Board recommends mixed-use project Proposal may not get final approval until the end of year

June 02, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of a preliminary development plan last night for a 507-acre mixed-use community in Fulton.

But the proposal will not be approved without a review by the County Council, and that may not happen until the end of the year.

The Planning Board's vote clears the way for the Zoning Board -- which consists of County Council members -- to examine the project.

But that review may be delayed because the council has only eight weeks to review new cases before it takes its vacation during August.

Richard Talkin, an attorney representing G&R Maple Lawn Inc., which is seeking permission to develop the Columbia-style village, said the developer needs to schedule a hearing date before August. He said that after August the council cannot schedule any zoning hearings until after the general election in November.

"We would certainly like to have it done before that," Talkin said.

The Fulton site, which is made up of nine parcels, is the third and final mixed-use project proposed for the southeastern corner of the county.

The other two, the 42-acre Cherrytree Park in Scaggsville and the 516-acre Rouse Co. proposal in North Laurel, are also in the planning stages.

Last night, the five-member Planning Board and about 75 residents listened as Talkin and Stewart J. Greenebaum, chairman of Baltimore-based Greenebaum & Rose Associates, outlined the preliminary development plan for the Fulton site. The site is west of U.S. 29 and is bounded by Johns Hopkins Road to the north and Route 216 to the south.

The project calls for the construction of 495 single-family detached houses, 437 townhouses and 236 condominiums on 253 acres.

The proposal also includes the development of 1.17 million square feet of employment space on 77 acres, and another 177 acres of open space.

The employment space, in the southeastern corner of the property, is expected to generate 4,396 full-time jobs..

While many of the board members applauded the concept, some questioned why there were no moderately priced units in the plan.

"I'm very concerned that there is no opportunity for people making $40,000 a year to live at these places," said Planning Board member Joan Lancos. "No one sent me a letter saying that Howard County has raised its drawbridge and isn't allowing people in."

Greenebaum reminded the board that the density of homes falls short of the requirement that would mandate that at least 5 percent of the homes be moderately priced.

Anne Darr, who chairs the growth and planning committee for the Fulton Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, said the project also would generate an estimated 527 students and overwhelm the local public school system.

"School funding in Howard County often lags behind the growth," Darr said. "If we can't afford the schools required by growth, then perhaps it is time to pace the growth to our ability to fund schools."

Pub Date: 6/02/98

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