Residents of Wilde Lake worry over traffic at proposed complex County planning panel to consider approval of 300-unit project tomorrow

November 20, 1996|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

An article in yesterday's Howard County edition of The Sun incorrectly characterized an action to be considered today by the Howard County Planning Board. The board will consider approving the land-use guidelines for a proposed apartment and condominium development in Columbia's Town Center.

The Sun regrets the error.

Broken Land Parkway and Twin Rivers Road will be extended to surround a proposed upscale apartment and condominium complex in west Columbia's Town Center, but residents of adjacent Wilde Lake village are worried that traffic will increase as a result.

At a presentation Thursday at Wilde Lake's Slayton House by architects and planners of the 300-plus-unit development, residents said they were concerned that added cars would make already busy roadways more treacherous.


Tomorrow, the Howard County Planning Board will consider final approval for the development, first proposed about a year ago.

Residents had other concerns -- among them, the development's gated parking lots, its enclosure by hedges and the undecided fate of a popular walking path between Wilde Lake and The Mall in Columbia. But most said they generally support it.

"I would welcome this project," said Dave Gardner, chairman of the Wilde Lake Village Board. "It's healthy to have growth in Columbia."

The complex was part of Columbia's original plan nearly 30 years ago, said David Forester, development director of the Rouse Co.

If approved, it would be built immediately west of the mall in a 17-acre triangle bounded by Broken Land Parkway, Twin Rivers Road and Governor Warfield Parkway.

Longtime Wilde Lake residents said they hoped the estimated 400 newcomers -- likely to be affluent single people and couples without children -- would help revitalize the ailing center of Columbia's oldest village.

Rents would run $800 to $1,200, and condominiums would cost about $120,000 and up, the developers, the Bozzuto Group, said.

Construction likely would begin in the spring and last about 15 months, said Richard L. Boales, vice president of development at Bozzuto.

Some residents are worried that the project's gated parking and surrounding hedge contradict Columbia's long-standing ethos of neighborly bonding and inclusion.

But developers emphasized that these are crucial elements to the plan because of its location at the crossroads of three of the town's most-traveled roads.

"We want to create an edge," Boales said. "This will be an environment that people will like even though they will live relatively near to busy streets."

Residents also are worried that the gates and surrounding shrubbery would keep them from using a popular walking path between Wilde Lake village and the mall.

Although Forester said the path likely would be rerouted onto lighted, paved sidewalks around the new complex, an architect designing the condominiums in the complex said the issue had not been settled.

"We haven't really decided how to mingle [the existing path] with the fact that there will be people living there," said Jennifer Callanan of the Ryland Group.

Last, residents were concerned about the proposed removal of a cluster of trees from the median of Twin Rivers Road at Governor Warfield for a new turn lane.

Developers said there is not enough space to keep the trees and install the turn lane, which is needed to help ease traffic congestion.

Another dense section of trees -- farther north on Governor Warfield, between Twin Rivers and Little Patuxent Parkway -- would be untouched, the developers said.

Pub Date: 11/20/96

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