Linton Springs leery of Belt Farm plan

March 16, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

At first, the Linton Springs Civic Association based its opposition to the Belt Farm development on traffic problems it expected from the addition of 100 more houses to the only egress to Route 26.

Now that the Carroll County Planning Commission is considering the developer's request to double the number of new homes at Belt Farm, association members say their concern has turned to fear.

"Rezoning scares me the most," said Barry Marsh, president of the 218-member association. "We know this land is going to be developed, but it can't be overbuilt."

Carroll Developers, a Howard County company, asked the Planning Commission last month to rezone the 205-acre parcel to allow construction of about 240 homes.

Yesterday, commission members walked around the site, off Liberty Road, with several residents.

"Last spring, this was just a roads issue," said Rebecca Davieau, a member of the civic association. "Now we are worried about setting a precedent."

Mr. Marsh said, "We have a bad intersection that is getting worse. With another entrance to Route 26, we could live with development, but not with twice the original number of homes."

About 70 acres of the parcel are wooded, with steep slopes. Much of the land is conservation zoned, and several streams that feed Liberty Reservoir run through it.

"Even if they build on top of the hills, there will be runoff into the streams feeding the reservoir," Mr. Marsh said.

The original zoning, which allows homes on 3-acre lots, gives the most protection to the streams, Ms. Davieau said.

"We are so careful about intensifying development around streams that Parkside and Linton Springs couldn't be built today because of the stream considerations," said Edmund R. Cueman, county planning director. "We would be going through the same things as we are today."

Because the site is scheduled for public water and sewer service, building 100 houses is not economically feasible, the developer said. The cost of connecting utilities is estimated at about $1 million, said Tom Hackett, the developer's engineer.

"We have to consider the impact on the whole infrastructure," said Louis B. Pecoraro, the Planning Commission chairman.

Mr. Cueman said the commission would review its findings before its public meeting next month. Belt Farm will be on the April agenda, he said.

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