A heavily wooded lot that is a well-known hangout for vagrants in Glen Burnie could soon house a different group of people if a developer has his way.
George Stone of Pasadena is seeking the county's approval to clear out the beer bottles and build 114 two-bedroom condominiums and a 6,000-square-foot office center on the 8.3-acre property.
Representatives for the developer met with county officials yesterday morning to review sketch plans for the proposed subdivision off Crain Highway near Quarterfield Road. Stone needs the county's permission to combine four parcels into two lots.
Although a dozen members of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association expressed concern about the proposal last week, none showed up for Wednesday's meeting at the county Office of Planning and Zoning in Annapolis.
Kathy Clay of Developers Facilitators Inc., a Severna Park land planning and engineering firm, unveiled revised designs showing nine low-rise condominium buildings and a small office complex. The apartments are tucked behind the proposed office building, which would continue the commercial strip of gas stations and small shops on the east side of Crain Highway.
The hour-long meeting ended with county officials giving a tentative nod of approval to Stone's latest sketch plans, called Crain Overlook.
"It's certainly feasible," said Chris Soldanu, a county planner who chaired the meeting. "It's really just a matter of massaging the location of the units."
Soldanu and other officials from county agencies suggested that Stone develop a central recreation area instead of scattering playgrounds across the property. To create a central playground, he would have to push back some of the three-story condominium buildings.
Growing traffic congestion along Crain Highway, Aquahart Road and Route 174 remains the second-biggest stumbling block.
In a two-page opinion on Stone's plans, traffic engineers from the Department of Public Works recommended denying approval until the developer extends the sidewalk on Crain Highway, turns the entrance into a private road, and provides two more loading zones. They also suggested constructing parking spaces along a looped road instead of in dead-end courts.
Stone will be required to study the traffic impact of Crain Overlook on the surrounding area when he submits final plans, said traffic consultant George Eberle.
"We're not sure yet whether Crain and Aquahart (Road) can handle the extra traffic," he said. "We'll just have to wait and see the traffic impact study."
Because the property is densely wooded, Stone should be able to develop and still meet the requirements of the county's tree bill. But Penny Chalkley, a county planner in the environmental division, said construction will create a different sort of disturbance.
A group of vagrants she met while surveying the site told her "they were very upset that we were taking away their party place," Chalkley reported.
Clay smiled, but said she believes Glen Burnie needs additional condominiums more than a vacant "party" lot. Although the area already boasts more than 1,000 apartments and numerous single-family homes, she said Stone could carve out a niche by selling condominiums.
"Three years ago, there was a study done on the need for residential units in Glen Burnie that showed they were still over 2,000 units shy," she said. "I can't believe that's been built in the last couple of years."