Appeals board allows more homes on farm Millersville couple gets zoning for 67 houses

August 25, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The county Board of Appeals has granted a Millersville couple's request to double the number of homes they may build on their farm off East-West Boulevard.

The board voted 3-2 to change the zoning on 41.44 acres owned by Ralph and Norma Darley from R1 to R2, paving the way for a 67-house community to be built by Ryland Group Inc.

The board's decision has incensed nearby residents and community associations, many of whom question the timing of the case, with a county General Development Plan two years away.

"I'm disappointed," said Rick Zablocki, president of the Greater Severna Park Council. "We have a General Development Plan that establishes reasonable zoning for areas. The Board of Appeals allowed higher density for a windfall profit.

"This was somebody looking for a faster buck, and they were allowed to do it."

Norma Darley declined to comment, saying only that she was "happy" about the board's decision.

BTC "Aside from that, I'd rather not say anything more," Darley said.

Telephone calls to the Ryland Group were not returned.

Residents and civic groups are particularly concerned with the impact the proposed development will have on area schools.

School officials have predicted that families living in the 67 houses could bring 29 more students to Glen Burnie Park Elementary School, 11 to Old Mill Middle School South and 13 to Old Mill Senior High School.

Those students alone won't crowd schools, but Delma Pumphrey, who is related to the Darley couple, is seeking rezoning for 76.22 acres.

If the change is approved, the land will be bought by Canton Co., which wants to build 140 houses.

Families in 140 houses could add 53 elementary school students, 20 middle school pupils and 33 high school students, school officials said.

"Schools in the area are already overcrowded," said Steve Finlayson, former president of the Shipley's Choice Homeowners Association. "Anything that increases the density makes it worse."

The environmental staff of the Department of Planning and Code Enforcement testified May 16 that it opposed the request because of the residential and road development so close to neighboring wetlands.

But Appeals Board members J. Robb Cecil, John G. Warner and Christopher H. Wilson agreed with the Darleys' contention that the completion of a portion of East-West Boulevard along the Darley property changed the character of the neighborhood.

The majority also agreed with a school capacity expert hired by ** the Darleys, who argued that Shipley's Choice Elementary could handle the additional students more easily than Glen Burnie Park Elementary could.

The expert also noted that the secondary schools would have adequate capacity by the time the community is completed in 2000.

Board Chairman Anthony V. Lamartina and member Wesley W. Saunders dissented, saying the plan for East-West Boulevard was contemplated seven years before the 1989 comprehensive rezoning, and that county planners and the County Council were aware of the potential rezoning when they decided to keep the land classified R1.

Lamartina and Saunders also agreed with the predictions by school officials.

Vice Chairman F. George Deuringer and board member W. Jay Breitenbach did not vote in the case.

Pub Date: 8/25/96

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