COACH TOWN HOUSES — which share walls on three sides with other homes -- could be on their way for Harford homebuyers.
Councilwoman Theresa Pierno, D-District C, is planning legislation that would permit such housing to be constructed in the county. Pierno has not introduced the legislation,but says she plans to do so this month.
Ryland Homes Inc., a homebuilder with developments throughout theBaltimore region, including condominiums at Riverside in Belcamp andBrentwood Park in Bel Air, has requested the legislation.
Ryland has built coach town houses in Frederick County and Montgomery County.
Coach town houses -- also called villa homes or back-to-back town houses -- share three walls with other units, exposing only the front and providing a private entry way as well as a front yard.
"It would be closer to homeownership without actually buying a town houseor a single house," said Pierno. "It's that next step."
Fred Lampel, assistant manager for Ryland operations in Harford County, says its coach town houses usually are priced in between the cost of condominiums and town houses.
"We're interested in any product line thatwe think will fit the marketplace and will provide the kind of housing that we're accustomed to giving in Harford County," he said.
End units are two levels and average 1,100 square feet, said Lampel. Interior units are three levels and average 1,600 square feet.
The average buyers of the homes in Montgomery and Frederick have been first-time owners and those interested in moving up from a condominium, said Lampel.
Under Pierno's bill, coach town houses would be permitted on land designated for garden-style condominiums. A maximum of 16coach town houses would be allowed on land zoned for as many as 36 condominiums.
"Land costs being what they are, it provides an opportunity for entry-level homebuyers (to buy) something other than condominiums," said George Shehan, president of the Maryland Homebuilder'sAssociation.
"The use of land is a good deal more efficient."
Pierno said she went to other counties to see coach town houses and liked what she saw. "What's nice is the roofs are sloped, so it's not as massive looking as the condos," she said.