Developers seek straight, not narrow, path Solley Road's twists, turns hurt projects PASADENA

July 23, 1993|By John A.Morris | John A.Morris,Staff Writer

Nine developers have joined to iron out the twists and turns in Solley Road that could bar them from building more than 1,000 homes.

The 3-year-old Solley Road "club" has been negotiating an agreement with Anne Arundel County to straighten the curves, level the hills and add a third lane along the southern end of the narrow street, said Jim Cannelli of the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement. Although a poor economy has caused one major developer to withdraw temporarily, negotiations with the group continue.

"That's something that has been needed for many, many years," said County Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, R-Pasadena. "That's something the Solley Road people, the people who live there, have wanted for 10 years or longer."

Several developers who own property along the 3.8-mile length of road began "migrating" toward one another as they realized they faced a common obstacle to getting their projects approved, said Joseph J. Schreiber of Constellation Properties, a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric. Constellation is building the Brandon Woods industrial park at Solley Road and Energy Parkway.

The developers are being required to upgrade the road to accommodate the additional traffic their projects will generate, Mr. Schreiber said. The road also lacks adequate shoulders for emergency stops and has poor drainage that could cause slippery conditions.

County planners and the developers have negotiated for two years over the scope of the improvements. The "road club" had hoped to work within the existing 35-foot right-of-way; county planners have sought a 60-foot- to 80-foot-wide right-of-way, which would allow three to four lanes of traffic.

The major sticking point is money. The county plan would cost about $9 million, a little more than twice what the developers had proposed, Mr. Schreiber said.

The protracted negotiations mean that at least some of the improvements may be delayed. Constellation Properties, which has not sold an industrial lot at Brandon Woods in two years, is placing plans to expand onto a 260-acre parcel known as Chestnut Hill Farm on hold until the economy improves, Mr. Schreiber said.

He said his company will not invest in the road until it resurrects the Chestnut Hill expansion. "For right now, we're in a holding pattern and the county is aware of that," he said.

The loss, even temporarily, of Constellation Properties is a setback. Constellation and a second developer, Jane Pumphrey Ness, are the two largest members of the club and were expected to bear 85 percent of the expansion's costs, Mr. Cannelli said.

Mrs. Ness, who this spring donated five acres to the Board of Education for a new, expanded Solley Elementary School, could seek to build up to 750 town houses, apartments and single family homes on her holdings on the northern end of Solley Road, near Fort Smallwood Road, Mr. Cannelli said. She also could develop 75 acres of industrially zoned property, he said.

Negotiations with the club, however, have continued. Mr. Cannelli said he hopes soon to reach an agreement with seven smaller developers who have proposed building 363 single-family homes at the 0southern end of Solley Road.

Under the agreement, Mr. Cannelli said he expects the smaller developers will finance the engineering and design for all of the road's improvements. Mrs. Ness and Constellation will finance much of the construction when they decide to proceed with their projects, he said. The county also could contribute from the money collected in impact fees on each new home built.

"That road will be built one day," Mr. Schreiber said. "It will be improved for sure."

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