Wooden Newcomers Meet Stiff Resistance In Crofton

Cedar Grove's Planned Town Houses Not Up To Standards, Critics Say

January 16, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A town house community under construction in Crofton doesn't measureup to other developments in the special tax district, the civic association president and residents said Monday.

"It is the low end ofconstruction and it doesn't fit the community," said civic association president Ed Dosek, who complained because the design of 258 wood-frame dwelling units does not include brick siding.

The 18-acre site for the Cedar Grove development, off Route 3

near Lake Louise, has already been cleared.

Several years ago, developers had approval to build 315 units in a community then called Tabard Village. But MPS Crofton Joint Venture bought the land, changed the name and resubmitted plans for the town houses. Final county approval is expected in about two weeks. Stephen Eckert, managing partnerfor Classic Community Corp., one of the partners in the joint venture, told Crofton residents and civic association board members Monday that he is willing to compromise on the design.

Eckert said his company is building "piggy-back town houses," which essentially are twoadjoining town houses divided into three living units.

The town houses are raised above the ground, with a one-story unit underneath. The two-story section above is divided into town houses. The one-story unit would sell for about $99,000; thetown houses above would each sell for about $108,000.

Eckert said models would be constructed soon and marketing would start in mid-February. The development will be built in five phases over five years, starting closest to Route 3 and working back.

But residents who live along the back edge of thesite complained about the trees that were cut down, about construction workers trespassing in their backyards and about the noise oftrucks and work crews.

Eckert said his company will consider building aprivacy and safety fence along the back edge of the land and will plant grass seed in the clear areas that won't be developed until later.

Civic association board members also questioned the wisdom of having only one entrance and exit from the development onto Route 3. People wishing to go south on Route 3 will have to cross three lanes ofnorthbound traffic and then make a U-turn at Route 424.

"It's nota good situation," Dosek said. "It's dangerous."

But the real issue was compatibility. The first question Dosek asked Eckert during the meeting was whether he planned to use brick, especially since the town houses are located on Route 3 and may be some of the first homes people see as they enter Crofton.

"I know brick is sometimes a hotissue," Eckert said. "But we do not plan on using brick here. The design does not lend itself to brick."

He said that adding brick would increase the price of the homes beyond what the company wants to charge. "We priced the construction so we're not here in 10 years," hesaid. "We want to make a return on our investment and pay off our lenders so we can sleep at night."

But Crofton resident Joan Robbin,a sales manager for a competing home builder, Ryland, said that adding brick to the homes would increase the price only a few thousand dollars, and she said town houses routinely sell in Crofton for $120,000 and up.

"The reason you are keeping them down in price is because of the type of construction," she said. "You should take into consideration the community you are moving into. You have antagonized the community by thrusting something on us that we don't want in Crofton."

Eckert said after the meeting that he understood the community concerns. "They would like to have all brick houses in their community," he said. "Our concern is building a well-done community with good quality construction that people can afford to buy."

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