Waverly Woods II called drain on environment

October 28, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

The 682-acre Waverly Woods II project would harm the environment and deprive area residents of well water, County Council members were told last night.

Scott Muller, a Marriottsville resident and member of the county's solid-waste advisory committee, testified during the 12th day of hearings on a package of rezoning proposals for the planned commercial, residential and golfing village that would straddle rural Marriottsville and Woodstock.

Mr. Muller said the Little Patuxent River, already polluted by runoff from the Alpha Ridge landfill west of the proposed project, would be further harmed by runoff from the development's parking lots and golf course.

He said that a county-commissioned study showed the area could not afford to lose the 28 million gallons of ground water that would be used annually for the golf course.

Studies commissioned by the project's developer said there would be enough ground water for the course, but Mr. Muller said a study by public works officials shows that the water table would not replenish itself.

At the hearing in the county office building in Ellicott City, another resident raised council members' ire and voices when she charged them with bias induced by the developer's campaign contributions.

"You're not listening to us. Your ears are stuffed with money," said Janet Eaton, who lives north of the Waverly site.

Mrs. Eaton charged that three members -- Charles Feaga, R-5th, C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, and Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, -- were influenced by contributions from one or more owners of the property.

"You don't need to be offensive to us," Ms. Pendergrass said.

Ms. Pendergrass, who has reported receiving contributions from owners of the property, said she and three fellow council members have asked for state legislation to require additional disclosure of such contributions.

The rezoning package would allow 1.7 million square feet of office or other commercial space on 372 acres, a village shopping center on 8.5 acres, up to 300 condominiums and apartments on 42.6 acres, up to 503 town houses on 107.6 acres and up to 215 detached houses on 69.8 acres.

The land is now zoned rural, which allows one house for every three acres of developable land.

Area residents have fought for a year against the rezoning sought by developer Donald Reuwer and the property owners.

At the urging of a board member, the two sides met after the last hearing, on Oct. 1, in an attempt to negotiate their differences. No agreement was reached, and the two sides couldn't agree to have a second meeting.

Opponents of the rezoning package compiled a list of concessions in the development plan, including limiting development to avoid widening roads in the area; building half as many homes (preferably no apartments or town houses); eliminating office, warehouse and industrial development entirely; and requiring the developer to pay for school expansion to handle the influx of residents.

The rezoning request has been included in the county's eastern comprehensive rezoning proposal, which will form the guideline for development in eastern Howard County for about the next seven years.

If the comprehensive rezoning proposal is approved, it will allow Waverly Woods II to be developed without the tightly controlled, site-plan rezoning the board is now considering.

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