Family seeks OK for golf community Rash brothers want to build 50 homes on their 360 acres

$300,000 houses planned

Similar proposal, but for 100 dwellings, was rejected in 1991

March 20, 1996|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

A Woodbine family that for years ran one of the Carroll's largest dairies is seeking county approval for an upscale golf course community with 50 $300,000 homes on 360 acres.

The Rash brothers, Claude, Edwin and Glenn, who have been trying for 10 years to develop their land just west of Route 97 near the Carroll-Howard border, presented their proposal yesterday to the county Planning Commission.

The family wants the property rezoned from agricultural to residential to allow development at a higher density.

If their plan is approved, it would be the fourth golf course residential community built in Carroll in a decade.

The brothers' original proposal, a golf course community with 100 homes, was turned down in 1991 by the County Commissioners.

Since then, the retired farmers say, they have been trapped in a zoning limbo as the county drafted a land-use study of the Southwest Carroll area. Although some elements of the plan have been adopted, the study was shelved last November by the county Planning Commission.

"We've been held up since we retired from farming," said Claude Rash, 57, who holds three part-time jobs. "We haven't been able to retire because this has been all tied up."

The Rash family has been farming in the county since 1928. The three brothers took over the family dairy operation in the 1960s. Toughened environmental regulations governing the use of wetlands led the brothers to close their dairy business and begin crop farming.

Economics and other factors, including the inability to move their farm equipment on congested county roads, prompted the Rashes to quit farming in the mid-1980s.

Edwin Rash, 69, is a driver for Carroll Transit. His brother Glenn, 64, runs a hay operation and sells firewood.

Chuck Hollman, the family's attorney, told the Planning Commission yesterday that the brothers envision a golf course community similar to the Oakmont Green golf course community in Hampstead.

"We think the golf course is an attractive type of project in this area, and 50 homes is a number far less than what would ordinarily be contemplated in a project of this nature," Mr. Holman said.

The Rashes have chosen a project engineer and are talking with at least two companies that are interested in owning and operating the golf course, he said.

No developer has been chosen for the residential portion of the project.

Plans call for a public golf course that would generate between $70,000 and $90,000 in annual revenue for the county from amusement and sales taxes, Mr. Holman said.

The Rashes are seeking a zoning change that would allow them to develop one house per acre. It would not be economically feasible to proceed under the current agricultural zoning, which restricts development to one unit per 20 acres, Mr. Holman said.

If the County Commissioners approve the change in zoning, the family also will need approval from the county Board of Zoning Appeals to build a golf course as a conditional use on the property.

Planning Commission members reacted favorably to the proposal yesterday, but Chairman David Duree said it might make sense to postpone consideration of the project until the county completes its comprehensive rezoning, which could take 18 months.

Mr. Holman told the Planning Commission that the Rash brothers, who put their development plans on hold while the southwest plan was drafted, are not prepared to wait any longer.

"We don't have unlimited time," Mr. Holman said. "My clients, like everybody else in America, have a mortgage, and they've sold off lots to pay the mortgage.

"I hope this comprehensive plan works out in 18 months, but I'm fearful that it won't."

County Planning Director Phil Rovang questioned the need for a golf course in the southern part of the county.

Mr. Holman said the fact that more than one golf course operator is interested in running the proposed course on the Rash property indicates a need.

Challedon, a golf course residential community, is being built in the southwestern part of the county, in the Gillis Falls area. Carroll's other golf course community is River Downs in Finksburg.

Mr. Rovang told the Planning Commission that it is unclear what effect an interim growth-control ordinance proposed by a Missouri planning consultant would have on the Rashes' development proposal.

The ordinance calls for a 20-month ban on approvals of new subdivisions in unincorporated areas of the county.

Pub Date: 3/20/96

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