The county Planning Board will consider a proposal for 61 new town houses Tuesday that neighbors in Savage say will bring excessive traffic and exacerbate crowding problems in nearby Bollman Bridge Elementary.
"I have three young children, the oldest being 8 years old. Soon, they'll start riding bicycles," said Philomena DeVito, whose 3/4-acre lot backs up to the wooded property owned by developer Wayne Newsome.
The only access road planned to the town houses is Woodward Street, which now bisects a quiet neighborhood and ends at the southern end of Newsome's property. The northern end is cut off by a flood plain.
The town house community is also expected to put an excessive burden on the elementary school, said DeVito, who is planning to testify at Tuesday's meeting and present a petition bearing more than 100 signatures of residents who oppose the development.
"Bollman Bridgehas almost 200 children over capacity," she said, adding that a former storage room is being used for some classes. She cited a parents survey of the school district that showed the area's population of young children to be increasing.
"It's very overcrowded, even with a portable classroom, which they use for a music class," DeVito said.
Although she says neighborhood residents would like to see the project rejected outright, she said she was pleased with the way Newsome listened to their concerns at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night.He took suggestions on what could be planted as a visual barrier in a 50-foot-wide buffer bordering the neighborhood and promised that a landscape architect would meet individually with homeowners to get their advice.
The Planning Board was also to have dealt with a much larger project in Ellicott City, in the form of a rezoning petition that would have allowed about 1,000 apartments in an area now zoned for office/research development, although the developer expects to build only about 500 or 600.
The board was to have a petition by the Baltimore-based Henry J. Knott Development Co., but the company's attorney, David A. Carney, asked for the petition to be taken off the board's Tuesday agenda.
Although Carney said the petition could be revived in several months, perhaps with the start of the comprehensive rezoning process in March, "the residents needn't fear that the bulldozers will be around their property any time soon," said Harry Rodgers, project manager for Knott.
With the County Council expected to pass an adequate facilities ordinance tomorrow night, development of the planned apartment complexes between Interstate 70 and U.S. 29 andU.S. 40 will probably be held up, perhaps for years, Rodgers said.