Appeals Board upholds rejection of townhouse project near Glyndon

August 23, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County's new power to block a housing development judged incompatible with existing homes has withstood a second test.

In a decision released Friday, the county Board of Appeals upheld the zoning commissioner's rejection of Glyn Garth, a proposed 40-unit townhouse development near Glyndon.

The case is important because it tested the county's 1992 reform of its development review process that sought to give communities more protection from developers in exchange for faster consideration of projects.

Under the previous system, the county legally was bound to approve any new development that met all its technical requirements, regardless of how controversial or incompatible the project may be with existing housing.

The new law requires a public information meeting before the process begins and gives the zoning commissioner more discretionary power to block developments.

The project was proposed for 9 acres near Interstate 795, Reisterstown Road and Hanover Pike near Glyndon. It began as an 81-unit condominium proposal but was scaled down to 40 townhouses after objections from county planners.

Zoning Commissioner Lawrence E. Schmidt and board members said environmental constraints on the site have forced the developer, Henrietta Corp., to cluster all the townhouses in one group, which would be incompatible with the single-family homes on large lots that characterize the community.

Rebecca G. Reigel, president of the Northwest Reisterstown Community Association, said, "We're very happy" about the decision.

Mrs. Reigel, who lives next to the site, said her group "will be there" if Henrietta Corp. appeals to Circuit Court. Mrs. Reigel's group led a group of fierce project opponents.

Jeffrey A. Sherr, attorney for Henrietta, said yesterday that he had not seen the decision and had no immediate comment.

The board's decision strongly affirmed Mr. Schmidt's June ruling, to the point of quoting the commissioner's language. Mr. Schmidt had said that clustering the connected dwellings in such a small area influenced his ruling, plus the fact the county had found the open space plan "unacceptable."

The decision can be appealed to Circuit Court if the appeal is filed within 30 days of Aug. 19.

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