Zoning panel to decide on Rouse plan Developer proposes 1,201 housing units in mixed-use village

'An effective compromise'

Columbia-style idea one of two projects before county boards

June 01, 1998|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Zoning Board is expected to announce a decision tomorrow night on the Rouse Co.'s revised plan to build a 516-acre Columbia-style village in North Laurel.

Members of the Planning Board will meet tonight to review a preliminary proposal for another large mixed-use development planned for the 800-acre Iager Farm and Maple Lawn Farms in nearby Fulton.

Together, the developments could have a major impact on the area around North Laurel and throughout southern Howard County.

Tomorrow's work session will likely culminate months of contentious hearings and complaints from nearby residents over the Rouse Co.'s ambitious project.

Two months ago, Rouse Co. officials retooled their project according to specifications set by the Zoning Board, which was concerned about housing density in the development.

The new version of the preliminary development plan calls for fewer homes and more commercial space.

Details of the plan were discussed last week during a Zoning Board public hearing where lawyers for the company and area residents exchanged questions and concerns about the project.

Alton J. Scavo, senior vice president of Rouse, said the plan would reduce the number of residential units from 1,395 to 1,201, eliminating 245 single-family homes but increasing the number of townhouses by 51.

The new blueprint almost doubles the commercial space from 89 acres to 155 and positions those areas along Interstate 95 and adjacent to the Maryland-Virginia Milk Producers Co-op on the western edge of the property.

Area resident Michael Radcliffe called the Rouse Co.'s revised plan "reasonable."

"In the end, it's an effective compromise," Radcliffe said during last week's Zoning Board meeting. "I don't think Howard County residents are ready for the kind of complete mixing that I would like to see where you have commercial, retail and residential all on the same street.

"But given the general nature of suburban development and what suburban dwellers like to see, this is a good plan," he said.

Many of the questions posed by Thomas Dernoga, an attorney representing the Southern Howard Land Use Committee, concerned better integration of residential and commercial areas the proposed site.

Developers from Greenebaum & Rose Associates are expected to further discuss their preliminary development plan with the Planning Board tonight by outlining the details for Iager Farm and Maple Lawn Farms in Fulton.

Tonight's meeting between the developer and Fulton residents will no doubt raise more questions about the huge project. Community activists have been concerned about its impact.

Howard County officials and residents have long expected the Iager farm to be developed, and the area has been zoned for residential, commercial and retail space. One hundred acres in the area have been bought by the county school system for elementary, middle and high schools.

VTC According to the plan, 36 percent of the land would be used for single-family detached homes, almost 14 percent would be used for other residential units and a little more than 15 percent would be used for employment centers.

L At least 35 percent of the land would be used as open space.

Maple Lawn Farms, a working farm owned by the Iager family and which produces about 20,000 turkeys a year, is the largest piece of the land and occupies the first 470 acres of the project.

Pub Date: 6/01/98

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