Panel recommends new design plan for Odenton

March 10, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

A group of residents, developers and business owners, who have been working for two years to design a new Odenton, last night unveiled a plan that would integrate several distinct neighborhoods and maintain the community's historic character.

The recommendations of the 15-member committee appointed by County Executive Robert R. Neall were contained in a comprehensive, 147-page Odenton Town Plan.

Odenton has been designated as Anne Arundel County's third town center. The others are Parole and Glen Burnie.

"Odenton is still evolving from its historic past as a railroad and military community," the plan says. "At present, there are opportunities for the continued transformation of Odenton from a small town into a suburban residential and employment center."

The Odenton Town Center Growth Management Committee was charged with developing guidelines for the 218-acre town center but the group expanded its mission to include the entire community.

After the committee approves the plan, it will go to the County Council, which will be asked to recognize the document as Odenton's official development plan.

All future development would have to conform to the guidelines in the plan.

The panel voted unanimously last night to set up a seven-member oversight committee to lobby the council, make sure money is allocated for improvements and work with planning officials to ensure that developers conform to the guidelines.

"We have to work on a year-to-year basis to ensure this plan is implemented and revised so we can get to the vision that we started with," said committee member Jay Winer, a developer and longtime Odenton resident.

From the start, many committee members complained that the panel lacked a focus and were frustrated that planning officials asked them to develop a concept, or a "vision," instead of a blueprint.

"It does not deal in as much specifics as some of us would like," Mr. Winer said of the plan.

The plan recognizes Route 175 "as the single most important element tying together the various parts of Odenton. It functions as a three-mile spine for the commercial corridor."

The plan says residents see Odenton "as an oasis, or retreat, from nearby cities -- a relatively quiet place with convenient services, educational opportunities and recreation."

But the plan also cautions that Odenton could not support a major mall. It recommends that the "Boomtown" strip on Route 175 be revitalized -- though the plan omits a controversial proposal for a median strip on Route 175, which was opposed by business owners.

The plan also recommends preserving many historic buildings in the center of the community.

"I feel we have the good of the community at heart," said Alfred Shehab, the committee chairman.

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