The Howard County Board of Appeals yesterday denied a petition from residents of Ellicott City's Gaither Farm community that challenged a county decision to permit construction of an upscale development reachable only by driving through their neighborhood.
Three of the five board members voted to deny the petition; two were absent.
In May, the county school board rejected the Gaither Farm Homeowners' Association's request for a second access road, which would cut through school system headquarters property.
Under the preliminary plan approved by the county Department of Planning and Zoning, the only access road to the proposed Gaither Overlook development would be from Gaither Farm Road. The 1 1/2 -mile road would end at the back of the new development.
"I can sympathize with the homeowners," said board member James Pfefferkorn. "But it is a county road, and I don't think [the planning department] did that arbitrarily."
Pfefferkorn, Evelyn L. Tanner and George L. Layman, who chairs the board, voted against the petition. Members Donald Messenger and Jerry Rushing were absent.
Residents of Gaither Farm have said they are concerned about the extra traffic that new homes would bring, particularly if the only access to the proposed Gaither Overlook is via Gaither Farm Road.
They wanted the school board to allow a road to be built from the school headquarters parking lot to the new development, which would require a traffic light at Route 108.
But school board members said they did not want to give up the land without being paid for it. They also said they worried the road might jeopardize any future school system construction plans.
The proposed development -- formerly known as Fox Field Estates and now as Gaither Overlook -- would include about 70 homes on a 160-acre parcel behind the school system's headquarters on Route 108, between the Gaither Farm and Manor Lane communities.
The homes would be built on 1-acre lots with wells and septic systems. The first to be built would be put on the market next spring and sell for $350,000 to $450,000 each.
Pub Date: 7/30/97