Developer revives housing proposal Number of units in town expected to more than double

May 24, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Plans for the first subdivision in Union Bridge since World War II have been revived after two years in a proposal submitted to the town planning commission.

Woodhaven Building & Development Inc., owned by Manchester developer Martin K.P. Hill, made some changes in the initial concept plan for the 120-acre tract approved by the town commission in 1995.

The subdivision, originally named Locust Grove, is now called Jackson Ridge. Plans call for 267 single-family houses and 80 multifamily houses -- about the same number as proposed in the initial concept plan.

Towson dentist G. Jackson Phillips' effort to develop his property on Route 75 and Bark Hill Road will change the face of Union Bridge, which has about 1,000 residents. Woodhaven is the developer and contract purchaser of the Phillips property.

When completed, the development would more than double the 157 housing units reported in the 1990 census of the northwest Carroll town.

"We're just really, really at the beginning stage," said Karen L. Kotarski, Town Council liaison to the planning commission.

In his proposal, Hill eliminated straight streets that intersected on a grid, designed by Baltimore town planner and engineer David S. Thaler as a way to blend the subdivision into the community. The new sketch shows cul-de-sacs branching into major streets, a more typical subdivision layout.

The new sketch changes Thaler's concept of a traditional village green or commons. It shows, in separate areas, a pavilion and concert stage, picnic gazebo and playground.

The Jackson Ridge plan is similar to the approved plan in providing for a linear park and a mix of single-family and multifamily housing, said James L. Schumacher, planning commission chairman and a town consultant.

Town officials are receptive to the new concept sketch, but said they plan to spend three or four months reviewing it.

Commercial areas include space for a restaurant and convenience centers with conventional parking lots, a departure from Thaler's plan to have retail buildings set on the street, with parking at the rear.

Hill has proposed building 163 more housing units than are allowed under a state Department of the Environment water allocation. The subdivision must provide enough well water to meet residents' needs.

Schumacher said the developer plans to abide by the MDE restriction.

A town ordinance requires the developer to design houses that are architecturally similar to the existing homes in Union Bridge, which has some lovingly restored Victorian and Greek-revival houses among the 70 percent of its housing stock that is more than 50 years old.

"He has to submit architectural drawings that conform to the style of the old houses with roof designs and pitches and facades and materials that have to blend in," Schumacher said.

Planning commission member William M. Steele said he wants to see the development harmonize with existing houses in Union Bridge.

"I liked the look of it when it was presented to the commission," he said.

But he expressed concern about having individual driveways opening directly onto Bark Hill Road.

Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr.'s initial reaction is favorable.

"Overall, it looks good," he said. "The town could use a nice restaurant."

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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