Builder to appeal denial of mixed-use plan

January 11, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

A proposal for Howard County's first "mixed-use" community -- where residents could walk to work and stores -- stumbled last week when the Howard County Planning Board ruled against a North Laurel developer.

But an attorney for developer Willard H. Marlow plans to take his case to the Howard County Zoning Board, probably by March.

Mr. Marlow wants to develop 32 acres just northwest of the U.S. 29-Route 216 interchange. The land is next to nearly 800 acres, owned by others, that also have been classified mixed use.

In all, the county has five areas designated for mixed-use developments, none of which has been developed.

The planning board raised several objections to Mr. Marlow's proposal, saying it did not include enough mixing of businesses and homes. Ideal mixed-use communities feature apartments above businesses, planners said.

But Mr. Marlow's attorney, Thomas Meachum, objected that the board wanted to plan the whole area -- all 820 acres. He said that was impossible because not all landowners were ready to develop. Such an approach by the board would slow development of the county's other mixed-use areas, he said.

"The development has to start somewhere," Mr. Meachum said.

Mr. Marlow has a fall-back position: He could develop the plan according to the underlying zoning -- in this case rural-residential use. Under that category, he could put up one house for every 4.25 acres. But with only 32 acres to develop, that would mean only about seven houses.

The mixed-use proposal calls for 60 detached houses and 34 single-family attached units on 12 acres and a 4.7-acre employment area.

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