School system, landowners settle on price for Glenelg property

September 17, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

The Howard County school system and owners of land near the intersection of Triadelphia and Folly Quarter roads in Glenelg have settled on a price for the property, clearing a major hurdle for the construction of two new schools there.

But a group of residents opposing using the 78-acre site for new schools still has an appeal pending with the State Board of Education.

The school system's settlement with Howard Hunt Properties Inc. and the Howard County Iron Bridge Hounds Inc. averts a potential trial over whether the school board could take the land through eminent domain -- seizure by government for public use -- and what price the board would have to pay.

The board initially offered about $14,000 an acre, and the owners argued that it was worth more than $20,000 an acre, according to court records. The final price was $16,250 per acre -- or about $1.3 million for the entire site, said Sydney L. Cousin, Howard's associate superintendent for finance and operations.

"I had hoped for more, because it is worth more," said J. Thomas Scrivener, president of the hounds club. The group settled for the lower price because the cost and time of a trial would have been more than money gained from a higher price.

The group plans to use the money from the sale of the land to buy between 50 and 100 acres of a property on Windsor Forest Road, near Mount Airy and next to the Patuxent River State Park.

The settlement also gives the club $6,500 and allows it to board foxhounds and horses on the property until March 31, giving it time to move to the new site.

The school system plans to begin construction by April, said Bill Grau, the school system's site planner. An elementary school is expected to open on the site in 1998, and a middle school is to be added there five years later.

But the group of neighboring residents upset by the construction plans isn't giving up its fight. They argue that the school board didn't consider neighborhood concerns -- including traffic and environmental hazards -- in choosing the site.

Yesterday, the group mailed to the state school board a response to the school system's motion for a summary dismissal of the protest, said Jim Borkowski, a leader of the group, who lives nearby on Maryvale Court in the Second Discovery subdivision.

The state board has not set a date for a hearing. But the state board has never overturned a decision by the Howard board.

Even if the Howard board wins the appeal, school officials pledge they will work with the opposition group during construction of the new schools to try to alleviate its concerns. "We want to be a good neighbor," Cousin said.

Pub Date: 9/17/96

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