Odenton Panel Eyes Town Center Future

April 19, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A committee of Odenton residents, business executives and developersis set to meet at the end of this month to help shape Town Center --218 acres slated for high-rise office buildings, restaurants and hotels.

The meeting will start six months after a similar committee recommended a growth-control bill to the County Council that imposed restrictions on what developers could build on the Town Center land.

The council unanimously approved the restrictions, over the objections of the Halle Cos., which owns most of the land at the intersection of routes 32 and 175 -- across from its Seven Oaks planned unit development.

The bill requires Town Center developers to set aside 25 percent of their lots as green space and limits buildings to eightstories.

Stephen Fleischman, vice president of Halle, complained that the committee debating the bill was biased toward community residents because it did not include many business people. The current committee adds many new faces, including three local business leaders and two residents from Halle's Seven Oaks project.

Pat Wellford, president of the Odenton Improvement Association, said the makeup of the newcommittee is balanced. "I don't have any concerns," she said. "It sounds like they expanded it, and it's still fair."

Alfred Shehab, a longtime Odenton resident and chairman of the committee, said heand officials from the county Office of Planning and Zoning made an effort to expand participation.

He said the additions, including Jay Winer, who is building the Piney Orchard development, 4,000 homes in Odenton, are known to be "fair and evenhanded. People like that are needed."

The 16-member committee is scheduled to make its recommendation by June 30, 1992. Developers will present the members with their concept of the town center, and the committee will discuss changes they feel are needed.

Shehab, who also chaired the committee debating the growth-management bill, said he hopes members can come to a consensus without voting. Meetings over the bill ended up split between developers and residents and led to a partisan fight when the bill came before the County Council.

"Maybe what the developers comein with will be fine," he said. "It will all be perfect. Then we'll be done and we can go home. That's pie in the sky, isn't it?"

The first meeting will be conducted at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at the Office of Planning and Zoning.

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