Plan for 800-acre community expected 'soon' Proposed development in Fulton draws concern about its impact

March 11, 1998|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

Developers of a proposed 800-acre Columbia-style community in Fulton hope to file a plan with the Howard County Planning Board "sometime soon," according to an attorney representing the firm.

Columbia attorney Richard B. Talkin said this week that developers from the Baltimore-based Greenebaum & Rose Associates have had at least six meetings with Fulton residents to discuss details of the huge project that could double the area's population.

The meetings are the first step toward filing a formal preliminary development plan with the Howard Planning Board. Talkin wouldn't provide more details.

About 80 residents attended the last meeting, held Feb. 28 at Fulton Elementary School.

The project eventually would include 2,000 homes just west of U.S. 29, between Route 216 and Johns Hopkins Road. The first 470 acres of the project -- and the largest piece of land -- is Maple Lawn Farms, a turkey farm owned by Eugene and Charles Iager.

The county has long expected the farm to be developed and has zoned the area for mixed use. The county school system has bought 100 acres in the area for elementary, middle and high schools.

County planners have been touting the mixed-use concept as the best way to maximize the decreasing land available for development in the county.

But community activists have been concerned that such a development would double the area's population and overwhelm the existing infrastructure.

Peter J. Oswald, president of the Greater Beaufort Park Citizens Association in Fulton and a slow-growth advocate, said residents want to minimize the impact the project would have on the community.

"People didn't move into this area expecting it to become high density," he said.

According to Oswald, representatives from Greenebaum & Rose have not offered specific assurances to residents about the impact the proposed development would have on the region's services.

The Fulton project might not become as controversial as the Rouse Co.'s plans to build a 1,400-home community on 517 acres in North Laurel, a few miles from Fulton.

But if both projects are built, they would bring a housing boom to southern Howard, raising concerns among homeowners and local politicians about the high cost of development and whether more growth controls are needed.

Pub Date: 3/10/98

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