The developers of the 2,272-unit Tanyard Cove residential community proposed for the Marley Neck section of Anne Arundel County passed a key hurdle this month when county officials granted special zoning for the project.
CSX Realty, owner of a 610-acre parcel on the banks of Marley Creek near the intersection of Fort Smallwood Road and Marley Neck Boulevard, received conceptual approval Nov. 1 to build the community as a planned-unit development.
The developers still must obtain county approval to subdivide the land and move ahead with specific neighborhoods within the waterfront community, a process that could take two more years of planning and review. But the recent action is a key step that marks the culmination of years of work involving local citizens groups and county officials.
"We've been moving steadily forward for almost 10 years, but this was a milestone in the project," said R. Carter Houchins, manager of development for CSX Realty's Baltimore office.
"The amount of review this property has seen since 1984 and the community involvement that there has been is probably unprecedented."
Because Tanyard Cove has four miles of shoreline, much of the review process involved the developers' agreement to comply with state critical-areas legislation that was passed several years ago to protect the shoreline.
The state legislation prohibits construction within 100 feet of the shore, and CSX went even further and agreed not to build within 150 feet of the shore.
The master plan, which also calls for nature paths through the community and identifies a possible area for boat access to the water, "certainly is an opportunity to see the critical-areas legislation in action," Mr. Houchins said. "It shows how critical-areas legislation protects waterfront areas in Anne Arundel County and how a developer can address sensitive areas and still come out with an attractive, marketable project."
Named after an inlet off Marley Creek that divides the property, Tanyard Cove is one of five planned-unit developments in various stages of design and construction in Anne Arundel County.
Others include Seven Oaks, Piney Orchard and Russett in the western half of the county, and South River Colony near Annapolis.
The master plan for Tanyard Cove calls for construction of up to 2,272 housing units in a variety of housing types, including up to 1,249 condominiums or apartments, 737 attached residences and 286 detached residences.
Features include 252 acres of open space, including a 40-acre park on land CSX is donating to the county and a 45,000 square foot retail center. CSX has also agreed to donate a 20-acre parcel for construction of an elementary school and to donate a 10 acre dredge disposal site so the county can dredge parts of Marley Creek. The master plan also includes development standards topromote a high-quality image and design consistency of individual residences.
Patrick Dougal, assistant manager of development for CSX Realty, said the firm is aiming to attract people from a variety of locations and representing a cross section of incomes. Because of its location between Baltimore and Washington, he said, Tanyard Cove is likely to appeal to people who work in either city or who work near Columbia or the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
"It will not be primarily a Washington market or solely a Baltimore market," he said. "It's the area that is being defined now as the corridor market."
Tanyard Cove is also expected to appeal to people who like a water-oriented community, Mr. Houchins said. "It has about four miles of waterfront that not many other communities can offer," he said. "It's very attractive for residential use."
Tanyard Cove is part of about 16,000 acres that CSX owns in the Marley Neck area through a subsidiary, Mount Clare Properties. The other land is zoned for industrial use, and CSX is moving ahead with oneindustrial project, the 110-acre Tanyard Business Park.
CSX and its predecessors assembled the land around the turn of the century, and much of it has not been used for any purpose since then.
One key to the success of Tanyard Cove, Mr. Houchins said, will be changing the area's image so that people think of it as a good place to live.
"In that past it's been heavy industry, and that's changing," he said. "It's our opinion that projects like this, done in a quality manner, will help change the image of the area. Obviously, we're investing quite a bit of money in the belief that we can make a difference."
Mr. Houchins and Mr. Dougal said CSX is acting as the land developer and will sell lots and multifamily sites to local builders. They said the pace of construction will be "market driven" but that they hope to see initial site work and homebuilding begin in 1992 or 1993, depending on additional county approvals, and to see the first residents living in Tanyard Cove by 1993 or 1994.
The project could take 10 years or more to complete, they added.