Council alters vision of mixed-use zoning Housing densities greatly reduced

June 24, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

As Howard County Council members' vision of the new mixed-use zoning concept came into focus last night, administration planners might have had some trouble recognizing their work.

As planners envisioned it, the new zoning would have allowed sev

eral carefully planned centers with a mix of offices, warehouses, shops and up to eight houses or apartments for each acre.

Mixing commercial and residential development is fine -- if the county allows far fewer homes than originally proposed, said a majority of the council members, who met as the Zoning Board in a work session last night.

Councilman Charles C. Feaga, a Republican who represents western Howard, appeared flustered that his colleagues rejected county planners' suggestion of creating four districts,

ranging from two residential units for each acre of mixed-use center to six.

"Maybe you don't like mixed-use centers at all; that's what it sounds like to me," Mr. Feaga told his colleagues.

Council members Shane Pendergrass and Darrel Drown were the main proponents of reducing the number of homes in the mixed-use category to a maximum of two residential units per acre.

"If we're going to err, let's err on the side of being conservative," said Mr. Drown, a Republican who repre

sents Ellicott City.

As the meeting came to a close, the board reached a consensus that there would be only two categories of mixed-use zoning, one for large parcels and probably limited to no more than 2.3 homes per acre.

The other category would likely be for parcels of 75 acres or less and could have a higher percentage of commercial development, but council members set no specific limits on homes for either category last night.

Last night's discussion was enough to soften John W. Taylor, one of the county's most adamant

advocates of growth controls and one of the board's harshest critics.

"On balance, I have to give them credit for working hard to find common ground," Mr. Taylor said.

Although repeating his belief that mixed-use zoning should be scrapped altogether because of the public's opposition to it, he praised Ms. Pendergrass and Mr. Drown for urging that only two homes be allowed per mixed-use acre.

The board will continue its discussion of mixed-use regulations at 7:30 p.m. July 7 in the George Howard county office building.

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