Honeygo aims for village ambience Guidelines call for pathways, alleys and town square

July 18, 1996|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County's next major planned community will be an old-fashioned village with pathways, alleys and a town square, according to new guidelines crafted by county officials.

The guidelines for Honeygo, to be discussed for the first time tonight by the planning board, govern everything from street widths to the distance between streets and homes. They are designed to give the 3,000-acre, 5,600-unit community near White Marsh a small-town feel.

"The whole idea is to go back to a community that has some sort of feel of an interrelationship, not just you pull into your driveway, go into your house and shut your door and that's your world," said Arnold "Pat" Keller III, the county planning director.

County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina said such a design, which has gained favor in developments across the nation, is welcome. "We don't want to just rehash the same row-after-row and lot-after-lot, like was done in Owings Mills and parts of Perry Hall," said Gardina, who represents the area.

The Honeygo development plan was approved in 1994 -- with half the units originally proposed -- as an affordable, high-quality community that would lure young families who might otherwise be bound for Harford and Carroll counties and southern Pennsylvania.

Taking a cue from developments such as Kentlands in Montgomery County, Baltimore County officials set out to create a small-town feel for suburban Honeygo.

At issue now are the details that will help make Honeygo "neo-traditional," in contrast to suburban development in the Owings Mills and White Marsh growth zones.

The guidelines were two years in the making, as county planners hashed out details with builders who are uncertain about the relatively newfangled proposal, planners said.

Construction has not begun at Honeygo, but two sections that would include more than 200 single-family homes have served as test cases for the evolving guidelines, said Wayne Feuerborn, the county planner assigned to the project.

The 32 pages of guidelines developed by county planners call for a community that reduces the overbearing presence of automobiles, with garages and alleys behind homes and parking lots tucked behind or beside stores.

The plan calls for a commercial center with a village green and townhouses organized around courtyards and open spaces. Neighborhoods would be linked by streets, unlike traditional suburban cul-de-sac development.

The guidelines state: "Walled-off subdivisions with no connections to the open space system and adjacent neighborhoods are antithetical to the Honeygo design concept."

County planners said yesterday that they will ask the planning board to schedule a September public hearing on the plan.

The County Council will have the final say on which guidelines will be included in the manual of development policies.

"I need to make sure the planning board doesn't water it down," said Gardina, a 5th District Democrat. "It's been debated and compromised already. I don't want too many changes."

Pub Date: 7/18/96

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