Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

WEST COUNTY --

August 27, 1993

Last phase of housing project to start ahead of schedule

A developer building 3,000 houses near Laurel plans to begin construction on the final phase of the project next year, nearly two years ahead of schedule, the company announced yesterday.

The owners of Russett, a planned community near Route 198 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, have taken advantage of a pilot program to expedite the county's building permit process, allowing construction of the final 900 houses to begin next summer.

Russett Center Limited Partnership has completed 924 houses and is building its second phase now.

The new permit process, presented in March, essentially consolidates the review process that is now spread among 15 county, state and federal agencies and can take years to complete.

Those delays cost money that is passed on to house buyers, Marshall Zinn, vice president of Curtis F. Peterson Inc., a development consultant to Russett, said in March.

Before they could build the first house in the first phase of their 613-acre project, developers had to wait for bureaucrats to grant dozens of environmental and other subdivision approvals. While they waited, they rang up $300,000 a month in interest charges on their mortgage loans.

If the pilot program proceeds as planned, the final phase could be approved in 14 months, instead of the usual two-and-a-half to three years, a company statement said.

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