A campaign to block construction of new townhouses in staid old Glyndon has been handed a serious setback with the project's approval by the Baltimore County Board of Appeals.
"I'm not surprised," said Ellen Cray. She is one of the chief protesters against plans by the Chatsworth Partnership to build 65 townhouses and 29 detached homes on 27 acres on Sacred Heart Lane south of Butler Road.
Cray said neighbors haven't made a decision on whether to appeal the matter to county Circuit Court. She added, however, that a dissenting opinion by one of the three board members who agreed with the protesters that the project should be returned to the County Review Group for further study "does offer some hope."
Harry E. Bucheister Jr. based his dissent last week on the fact that county Councilman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-3rd, under pressure from area residents, eliminated the extension of Sacred Heart Lane from the county capital budget last spring, just after the CRG approved the project. The CRG is a bureaucratic committee of two officials that ensures that subdivisions meet all county technical standards.
Bucheister agreed with the residents that elimination of the road extension would force a major change in the plan, requiring more consideration by the CRG. The other two board members, the chairman, William T. Hackett, and C. William Clark, considered the changes minor ones that wouldn't require more review.
Community testimony at the board hearings centered on fears of increased traffic, the possible loss of two soccer fields and the general impact on the community.
Cray said her basic contention is that townhouses don't belong in an old neighborhood of detached, single-family homes. "It's just going to incredibly change the community," she said.
What especially galls the protesting residents is that the land on which the houses are to be built was sold to the developer in 1989 by the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
The church needs the money to build a new, larger sanctuary and did not predict the plan would stir such opposition. The Rev. Lloyd Aiken, the pastor, said last June that he is sorry the church has ended up in the middle of the dispute. He said the church held a public meeting in January 1989 to discuss the land sale and no opposition was expressed.