Honeygo development plans advance

April 26, 1994|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

One of the most ambitious community developments in Baltimore County is a step closer to reality with unanimous Planning Board approval of the 3,300-acre Honeygo Plan.

The proposal, drafted by the Office of Planning and Zoning and supported by local community associations, calls for 4,259 housing units, 80 percent of which would be single-family homes.

Although some members questioned the plan's large-scale reduction in zoning density and the 20-year timetable for its implementation, the Honeygo Plan sailed through the board.

Last month, some board members had said they would rather see a vote on the plan delayed until May.

Thursday's vote means the plan will go to the County Council in time for approval before June 1, when a building moratorium for the Honeygo area is scheduled to end.

A little more than a year ago, County Executive Roger B. Hayden responded to community pressure by proposing a three-year building moratorium in Honeygo. The County Council balked, and a two-year voluntary moratorium was set.

The moratorium was designed to allow county officials and residents time to study how best to develop Honeygo.

Situated in a sparsely developed area north of Perry Hall, Honeygo is bordered by Belair Road on the west, Philadelphia Road on the east, Gunpowder Falls State Park on the north and Honeygo Run on the south.

Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, who represents the area, has been an ardent supporter of the low-density Honeygo Plan. He said the board's action adds credibility to the plan.

"This is a well-analyzed, well-planned proposal and I commend both board members and staff for the time they put into it," Mr. Gardina said.

He said he sees no problem winning approval for the plan in the council. A public hearing is expected to be scheduled for next month.

Dorothy McMahon, former president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, who fought both for the moratorium and the low-density development, said she was pleased with the vote. But she said the county will have to follow through on its vow that no development will occur unless roads, schools and other infrastructure are in place.

"When developers start coming in for their permits and development plan approval, then we'll see how well the county lives up to its promise," Mrs. McMahon said. "The county hasn't done too well in that regard in the past."

Earlier development in the Perry Hall/White Marsh area was allowed without regard to roads and schools and now traffic is congested and schools are overcrowded, she said.

Some board members questioned the fairness of forcing developers to wait until the infrastructure was in place to proceed with building. The plan calls for phasing in the development over 20 years to allow for funding of such infrastructure.

Lowering the zoning density also bothered some board members who said that would rob landowners of fair market price in selling their land to developers. The current zoning allows 10,500 units.

The proposal envisions developments around community centers and parks. A commercial hub would serve the development area.

Single-family home prices would range from about $160,000 for homes on quarter-acre lots to $250,000 for houses on lots of an acre or more.

Officials say such a price range would fill a void in the market.

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