UNION BRIDGE - Like newly elected Commissioner Donald I. Dell, residents here want to keep it country.
Kent H. Doxzon said he prefers a view of trees and farmland from his Bark Hill Road home to the sight of 600 new houses.
He and his wife, Deborah, made sure all their neighbors knew about Tuesday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting with developers of the 171-acre Phillips property, north of the town.
The couple warned neighbors by phone and posted signs throughout the town, getting the attention of about 50 residents who filled the Community Center.
The residents heard about Stanford Management Group's plans for a development, which could double the town's population within 10 years.
The Howard County company's proposal calls for phased construction of 348 single-family homes and 239 town houses, with the most concentrated building near Route 75. No apartments are planned.
Stanford attorney Howard L. Alderman Jr. opened the presentation with drawings of the development, stressing the project is only in the conceptual stage.
"This is what the parcel can support under the town's existing zoning ordinances," he said. "What I am showing you is in the most preliminary stage and will change when we actually start moving dirt."
Plans call for the relocation of Myers Super Thrift Market on about 30 acres of the parcel already zoned general business. The developers are negotiating with the owner, Elwood Myers.
Myers said he hopes to build a new 18,000-square-foot store, with the possibility of adding another 12,000 square feet if business warrants it.
"If it goes as it should, we could start building in the spring," said Myers.
The business construction would leave about 140 acres for residential development. The plan meets housing-density requirements, which the Town Council lowered from six to four units per acre last May.
The plan also addresses concerns expressed in recent public hearings on the county's Comprehensive Plan and at council sessions about the growth impact on the town, said Alderman.
Developers included active open-space plots for recreational use on the plan and redesigned the road that will connect Route 75 to Bark Hill Road.
"The connector road's curved boulevard effect should keep speed down through the development," he said. "The two planned egresses onto Route 75 will lessen traffic on Bark Hill Road."
Much to the irritation of some residents, the commission would not field questions from the audience. Chairman Thomas R. Winebrener told the audience to bring questions to a Jan. 10 public hearing on the proposal.
"We are hear to listen to the developer's presentation," Winebrenner said at the outset of the meeting. "We will take no questions from the floor."
Deborah Doxzon said she didn't realize residents would have no opportunity to voice concerns to developers and resented "holding questions until January."
Edward Hyson, of Phillips Lane, said he didn't get anything out of the session.
He said developers will have to consider periodic flooding, which occurs on the southern end of the site. He thinks only about 110 acres would be suitable for building.