Upscale-home Plan Hailed By Hampstead

September 11, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

HAMPSTEAD — The planned Oakmont Green development will increase tax revenues, improve the water supply and boost local business, town officials say.

The 89 luxury homes on 126 acres on Greenmount Church Road off Route 30 are projected to sell for $350,000 and more. An 18-hole, par-72championship golf course is included in the plan.

The development, slated for completion in 1995, would boost the town's tax base of $38 million to $50.5 million.

"Homes at these prices will . . . contribute more to the tax revenue than they would beusing (in services)," said Hampstead Mayor C. Clinton Becker.

With the town tax rate at 58 cents per $100 of assessed property value, an owner of the median-priced $98,400 Hampstead home pays about $231 yearly in town taxes. If the tax rate remains the same, the development would increase town property tax revenues about $72,000 over the $262,681 for fiscal 1992.

Town Manager John Riley said the money will help pay for town services.

"At present, there is a large gap between above-average housing and upscale housing," Becker said. He said that without the upscale housing, higher-income residents could beforced to move elsewhere.

A buyer might start out with a town house in Roberts Field, in the high-$90,000s, then move up to a single-family home there in the $120,000 range, Becker said.

"The next move would be to North Carroll Farms, where homes are in the $150,000 to$160,000 price range," he said. "Oakmont Green will provide familieswho have been living in Hampstead, and want to stay, the opportunityto move up the ladder."

Oakmont Green is unlike any of the town'sother established housing developments, said Councilman Arthur Moler.

"It will definitely be a difference in the taxes because of the lot prices and minimum square footage requirements," he said.

Finished lots, ranging from three-quarters of an acre to 2.3 acres, sell for $70,000 to $97,500. Covenants set guidelines for home styles and size.

Ranch homes must be at least 1,650 square feet, a 1 1/2-story home (Cape Cod) at least 2,000 square feet and a two-story home a minimum of 2,200 square feet. Each home also is required to have a two-car garage, said James E. Matthews, president of Oak Investment Co. of Timonium, the developer for Oakmont Green.

While town officialslook to greater property tax revenue from the higher-priced homes, the water underneath the area is of equal importance to them.

"One of the advantages we will get from the development is the use of water," Becker said. "The homes will contribute more water to the system via their wells."

Riley said the additional water supply is important "because Hampstead has never had an abundance of water." The townhas a moratorium on outdoor water use.

The underground aquifer isone of the better water-producing areas in the northeast part of thecounty, according to a 1989 study conducted by R. E. Wright, a Westminster engineering consulting firm.

"We did a hydrogeologic study followed by test well drilling, and we found relatively large quantities of clean water yields," said Mike Haufler, a project manager who oversees technical projects for Wright. "The production wells we drilled were between 100 and 200 gallons per minute."

The typical yield of a well is 10 gallons per minute or less, he said.

Hampstead officials say the town economy could benefit from the development.

"With a development like this, you will be bringing a different classof people into town that tend to be more affluent," said Moler. "There will be more professional people who will be spending their money,and that will show in the local businesses."

Said Becker, "Anytime we develop, we hope that the new residents will spend their money with the local businesses. Realistically, some of their needs will be met elsewhere."

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