Design for busy junction endorsed Planning panel votes not to reopen case of shopping center

April 25, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

A Howard County land-use panel voted last night not to reopen the controversial Columbia Crossing shopping center case in East Columbia, essentially endorsing a novel design concept for the clogged intersection at Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway.

The design, seen as a $10 million savings compared with cloverleafs, uses timed traffic lights to route left-turning vehicles to access roads.

In other matters taken up last night, the Howard County Planning Board:

Approved a plan for about 320 "urban landscape" apartments and condominiums within walking distance of The Mall at Columbia.

Approved a design plan for 61 low-income townhouses off Snowden River Parkway despite objections from the Long Reach Village Board chairwoman that the townhouses would put even more pressure on the nearby intersection with Route 175.

Delivered bad news for two men who call themselves the Dial-A-Nerds. They run the Moulton Co., a computer consulting business. The company wanted an exception to continue operating the business from a home in a residential neighborhood just south of Columbia. The board recommended rejecting the request.

About the Route 175-Snowden River intersection, Long Reach Village Board chairwoman Cecilia Januszkiewicz appeared before a government panel for the second night in a row.

On Tuesday night, she asked the County Council to reconsider the controversial "dispersed movement" design for the intersection, which is part of County Executive Charles I. Ecker's proposed capital budget for 1997.

Ms. Januszkiewicz said the county has reneged on a promise to build a more efficient cloverleaf.

Last night, Ms. Januszkiewicz asked the Planning Board to reconsider because its approval of the shopping center was based in part on a belief that the nearby intersection would be improved to handle the increased traffic.

The board did not reopen the case, saying the county was moving to improve the intersection.

Of the plan to build a new style of apartment building, board member Joan Lancos said, "What we're talking about is trying to make Columbia more than a suburb with a mall in the middle of it."

The Rouse Co. presented plans for about 210 apartments and 108 condominiums to be built just west of the mall at Little Patuxent Parkway and Governor Warfield Parkway. The apartments could rent for up to $1,300 a month.

They would have a more urban feel than the garden-style apartments that are popular in Columbia and other suburbs.

In the case of the 61 low-income townhouses that would be built off Snowden River Parkway in Long Reach village, the structures already had been approved as a concept. Last night's hearing was about the site development plan.

Board members expressed concern that 128 parking spaces would be inadequate but approved the plan.

More than 20 Riverside residents opposed the presence of the computer company, where as many as a half dozen company employees park their cars diagonally in an enlarged driveway.

That, residents said, clashes with the flavor of the neighborhood and could reduce property values. The company offered unsuccessfully to put trees around the driveway.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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