The impending transformation of a Brooklyn Park salvage yard into garden-style condominiums has given community leaders cause for celebration.
Administrative Hearing Officer Robert Wilcox approved F & S Joint Venture's request July 14 to rezone 14 acres near Interstate 695 and Ritchie Highway for high-density residential use. The property has been zoned for heavy commercial use since 1985.
Commercial development is the last thing Brooklyn Park needs, said Robert Moore, president of the Greater Brooklyn Park Council, representing several neighborhoods.
"We're inundated with commercial projects -- half of which aren't rented," Mr. Moore said.
Joyce Sias, who lives next to the proposed development, RTC agreed. "The kinds of commercial business that could go in there may not be beneficial to the community," she said.
A resident of the Cedar Hill neighborhood, Ms. Sias said the community needs more affordable housing.
"There are people who have grown up and moved away from here and now want to come back," Ms. Sias said. "We're a stable community, so there aren't a whole lot of places to come back to that are affordable."
Frank J. Scott Sr., the managing partner for F & S Joint Venture, said he could begin construction on 60 garden-style condominiums and 150 "European flats" by early 1994. The units will range in size from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet and in price from $49,900 to $90,000, he said.
The "European flats," which feature two two-story town homes built over a single-story condominium, will be similar to those built in Crofton 10 years ago, said Mr. Scott, who most recently developed 450 condominiums at Cromwell Fountain on New Ordnance Road.
"It's a good concept for affordable housing," he said. "The land costs are so tight, what you do is put three units in the space of two."
F & S Joint Venture considered developing the property commercially until the completion of Route 10 created a "power retail corridor," drawing businesses away from Ritchie Highway, Mr. Scott said.
Property owner James H. Fraley had operated a salvage yard at the site, but has relocated the business to near New Ordnance Road and Patapsco Avenue, Mr. Scott said.
During the County Council's 1988 comprehensive rezoning, Mr. Fraley argued that the property should remain commercial because it had been used as a "dump site and while the long-term effects of that [dumping] can be mitigated in a commercial use, it is less likely that could be accomplished if the site is put to a residential use where more exposed ground area would be required."
Mr. Scott said he is confident the site is environmentally sound. "It was a salvage yard, certainly not a dump," he said.
Mr. Wilcox said he was impressed by the community's support of the project and assertions that the residential development would generate less traffic than a 140,000-square-foot shopping center.
"That area doesn't need [more traffic]," Mr. Wilcox said.