Crofton stays in District 7 or is moved to District 4 is in the hands of the County Council now, after a committee completed its review this week.
The Decennial Charter Revision Commission recently closed the book on its review of the Anne Arundel County Charter—the rules governing how the county operates.
On Monday, the five-member committee issued its final report, including two options for redrawing county district lines—
Crofton became a political hot potato in numerous testimonies from residents in southern Anne Arundel County. Councilman Jerry Walker (R-7th District) of Gambrills said moving Crofton would alter the district’s makeup.
“A number of the folks in the southern part of my district feel like the district should look more like south county, and I guess to exclude Crofton,” Walker said.
Commissioner Jason Rheinstein said that was the most popular topic during public hearings on the redistricting.
“We heard primarily from the folks of south county, who mostly said ‘We would like a rural district.’” Rheinstein said. "That was the biggest concern that we heard."
But south county isn’t densely populated, and without Crofton its population numbers would create an imbalance in the other districts. That became the wrench in the gears of the balancing act, Rheinstein said.
District 4 currently includes Crownsville, Millersville, Gambrills, Odenton, Fort Meade, Maryland City and Laurel.
The committee’s report represents its recommendation to the council. But the council has to vote to make any changes. Council members could issue their own plans for redistricting, or do nothing.
But the redistricting plans in the final report aren’t new. During that meeting, former chairman and Councilman Dick Ladd (R-5th District) said they would likely wait until December to make any changes. But council members have taken no action.
Rheinstein said though the commission is handing off its work to the council, he hopes the two options delivered aren't the only considerations made.
"Our work is done here, but the council has an opportunity to go further,” Rheinstein said. "I hope the council will recognize that and go with something a little cleaner."
The Charter Revision Commission meets once every decade. Advances in technology made this year’s review of the district lines more effective and opened the door to many more possibilities, Rheinstein said.
"This year we've been able to look at more options than ever before because of the software capabilities we have,” he said.
The last time a comprehensive redistricting in the county occurred was more than 50 years ago, Rheinstein said. Since then, lines have been analyzed and redrawn, but never rethought entirely.
A more comprehensive redistricting effort is within reach, but with no hard deadline motivating such an effort, it’s unlikely to occur, Rheinstein said.
The complete 229-page final report to the council is available online at the County Council's website.
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