Builder can't build while deer smooch

February 24, 1993|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Staff Writer

Guy Shaneybrook doesn't know the first thing about the breeding habits of the red-tailed hawk or the white-tailed deer.

But he'll have to learn fast if he wants to build a five-house subdivision on the lower Bowleys Quarters peninsula in eastern Baltimore County.

Mr. Shaneybrook's project, known as Goose Landing, is one of three that the county's Planning Board approved under its Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Program growth-allocation process.

The land is subject to strict development standards.

For instance, Mr. Shaneybrook can't undertake construction work during the mating period of any wildlife found on his property.

"This development-review process is the toughest I've ever had to go through," said Mr. Shaneybrook, who has built small subdivisions elsewhere in the county.

"I mean, what do I know about the breeding habits of the hawks or deer on my property?"

The board rejected two development proposals, one for 680 housing units on 41 acres in Edgemere, the other for a six-unit development at the end of Back River Neck peninsula.

However, the board did approve a 32-acre, six-lot subdivision called Gall Property on the Bowleys Quarters peninsula and agreed to let the owners of a four-acre parcel on Back River Neck change the zoning on their land.

The owners are not planning to develop the site.

Mr. Shaneybrook's 15.5-acre tract of pristine wooded wetlands near Goose Harbor is part of nearly 10,000 acres of county shore line in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Program.

The program, enacted in 1987, restricted development for areas within 1,000 feet of the shore.

In 1988, the county extended the critical areas farther inland to include parts of the various peninsulas that jut into the bay.

Of the 10,000 acres placed in the Critical Areas Program, 372 acres were set aside by the county for development.

"Because of the history of large development proposals sought in the bay shore areas, we were expecting to be deluged with requests once some land was opened up for development," said Donald G. Outen, chief of the water resources division of the county Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management. The department administers Baltimore County's Critical Areas Program.

Mr. Outen said the long review process and the recent economic recession apparently have discouraged many developers from considering proposals in the critical areas.

Five proposals were submitted during the 1990 growth-allocation period and one, an eight-acre site, was approved.

Six requests were filed during the second allocation period, which ended in July.

"We want to use our critical area allocations for well-designed projects which minimize stress on water quality and habitat and enhance community character beyond what normal county regulations call for," said Mr. Outen.

Mr. Shaneybrook plans to build on five of his 15 acres.

At the board's insistence, he agreed not to develop the rest of his land so the wetlands around Goose Harbor wouldn't be disturbed.

Even with the board's approval, Mr. Shaneybrook still faces a long approval process.

Because his project requires a zoning change, as do the other projects approved, he must get further approval from the County Council.

From there, the proposals must be approved by the state Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission before going through the county's regular development review process.

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