Westminster planners fault Middlebrooke housing plans CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

March 15, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

George F. and Timothy Grogan's plan to turn the closed Middlebrooke Swim Club into four single-family houses will go to the Westminster City Council with an unfavorable recommendation from the city planning commission.

The commission voted Thursday night -- before an audience of about 20 Middlebrooke residents -- to recommend council denial of the proposal.

Final arguments from George Grogan and his son Timothy failed to persuade commission members to endorse a change in the land use that would allow the pool area to be converted for houses.

"I feel that the commission has a responsibility to the citizens of Westminster and especially Middlebrooke," said commission member Margaret "Peggy" Bair. "They were all led to believe that that was going to be open space."

The amount of open space that would remain if the pool property was converted for housing was a key question at a Feb. 11 public hearing before the planning commission.

Middlebrooke was developed as a planned unit development, a planning concept that allows higher housing density if 25 percent of the land is set aside as open space.

George Grogan argued that the pool was never considered in the open space percentage.

He pointed to a plat in city files that was annotated, "open space plan -- pool area excluded."

The commission asked for an assessment of open space acreage after the February hearing.

Thomas B. Beyard, city planning and public works director, reported Thursday night that Carroll Land Services, retained to calculate the percentages, found that the original subdivision was on 68 acres.

That meant 17 acres were to be open space.

Carroll Land Services surveyors found that Middlebrooke now has 16.9 acres of open space, including the 1.24-acre pool site.

Commission member Larry Wiskeman, a Middlebrooke resident, did not vote.

The planning commission's formal recommendation must go to the council within 45 days after the Feb. 11 hearing date.

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