Revised development proposal offered for Phillips property More open space, fewer homes planned NORTHWEST * Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

September 16, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

After three years of planning for and fighting with Union Bridge officials and residents about developing the Phillips property north of town, developers have revised their plans for the 400-plus unit community.

A representative from the Stanford Management Group. Inc, which is developing the property on the north side of Route 75 and east of Union Bridge Road, discussed the revised design plans for the proposed development during the town Planning and Zoning Commission's monthly meeting last week.

"They came up with a new plan for the project and had to bring it in for us to check out," said Thomas Winebrener, the commission chairman. "They have evidently been working on this plan for some time now. The idea is basically the same, but they are changing the design."

"It will be like little villages, and each village will be a little different," said G. Jackson Phillips, the Towson dentist who owns the land. "Each will still fit into the design of the entire development, and will be built to complement the rest of the town while maintaining its own identity."

The Phillips property development saga has dragged on in public hearings and commission meetings for more than three years. SMG first brought the proposal for developing the 171-acre parcel -- which could double the town's population within 10 years -- to the town Planning and Zoning Commission three years ago.

The Howard County company's original proposal called for phased construction of 348 single-family houses and 239 townhouses, with most concentrated building near Route 75. No apartments are planned.

Since then, the Town Council has reduced the number of houses that can be built per acre from six to four, cutting the number of homes by about one-third.

A well has been drilled to see if the property can provide the town with a second water source. Developers also have placed money in escrow for any upgrades to the town's sewer system or other public improvements related to the development.

Opposition to annexation of the land slowed development. More than 120 residents signed a petition calling for a vote on the issue. Residents voted in August 1992 to annex about 110 acres, which will be developed with four units per acre.

A year later, plans are only a few steps further along than when the talks began in 1990.

"This was just a conceptual plan presented to the Planning Commission for initial approval," said Dr. Phillips. "If this part is approved, it will bring us up to the next step: house style and development."

He said the new idea will create more open space than the original plan. Smaller lot sizes -- some 50 by 100 feet -- and elimination of easements between homes will increase the amount of undeveloped land.

"That essentially means that someone can build a garage right up to their property line without any space between," Dr. Phillips said. "This way you can still have an individual yard and maintain some privacy and be able to create open space around the villages."

"What it will do is provide 40 to 60 acres for open space out of 110 acres being developed," he said.

Dr. Phillips said the community would be a big draw for the town because of Union Bridge's location. The residential development will be designed to provide affordable housing to people who want a rural residence without being isolated from the metropolitan area, he said.

"It will be very resonably priced, just over $100,000," Dr. Phillips said. "A lot of young people will love to make the drive out here for that.

"Union Bridge is only 20 minutes from the subway [in Owings Mills] and with the Northwest Expressway open, the town and county are very accessible."

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