UNION BRIDGE — When residents here voiced their opposition to the proposed development of the 171-acre Phillips property north of town, many said they thought they sounded like a broken record.
"We keep coming to thesemeetings, asking the same questions," said Deborah M. Doxzon at Thursday's public hearing. "We still have no answers."
Doxzon, a resident of Bark Hill Road, which would be affected by increased traffic from the site, said she wanted to see specifics from the developer.
Stanford Management Group of Howard County plans for most of the construction to be along Route 75. When fully developed within about 10 years, the site, owned by G. Jackson Phillips, could include 348 single-family homes and 239 town houses, tripling the population of the town.
The plan meets the town's planned unit density requirement of four units per acre.
The town Planning and ZoningCommission recently recommended that the council annex the parcel into the town.
County planner Steven C. Horn read a letter from the County Commissioners, who have reviewed the proposal and have "no adverse comments."
Mayor Edward L. Williar said the hearing gave the council the opportunity to listen to comments and make an informed decision before voting on annexation. That vote could take place at the next council session on Jan. 28.
"This proposal is critical to the town's future," he said.
Residents repeatedly asked for more information from the developers. Stanford's attorney, Howard L. Alderman Jr. presented
conceptual drawings of the project at a November hearing, saying they were subject to change once construction starts.
Most ofthose attending the hearing said they agree with Edward Hyson, whosehome is on 17 acres on Phillips Lane.
Hyson said he feels like "John the Baptist crying in the wilderness." He said he feared the council already had decided in favor of the annexation.
He asked thoseopposed to the development to stand. About half the 60 people attending stood.
"Are we going to annex something when we have no idea of what's going to be built on it?" he asked. "I think the developers aregoing to sell off parcels to different builders, and we'll have a mess."
Yvette Viviani, of West Broadway in town, questioned annexing the land without a "hard and fast plan" for its development.
"Are wegoing to give the developer a blank check?" she asked.
The mayor said he favors annexation, but that he was not surprised by opponents' complaints.
"Many of these people don't live in town and still won't be in the town limits if this area is annexed," he said. "Some have only been here a few years."
Phillips, a Baltimore County resident who has owned the property for 23 years, told the residents annexation would give the town "far more control" over how the acreage isdeveloped.
"Union Bridge needs economic stimulation," he said. "Iam not involved in this to make a quick buck and leave. I want to create something positive."
Council members said they remain open-minded and undecided.
"I have had mixed feelings from the beginning," saidCouncilman Jeff Six. "I came here to listen like everybody else.