Zoning official rejects Glynn Garth townhouses

June 21, 1994|By Pat Gilbert | Pat Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore County zoning commissioner has turned down plans for a 40-unit townhouse development near Glyndon that drew heavy community opposition. It was his first rejection of a residential plan since the county's development approval process was established in 1992.

Commissioner Lawrence E. Schmidt ruled recently that the townhouses were incompatible with the single-family homes in surrounding neighborhoods.

The project, known as Glynn Garth, was prepared by Henrietta Corp. for a site near Interstate 795, Route 140 and Route 30, north of Reisterstown on the western edge of the old Glyndon community.

Most of the 9-acre site is covered by protected wetlands, which forced the developer to cluster the townhouses on less than half of the property. Mr. Schmidt noted the problem in his opinion and said the environmental and configuration restraints "were overwhelming".

On the critical issue of compatibility, Mr. Schmidt conceded that the developer had made "excellent efforts" in architectural and engineering design to fit the project to the surrounding community.

Though a townhouse development is not by nature incompatiblewith single-family neighborhoods, he said, the tight clustering in Glynn Garth would have an adverse impact on surrounding residential uses.

The project sparked fierce opposition from adjacent residents and the Northwest Reisterstown Community Association.

J. Carroll Holzer, an attorney representing the opponents, called the decision a big victory for the community and said Mr. Schmidt's opinion was important because it focused on the issue of compatibility.

"Mr. Schmidt ruled that although the developer met the minimum development requirements, taken in its totality the project was not suited for the site," said Mr. Holzer. "We've been trying to make this point in other cases involving residential developments.

The Glyn Garth project, Mr. Holzer noted, is the first residential development to be denied under the county's new development review process, which was passed in January 1992.

The project started as a high-density, 81-unit condominium development known as Glyndon Grace. But opposition from county planners forced the developer to scale down and change the project.

Jeffrey H. Scherr, an attorney for Henrietta Corp., said there is a good chance his client will appeal Mr. Schmidt's decision to the full county Board of Appeals.

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