Public hearing planned on proposed golf course

April 29, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Elkridge residents who are concerned that a golf course promised for their community may be forgotten plan to speak out at a public hearing before the zoning board next month.

Residents became concerned after learning about a straw vote the board took two weeks ago to gauge their opinion on the project. The 3-2 vote favored permitting the developers of the Centre 9500 project to begin construction of homes before signing an agreement with the county on an 18-hole golf course. The project, a 352-acre residential, commercial and golfing community, is to be built northwest of the Interstate 95 and Route 100 interchange.

The May 10 public hearing will give residents who have previously testified about the project another chance to speak.

Elkridge residents said the vote contradicts a May 3, 1990, decision and order, which states that if the golf course is not built, the site plan "shall be null and void," and developers must resubmit a petition showing their plans for the property.

"I feel the community was promised a golf course and I don't see a golf course being built," said Cathy Hudson, president of the Elkridge Community Association.

But the developers' attorney, Richard Talkin, said a golf course would be built eventually.

"Our intent is and always has been that there will be a golf course there," Mr. Talkin said. "It's a great project. We just need to move forward."

Zoning Board Chairman C. Vernon Gray said he would not comment until after the public hearing. The County Council sits as the Zoning Board.

The county and developers, 100 Investment Limited Partnership, have been negotiating the golf course for three years. The Centre 9500 project calls for 165 acres of offices, warehouses or research facilities, 181 acres with 186 town houses and 174 detached houses, and six acres for a Columbia-style village shopping center.

Although the county verbally agreed to pay $6 million for the course last December, disagreement over what is included in the purchase price is stalling negotiations, County Executive Charles I. Ecker said.

"I think there should be a commitment on the golf course before homes are built," said Mr. Ecker, who met privately with a group of Elkridge activists April 21 to hear their concerns.

Neighbors said they are also angry because they were unaware of the vote until reading about it in a local newspaper.

"That smacks of back-room politics," David Maier said of the straw vote.

The zoning board hopes to make a decision immediately following the 7:30 p.m. hearing at the county office building to allow the planning board to address the issue the next day.

Mr. Talkin said he plans to ask the planning board to amend its prior decision on residential construction.

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