Zoning decision expected Council to rule on Waverly Woods

January 19, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

After 16 days of public hearings and testimony that dre more than 400 people, Howard County Council members could decide the fate of Waverly Woods II today.

At a 9:30 a.m. work session, council members, sitting as the Zoning Board, will attempt to decide whether to grant or deny rezoning for the 682-acre Columbia-style village proposed for rural Marriottsville and Woodstock.

The hearings on Waverly lasted from March to December and drew more than 400 people, most of them residents of the area who vehemently opposed the rezoning. Some sessions degenerated into rancorous exchanges between opponents and representatives of the site's owners, John Gudelsky, Dr. Bruce Taylor and Kennard Warfield Jr.

Opponents said they fear that the project will transform the area of rolling farmland and three-acre homesites to a traffic-choked suburb with increased crime, pollution and overcrowded schools.

Although the package of zoning changes is not part of a proposed mixed-use zoning category the council will take up later tonight, county planners have said the Waverly project is the type of large-scale development envisioned for a mixed-use center when the council included the idea in the county's General Plan in 1990.

The Waverly Woods project would include 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 townhouses on 107.6 acres and up to 215 detached houses on 69.8 acres.

Since the individual zoning petition is accompanied by a site plan, the Zoning Board could require the developer to meet certain conditions, such as building a golf course or making road improvements.

Another controversial zoning fight was to have been aired today with oral arguments scheduled in Circuit Court for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vs. the Zoning Board of Howard County.

But Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney has indefinitely postponed the case, which involved rezoning for two warehouse-sized stores off of North Ridge Road near U.S. 29 and U.S. 40.

After hearing 10 nights of testimony, County Council members iJuly unanimously denied Wal-Mart's petition to change 54 acres of office/research zoning to general business. The change would have allowed the nation's largest retailer to build a Wal-Mart discount department store and a Sam's Club wholesale outlet.

In an effort to overturn that decision, Wal-Mart will attempt tprove in court that the board's decision was arbitrary or capricious.

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