Residents react to plans for 27 new homes

December 23, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The odd folks out.

That's what residents on one Ellicott City street became when the Howard County Planning Board granted a developer -- one of their neighbors -- permission last week to build 27 homes.

The plan by landowner Timothy E. Welsh, who lives off Parrot Drive in the Font Hill community, calls for new homes on 13 acres off Parrot Drive and Timberknoll Lane and backing onto Springfield Drive.

Residents along Parrot Drive and Timberknoll Lane quickly hired attorneys to fend off the development, which they complained was too densely packed. After weeks of wrangling, the residents and Welsh penned a deal giving them what they wanted: fewer homes on Parrot Drive and larger homes on Timberknoll Lane.

But residents on Springfield Drive, who didn't retain an attorney until the last hearing Thursday, complained that the written agreements their neighbors made with Welsh pushed the brunt of the construction closer to their street and threatened a forested area.

They walked away from the hearing with only encouragement from board member Joan Lancos to work out a settlement with Welsh that would create a 50-foot buffer between the homes on the street and the new ones.

Ten houses will be built on Springfield Drive, three on Parrot Drive and 14 on Timberknoll Lane. Timberknoll residents worked out an arrangement under which the homes will be at least 2,500 square feet. Residents resisted the original plan's smaller homes and smaller lots in the community with only half-acre lots.

"The last people to hire an attorney appear to be getting the short end of the stick," Lancos said of the Springfield Drive residents' last-ditch effort to influence the plan. "We all have to give a little somewhere. It's not exactly fair, but it's a reality."

Pub Date: 12/23/96

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