Despite concerns, panel welcomes Odenton Plan WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

August 13, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

A committee studying plans to integrate the disparate communities that make up Odenton has favorably received a report containing recommendations from county planners but expressed concern about the county's commitment and the compatibility of new construction to the area's historic character.

The county's planning staff presented the 13-page Odenton Plan to members of the Odenton Town Center Growth Management Committee at a meeting Wednesday night. Discussion will continue during a session tentatively scheduled for Aug. 31. The committee hopes to have a final plan by December.

One result of Wednesday's discussions was that committee members realize parts of the plan won't be implemented for years but that some things can be done quickly.

"A preliminary look at it indicates there are certain things that can be done to improve the area in a short time frame," said Alfred A. Shehab, the committee chairman.

As an example, he pointed to committee interest in a proposal to encourage the development of new housing and mixed-use buildings, containing offices and stores, near the commuter rail station. Developing that area, between the station and Route 175, would increase the station's prominence as a community gathering place and relieve commuter parking congestion in the surrounding neighborhood.

Committee members, who divided into three groups to discuss the plan, also expressed concern about development in the Old Odenton area. The plan's goal is to "preserve and enhance the unique historic character of Old Odenton," but several people nevertheless were concerned that "development should be compatible with what's there," said Yolanda Takesian of the county's Department of Planning and Code Enforcement.

Committee members asked the county to come back to them with more information on several aspects, including a plan to improve Route 175 and make it Odenton's "main street," linking the Town Center area with the older areas.

But perhaps most important among the committee members' requests was they be given a sense of what support the community would get from the county.

Other highlights of the plan include:

* Preserving major wetlands areas north of Route 175 with minimal road crossings for access through and to new development.

* Designating the area south of Route 175, extending to the historic area, for Town Center development.

* Creating safe and enjoyable pedestrian walkways that would link the surrounding neighborhoods to shopping and services.

* Widening Route 175 and providing additional landscaping, consolidating entrances to buildings and linking off-street parking areas in the business district.

* Designating bike routes to link nearby residential neighborhoods to the Town Center and recreation areas.

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