Officials voice few complaints on revised Waugh Chapel plan

March 21, 1997|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

County planners and state officials voiced few complaints yesterday about revised plans for the 71-acre Village at Waugh Chapel in Gambrills.

Two months ago, the county sent the developer back to the drawing board to make what they called the "glorified strip shopping center" more exceptional.

Sturbridge Development Co. tried to do that by replacing a movie theater with a recreation complex, creating a main-street-style shopping area, clustering small buildings and adding more wide, landscaped walkways. A senior housing complex, a pond and restaurants are now included in the first project proposed under a zoning law that calls for mixed use on a parcel and allows the community a say in the design.

Some of the officials who asked for extensive changes said this time that their remaining concerns were small and could be worked out in the final designs and during the special exception process.

Associates working with developer Robert DeStefano were pleased. "I think that we listened to the county, and we are responding to the things they wanted," said John S. Pantelides, vice president of Sturbridge, DeStefano's company. "We feel really positive about it."

One sticking point may be the state's plans for Route 3 on the eastern edge of the parcel.

The State Highway Administration may eventually limit access to the congested artery by closing two entrances to the center and adding a parallel service roadway, said Mark Redmond, an SHA area engineer.

Developers knew they might lose the entrances but were surprised to learn about the service road, said Robert J. DiAiso, president and chief executive officer of the Tech Group Inc., project engineers. A service road could generate more strip development in the area, he said.

The developer also was faulted for planning to cut down too many trees. The plan calls for preserving 5 acres of forest, but county zoning law requires at least 10.45 acres, and the suburban community center legislation calls for "environmental sensitivity," Chalkley said.

Developers say many trees will be lost because of the county's request for a pond and movement of the office complex to the western edge of the parcel.

A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for March 31. Steven R. Cover, director of planning and code enforcement, will then decide whether to reject the project, ask for more changes or let it move to the planning stage.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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