To address community concerns and resolve some technical issues, Baltimore County officials have deferred preliminary approval on an 855-unit residential development that would straddle Reisterstown Road just north of the Beltway.
The County Review Group (CRG), the agency that approves all major development projects in the county, voted Thursday to continue its hearings for another month on the Avalon residential community.
After the 5,000-unit Owings Mills New Town, Avalon would be one of the largest new residential developments in the Reisterstown Road corridor, said John Colvin, one of three principal owners of the project's development firm, Questar Properties Inc.
The 143 acres proposed for the development lie south of McDonogh Road on the west side of Reisterstown Road and south of Craddock Lane on the east side. The largest chunk of the development, a little more than 100 acres, would be east of Reisterstown Road.
Housing would include single-family homes, town houses and two- and three-story villas, or town houses, with garages. The proposal calls for about 40 acres of open space and a community swimming pool and tennis courts.
During last week's hearing, nearby homeowners expressed concern that a wooded area that now provides a buffer for their community would be disturbed.
Members of the Craddock Estates Homeowners Association also worried that a proposed new road in the Avalon development would come too close to the rear of some of their properties.
"Unless some changes are made in the proposed development plan for Avalon, it could have a lasting adverse impact on our community," Louis Greenfeld, president of the homeowners association, told the CRG.
Greenfeld said his organization is not opposed to Avalon in general. Cradock Estates consists of 106 single-family homes east of Cradock Lane along the northeast corner of the proposed Avalon project.
David S. Thaler, consulting engineer for the project, said that the road configuration in the project's preliminary development plan was drawn to conform to county regulations.
But if the Craddock homeowners and county officials agree, the developer could change the road plan within the development to help satisfy the Craddock community, Thaler added.
The preliminary plan would extend Green Tree Road, which now ends at the southeast portion of the Avalon property, through the eastern portion of the property and connect it with Old Craddock Lane at the northeast corner.
Other concerns were raised at the hearing by Howard Brown, owner of the Valley Village Shopping Center, which occupies a triangle of land formed by Reisterstown Road, Old Craddock Lane and Craddock Lane.
Brown told the CRG he was concerned that the Avalon development could cause a traffic problem for his shopping center.
Arnold F. "Pat" Keller, deputy director of the county Office of Planning and Zoning and one of the two CRG officials to conduct the hearing, said the panel would see to it that officials meet with the developer to address those concerns. The meetings are to take place before the CRG continues its hearing on the proposal Jan. 30.
The CRG technically has no discretion in approving a development project as long as the project meets all county development regulations.
The Avalon development proposal will also have to go before the county planning board for additional approval before coming back to the CRG.
Because the developer is asking to cluster condominiums on the western edge of the property on land zoned for a lower density, planning board approval is required. The planning board review is also required because several historic buildings are on or adjacent to the property.