Residents fear impact of new houses 3 tracts would worsen traffic, school crowding, citizens contend

November 17, 1995|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

If you think traffic on Mountain Road is bad now, wait until developers finish three new subdivisions with almost 2,500 homes within five miles of each other, local residents say.

"It's incredible," said Carolyn Roeding, the safety committee chairwoman of the Greater Pasadena Council. "The impact of [the planned communities] is that we're going to have more traffic on our roads. They can't handle the traffic that was never meant to be."

Worse yet, George Fox and Marley middle schools already have more students than they can hold, said Lawrence F. Ripley, a demographer for county public schools.

"We're overcrowded off the bat, but they would definitely blow us out," he said, referring to the subdivisions.

The Schramm family wants to build 256 single-family homes and 192 townhouses on 62.09 acres between Waterford Road and Catherine Avenue. CSX Realty has asked for permission to clear about 300 acres west of Marley Neck Boulevard to build as many as 1,200 homes and condominiums.

Jane Ness plans to build about 700 single-family homes and townhouses on 151 acres between Marley Neck Boulevard and Solley Road.

The Schramm and CSX properties have the necessary residential zoning, but their plans must be approved.

Ms. Ness' property is zoned for industrial use. She has applied for residential zoning.

Mr. Ripley figures the new subdivisions will add nearly 1,000 students to local schools.

And although the developers of the CSX and Schramm properties have offered to build their own elementary schools, the problem is the shrinking space in George Fox and Marley middle schools, he said.

"We just don't have the room," Mr. Ripley said.

Ruth Bell, who lives in Altoona Beach, disagreed, noting that one school board member predicted George Fox would fall about 400 short of its capacity in 1998.

"The space is there," Mrs. Bell said. "I think the county school board just isn't using it properly."

L She said she is more worried about traffic on Mountain Road.

"It's like driving downtown," she complained. "If you want to go somewhere down Mountain Road between 4 [p.m.] and 6 p.m., it's going to take you forever. It's a major inconvenience."

County traffic studies show that development of the Schramm and Ness properties would bring a significant increase in the number of cars in the area.

They project more than 300 vehicles entering and leaving the Schramm property during the morning and evening rush hours, and 450 for the Ness property.

L A traffic study has not been completed for the CSX property.

But Robert Tyson, a zoning analyst for the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement, predicted that most residents of the CSX and Ness properties probably would use Marley Neck Boulevard and Solley Road to avoid the heavily traveled Mountain Road.

Whatever the outcome, Frank Halgas, president of the Greater Pasadena Council, said there is a lesson to be learned.

"There has to be a cooperative growth plan between residents and developers to make it work for the community," Mr. Halgas said. "There has to be."

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