Development to hurt 'valley,' official says Landmarks chairwoman opposes Bridle Ridge plan

March 21, 1997|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

The residential development proposed for St. Timothy's School campus would not be an asset to the neighborhood, the chairwoman of the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission told the county planning board last night.

"It's the opinion of the landmarks commission that the impact of the development, in toto, is extremely adverse to the valley," Ruth Mascari told planning board members during a discussion of the 63-home development, to be known as Bridle Ridge.

Mascari's comment was the first official opposition to the project that has for more than a year pitted the 115-year-old girls school in the Green Spring Valley against its affluent neighbors, who have organized as the Coalition to Preserve the Valleys From St. Timothy's Bridle Ridge Development.

The boarding and day high school plans to sell the land to raise money for its endowment. The school will not develop the property, but is putting together a development plan before selling the land.

Beginning April 23, a county hearing officer will hear testimony on the school's plan for the development, which would spread over 75 acres along the southern and western edges of the campus. The hearing officer will rule on its suitability. That decision can be appealed.

In January, at the urging of opponents, the landmarks commission agreed to list the main school building, known as Carter House, as historically significant, which restricts how the property around it may be developed.

Last month, the commission listed five more structures, including a stone bridge and gates and the headquarters of the Irvine Nature Center, which is on the 234-acre campus.

Yesterday, the planning board -- which has taken no position on the project -- considered the proposed development's impact on these six structures, all on the opposite end of the campus from the proposed homesites.

The board said that, if the development went forward, the developer would have to plant a buffer of trees large enough to create a screen between the backs of several lots and the historic buildings. It also said only one of a stand of trees along Greenspring Avenue could be removed for construction and installation of utility lines.

The board also said it would support a waiver of the road-widening standards that would normally accompany such a development.

Keeping Greenspring Avenue a scenic two-lane road is preferable to any traffic advantages that would result from a wider road, county planners said.

The school's lawyer, Scott Barhight, acknowledged that the community's attempts to stop or modify the development have added months to the process, but added that the school was within its strategic plan.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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