The Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals has turned down a proposal by developers to build a 722-home planned unit development (PUD) in Gambrills.
The board denied the approval needed to build Crofton Farms, a mix of town houses, apartments and single-family homes on 221 acres off Waugh Chapel Road near Route 3.
In denying the required special exception, the six board members said they could not determine whether the development would meet standards for roads, schools and sewer service.
"The problem is one of determining whether schools need to be adequate now or at some time in the future when the demand occurs," board members wrote. "The board cannot tell."
The board disagreed with county planning and zoning officials, who favored the planned community. Planners had said it wasn't necessary for developers to provide for roads, schools and sewer service this early in the planning process.
Ernest J. Litty of Leimbach Development Inc., of Glen Burnie, the project's developer along with Halle Cos., the Silver Spring-based developer of Seven Oaks in Odenton, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The decision was a victory for opponents, who appealed an administrative hearing officer's March 1991 approval of the project. Neighbors complained that the development would be incompatible with the rural area.
Members of the St. Stephen's Church Road Civic Association, the Tanager Forest Civic Association and the Crofton Civic Association had argued that the county should stop developers from building a high-density project and require them to follow 1989 regulations enacted during comprehensive rezoning.
Developers, though, had countered that they could build just as many homes under current zoning regulations.
They said a special exception for a PUD would allow developers to work together over five to seven years on a single project, including a school and a baseball field, rather than subject the area to piecemeal development.
Crofton Farms has the right to appeal the board's decision to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.