Developer chosen for Route 75 subdivision 'New Urbanism' plan has concept approval

August 29, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

The owner of the first subdivision proposed in Union Bridge in 50 years has chosen Hampstead developer Martin K. P. Hill to turn 120 acres of farmland along Route 75 into houses and townhouses.

The subdivision, called Locust Grove, is expected to double the town's population of 930.

Hill's Woodhaven Building & Development Inc. is the contract purchaser of the Phillips property, owned by Towson dentist G. Jackson Phillips Jr. and his wife, Ann, according to Gordon Fronk, Phillips' attorney.

Union Bridge's planning commission gave concept approval for 265 single-family houses and 52 townhouses in December.

Fronk said Hill may request changes in the concept plan, a design that was touted as part of the "New Urbanism" movement in which houses would fit in with the historic Victorian and Greek Revival homes and small-town flavor of Union Bridge, a 123-year-old railroad town.

The lawyer referred questions about changes to Hill. Hill did not return repeated phone calls from The Sun.

Town planners have not received information or plans from Hill, said James L. Schumacher, chairman of the town planning commission. "So we're just kind of waiting to see what develops," he said.

Hill won the job over "dozens" of other developers interviewed, Fronk said. "Nobody had a more positive approach to this site than Mr. Hill," he said.

Some of the developers interviewed expressed uncertainty. "Are people really ready to drive to Union Bridge, and what will they spend when they get there?" were among the developers' concerns, Fronk said.

No money changes hands immediately under the agreement outlined by Fronk. Dr. and Mrs. Phillips will continue to own the property while Woodhaven installs water and sewer lines and paves roads.

Lots will then be sold to builders, not to individuals.

"We feel rather comfortable that the lots will be sold in masses of 30 to 50. They'll be little communities," Fronk said.

Union Bridge's 1990 comprehensive plan listed 157 housing units in town, 85 percent of them single-family houses. Seventy percent were more than 50 years old.

The original design for the subdivision by Baltimore engineer and town planner David S. Thaler specified tree-lined streets that intersected on grids rather than typical suburban cul-de-sacs.

The houses were planned with front porches and steeply pitched roofs in an effort to blend them into the community.

Hill's subdivisions in Carroll County include North Carroll Farms and Roberts Field in Hampstead, Furnace Hills in Westminster and several in South Carroll.

Woodhaven Building & Development reported $5.1 million in sales in 1995.

Pub Date: 8/29/96

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