OK sought for Odenton make-over Plan proposes image enhancement

September 28, 1995|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,SUN STAFF

A handful of Odenton residents and businessmen urged the Anne Arundel County Council at a hearing last night to approve a complete make-over for their once-tiny whistle-stop community in the shadow of Fort Meade.

The council is considering the proposed Odenton Town Plan, a document 27 years in the making and meant to be the glue that binds the old railroad town, Fort Meade and two new planned villages with about 8,000 homes into a single place. Lawmakers could vote on the plan Monday night.

"It's now time to turn center attention on this area," said Jay Winer, an Odenton businessman and member of the 20-member citizens committee that drafted the plan. "This former stepchild has been discovered for the potential it holds. No longer one of the spokes in the wheel, this recognizes Odenton as the hub of a region."

Alfred Shehab, an Odenton resident and chairman of the panel, complained that "The Odenton area has been a rather dismal place for sometime."

But, he said, this plan is "an opportunity to enhance that image."

In 1968, lawmakers designated Odenton as one of three areas where planners should channel new growth in Anne Arundel County. The other two are Parole and Glen Burnie.

However, the so-called Odenton Town Center -- about 200 acres near the junction of route 32 and 175 -- never materialized. In 1990, lawmakers broadened the scope of the effort to include a )) wider area, about 1,600 acres, and appointed a citizens panel to draft a blueprint, for a new town.

Mr. Winer said last night's hearing represents "an end and a beginning. It's hopefully an end of the planning and talking, and a beginning of the doing."

The plan would rely on home and business owners and developers to carry out most of the changes -- including road improvements, the addition of sidewalks and construction of more attractive facades, said James Cannelli, deputy director for the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement (PACE).

Accompanying changes in zoning laws would make it easier for developers to build within the targeted area and encourage a mixture of uses -- shops, movie theaters, offices, apartments and industrial plants. Mr. Cannelli said all uses would be screened to make sure they are compatible within the five neighborhoods that would make up the "Odenton Growth Management Area."

Steve Cover, director of PACE, said the county expects the population within the growth management area to swell from 45,000 to 75,000 over the next 20 years. He said much of the growth would be spurred by the recently completed expansion of Route 32, one of two major east-west highways through Central Maryland.

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