River Hill sketch plans nearing completion Village will be Columbia's last WEST COLUMBIA

August 25, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

The Rouse Co. is putting the finishing touches on plans that will finally bring Columbia to Clarksville.

The comprehensive sketch plan for the final section of River Hill, 10th and final village, will mean the woods and farmland next to the west county community's downtown will give way to shops, houses and apartments.

"I guess it's a landmark. It is clearly the last major section of the last village for Columbia," said Alton J. Scavo, Rouse's vice president and associate director of community development.

But the development won't happen overnight, he added.

"We have many years worth of development left in River Hill,"which should be completed in 1998 or 1999.

That schedule will be in keeping with longstanding plans to finish Columbia by the turn of the century, Mr. Scavo said.

The new section will be part of the Pheasant Ridge neighborhood, even though it will not be directly connected to the existing section of that neighborhood on Trotter Road.

Instead, the new section is adjacent to Clarksville's business district, making it the westernmost part of the 26-year-old planned city, and will include River Hill's village shopping center.

Although the 424.5-acre section will be dominated by its 611 detached houses, it will also include the 2,300-unit village's only high-density residential development. On parcels close to the village center site on Route 108, there will be room for about 170 townhouses and 288 apartments or condominiums along the planned Great Star Drive.

The area will also include about 180 acres of open space.

Although plans for the village center have not been made, a traffic study commissioned by the Rouse Co. assumed there would be a 60,000-square-foot supermarket, 150,000 worth of other retail space, a restaurant, a fast-food franchise and an eight-pump gasoline station.

A three-acre parcel on Route 108 just north of the village center site and just south of the Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church was being considered as a possible site for a house of worship, but the company's planners warned in written comments that developing the site would be difficult because of a cemetery there.

Joseph W. Rutter, county director of planning and zoning, said he doesn't anticipate any problems with the plans, except possibly with the county's growth-limiting adequate public facilities ordinance, "because [the ordinance] is starting to bite now."

Mr. Scavo knows the feel of that bite, because some of the development in Long Reach is being held up by the growth-control restriction.

Mr. Rutter said the ordinance's requirements that schools, roads and other public facilities be adequate to handle new growth likely will delay part of River Hill's development until 1998.

County planning officials also have suggested a change in River Hill from one of the dominant features of Columbia road layouts.

"In the interests of public safety [access for emergency vehicles] and traffic flow [including school buses], the developer should consider the creation of some loop road connections, rather than numerous cul-de-sacs," county planners wrote to the company.

Street names for the new section are still being worked on, Mr. Scavo said, and will probably be submitted with the final development plans, the documents required for recording individual homesites.

Although River Hill is the final village to be developed, there is still residential development being planned in Long Reach, where large commercial tracts were rezoned for residential use in March 1992.

But that development will probably be finished before River Hill's, Mr. Scavo said.

There also will be a few parcels in Town Center, notably within the Little Patuxent Parkway loop and at the southern end of Lake Kittamaqundi, that will not be developed with residential property until after the year 2000, Mr. Scavo said.

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