The county Zoning Board will hear testimony this week on two hotly contested rezoning cases, one to build a 682-acre commercial, residential and golfing village in Marriottsville and the other to build two warehouse-sized stores in Ellicott City.
On Monday night, the board will have the third and possibly last night of its hearing on a petition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to rezone 54 acres near U.S. 29 and U.S. 40 from office/research use to retail. The nation's leading retailer plans to build a 119,500-square-foot department store and a 132,500-square-foot Sam's Wholesale Club outlet there.
County Planning and Zoning Department staff and the county Planning Board have both recommended rejection of that petition, which is also strongly opposed by neighboring residents.
On Wednesday night,the Zoning Board, which is made up of the five County Council members, will hear developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr.'s petition for Waverly Woods II. The project would change land designated for 3-acre residential lots into a project that will include 937 residential units on 302acres, and a site for the headquarters of major corporations on 372 acres. An 18-hole public golf course will also wind through the development.
The Planning Board heard testimony on the Waverly petitionJan. 14 but has yet to release its recommendation to the Zoning Board. Marsha McLaughlin, county deputy planning director, said language in the recommendation was still being worked on, but she hoped it would be released before the hearing.
Neighboring Marriottsville residents have fought against the project, but Reuwer said their protestsobscured the benefits of the project.
Reuwer is planning to present to the Zoning Board the results of a Legg-Mason Realty Group Inc. analysis that shows Waverly's benefits. During the least cost-effective year of the project's 32 years of development, he said, the project would return $1.60 in taxes and fees for every county dollar spent on it.
By the time it is completed in 2025, Reuwer said, the studyestimates the project would return to the county nearly seven times as much as it would cost.
Both hearings will begin at 8 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard county office building in Ellicott City.