- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2002

SHADY SIDE, Md. (AP) For years, watermen have based their small crab-catching businesses from their waterfront homes along the Chesapeake Bay, storing gear and landing seafood on their own docks.
But the practice of crabbing off shore-side properties in southern Anne Arundel County is drawing complaints from newcomers to the area who are gobbling up property to gaze at the view, not ungainly crabbing equipment.
Tensions have heightened as the area, fast becoming a hub for sport fishing and recreational boating, continues to attract white-collar commuters to Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington. From 1980 to 2000, the area's population grew by half, to 11,116 from 7,399.
Under the county's zoning ordinance, property owners seeking a top-notch view have the advantage. The zoning allows only a few businesses to be based out of homes, including professional-type offices, florists, nurseries, tailors and massage parlors.
The city code allows the businesses to be conducted within the home, and it prohibits outside storage. Watermen are seeking to be included in the list of businesses that can operate from home.
"We're exploring creating a zoning amendment that would address the storage and sales issues but would respect what we're hearing from people that would be neighbors of that kind of use," said Pam Jordan, spokeswoman for the county's land use office.
The issue came into focus three years ago in Anne Arundel County. A neighbor's complaint to the county zoning office forced a 68-year-old man to stop selling crabs from his Shady Side home something he had done nearly all his life.
"That really alarmed some of us," said Bill Scerbo, who is leading the rezoning effort. Mr. Scerbo, 41, bought a piece of waterfront property at the end of West River Road in Shady Side six years ago in order to streamline his business and avoid the hassles of renting a slip.
His wife, Linda Andreasen, president of the Shady Side Peninsula Association, said the future of watermen in the area may depend on securing legal protection for their work.


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