Developers and opponents of a 722-home planned unit development (PUD) proposed in Gambrills haven't reached a compromise and an appeals hearing on the project is set for this afternoon.
A scheduled hearing last month was delayed until today to give both sides time to meet. But an attorney representing one of the opponents said an agreementcouldn't be reached. "We would just as soon let the board of appealsdecide," he said.
Attorneys were more optimistic last month, saying there had been a "meeting of the minds" on a proposal offered by Thomas and Dorothy Watts, who live near the proposed development on St. Stephen's ChurchRoad.
The project encompasses 221 acres off Waugh Chapel Road near Route 3. It is being built by Leimbach Development Inc., of Glen Burnie, and the Halle Cos., the Silver Spring-based developer of Seven Oaks in Odenton.
An administrative hearing officer approved the project in March, rejecting the argument of a vocal contingent of neighbors that called the development incompatible with the rural area.
The opponents argue that developers should not build a high-density project but should be required to follow 1989 regulations enacted during comprehensive rezoning.
The developers say they could build just as many homes under current zoning regulations, but want a specialexception for a PUD so all developers can work in concert on a cohesive project that would include a school and a baseball field.
The compromise proposal focused on the northern edge of the planned development, roughly 70 acres. Residents living along St. Stephen's ChurchRoad don't want town houses close to their single-family houses.
Anthony Christhilf, an attorney representing the Crofton Farms partnership, said earlier the developers were considering putting all the town houses farther south, near Riedel Road and then spacing out single-family homes near the area of concern. That would have reduced the total number of homes by 100.
But Frederick Sussman, a lawyer representing the Watts, said the developers offered a counter-proposal which was not acceptable to his clients.
"They couldn't do what we had asked, not only in terms of numbers, but in terms of placement," he said. "The bottom line is, my client didn't feel settlement was appropriate."
Sussman would not be specific on the developers' counter-proposal, and Christhilf could not be reached for comment.
The appeals hearing is scheduled to begin today at 2 p.m. in the County Council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis. It will continue tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.