Panel Offers An Early Look At Odenton's Future

May 02, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A committee spending the next year shaping a new Odenton met for thefirst time Tuesday in a "feeling-out process" that served more to explain how work will proceed than discussing a new community vision.

But county planners offered community residents, business leaders and developers a peek at what could become of Odenton, seen as the county's third town center, following Glen Burnie and Parole.

"This is a splendid opportunity to come up with something worthwhile and attractive," said committee chairman Alfred Shehab, a longtime Odenton resident. "The community will benefit from this, because they will have someplace to go, which we do not have now."

The 18-member committee will start its first formal meeting in June with a tour of Odenton. From there, members will discuss everything from traffic patterns to land use to a demographic and market analysis.

By July 1992, the committee should have put together rules that developerswanting to build in the 218-acre town center and its periphery will have to follow.

The committee will not tell developers what to build, but rather will tell them what it wants to see in certain areas. For example, thecommittee could say it wants a concentration of office buildings in one section and open space in another.

Committee members are hoping a consensus can be reached, negating the need for a vote. Its goals are different from last summer, when a similar group drafted growth-control legislation for the area.

The County Council unanimously approved the restrictions over the objections of developers. The restrictions include requiring builders to set aside 25 percent of their lots as green space and limiting buildings to eight stories.

The big task facing the committee, county planners said, is melding existing development with the new town.

Bruce Galloway, a consultant hired by the county to oversee the design of Town Center, said one problem is that people don't know when they are within the community. He put up maps with standard landmarks, including the entrance to Fort Meade, Boomtown, the railroad tracks and prominent businesses, and said they could be used to define the community's borders.

He said that when the Route 32 extension is completed, Route 175 will become a local road, the new Main Street for Odenton.

Larry Burkins, head of the site plan review process for the county planning department, said it is important for everyone to work together to create a model city.

"We don't want to see another Parole, where you can't get from one parking lot to the next -- where you can't walk across the street," he said. "Through negotiation, we should reach an agreement on what the market calls for and what the plan allows."

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