School Board Puts Brakes On Housing Developments

November 22, 1990|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

The Board of Education's recent recommendation that a 47-unit housing development be delayed is the latest evidence that elementary school crowding in Severna Park has become an important development issue.

"From a developer's point of view, we've been very fortunate for the last two years that the demographics in Severna Park were such that we didn't have a lot of elementary school kids in the area," explained Frank Ward, development administrator for the county Planning and Zoning department.

Lawrence Ripley, the board of education's supervisor of demographic planning, said his projections show that the elementary population at Folger-McKinsey -- which attracts students from the Cypress Creek area -- will be at or near its 520-student capacity through 1995.

The school board plans to move sixth-graders from the school into Severna Park Middle in fall 1992, after Severna Park Elementary's renovations are complete, said Donald Rodkey, the county director of middle and junior high schools.

But even with those changes, Ripley said it may take redistricting or a new school before additional developments can be approved in the Cypress Creek area.

The school board, along with the public works, police, fire and parks departments, can delay approval of subdivisions under the adequate facilities law passed in 1978.

The board's calculations for Folger-McKinsey anticipate two other planned housing projects that have been approved and are in the final design phase -- the 11-home Berrywood Acres development, approved in August 1987, and Woodberry Farms, approved by the school system in September 1988.

Two other fill-in developments, totaling eight units, also were placed on hold by the school board in August.

The board's decision earlier this month to delay the Cypress Pointe development has received special attention because the planned community, also known as the McNulty subdivision, has been loudly contested by neighbors and the Greater Severna Park Council. It was first proposed as a 90-unit, 20.5-acre subdivision in 1987.

Opponents cite that 10 acres of the original development fell within the Chesapeake Bay critical areas. Also, a lawsuit has pitted the developer, Charles Weinstein, against three Osche Road residents who owned rights to the private road. And finally, the Scarlet Oak, believed to be the largest oak in the county, would have been affected by the original plans.

Three revisions have created a 10-acre buffer added along Cypress Creek, separate access to Cypress Creek Road running parallel to Osche Road, and no impact on the Scarlet Oak.

The pared plan to build 47 units in the $300,000 price-range hinges on the school system.

Several other developments, less controversial than Cypress Pointe, also have been put on hold around Severna Park area in the last six months. That includes the 127-unit Harting Farm subdivision at College Parkway and Jones Station Road, which would send children to Belvedere Elementary, and the 55-unit Cypress Landing development, which feeds into Oakhill.

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