Rouse Co. says its proposal to expand Columbia by 89 acres would satisfy the requirements of the county's draft adequate facilities ordinance.
The plan also includes a request to rezone another 175 acres for apartments, single-family homes and open space. Most of the annexation and rezoning would take place in the Village of Long Reach.
FOR THE RECORD - In a story in last Sunday's Howard County Sun, James Q. Blimmel was incorrectly identified. Blimmel, who represented the Sebring Civic Association at the Zoning Board hearing, also said his group does not oppose the Rouse Co. rezoning requests. The Howard County Sun regrets the errors.
Rouse asked the zoning board Wednesday for permission to add eight parcels totaling about 22 acres to the village. Most of the addition -- 17.2 acres -- would be used for offices and retail shops. The remaining 4.9 acres would be set aside as open space.
Rouse is also asking permission to put houses and apartments on 149 Long Reach acres now zoned for offices and retail stores. If the petition is approved, Rousewould build apartments and town houses on 65 acres, single-family homes on 54 acres, and keep the remaining 30 acres as open space.
Alton J. Scavo, Rouse Co. vice president, told zoning board Chairman C.Vernon Gray that any development occurring as a result of the petition would be subject to the roads and schools tests in the adequate facilities bill, if it is enacted as expected next month.
Scavo was part of a 12-member commission of developers, civic leaders, school officials and county employees that worked on the adequate-facilities proposal six hours a week for the past year.
Five people, three ofwhom live in Long Reach, spoke against the petition. Their concerns focused on the two areas the draft adequate facilities ordinance is designed to address -- traffic congestion and school overcrowding.
The ordinance, which will come before the County Council 5 next monthand could take effect Feb. 3, requires builders to make intersectionimprovements, pay a fee, or halt development if road capacity is inadequate now or as a result of the development.
The schools test ismuch stiffer. If schools are projected to be 120 percent over capacity when the new development supposed to be completed, the project is put on hold for four years. Even if the project is approved, developers must pay building excise taxes ranging from $1,400 to $2,800 on every unit they build.
Long Reach resident Carol McMurchie told the zoning board she liked the fact Rouse was proposing a residential community next to her home rather than a business development, but said she was concerned about schools.
Sebring resident James Q. Blumer opposed the portion of the petition affecting downtown Columbia, where Rouse wants 25.5 acres now zoned for offices and retail shops changed to allow apartments and open space.
The property consists of two parcels behind Symphony Woods near the intersection of Little Patuxent Parkway and Broken Land Parkway. Blumer's Sebring neighborhood backs up to the property.
He told the zoning board he is concerned about the height of the buildings on 20 acres of apartments as well asthe traffic generated by them. "We're moving toward calamity at several of these intersections," he said.
There was no opposition to any of the other parts of the petition, which affect parcels in Clarksville, Guilford and at Cedar Lane and Freetown Road.
The zoning board has 60 days in which to act on the petition. If approved, Columbia would grow to 14,136 acres. Of those acres, 10 percent would be used for low-density housing, 21 percent for medium-density homes, 12 percent for apartments and town houses, and 19 percent for offices and retail stores. The remaining 38 percent would be kept as open space.