Zoning Board OKs mixed-use village in Scaggsville Cherrytree Park to have homes, commercial space at U.S. 29, Route 216

July 30, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

On the heels of approving a mixed-use village in North Laurel, the Howard County Zoning Board endorsed a similar, though much smaller, project yesterday in nearby Scaggsville.

The board, made up of County Council members, voted 5-0 during an early-evening work session to approve the preliminary development plan for Cherrytree Park, which had been on hold since it was sent back for revisions by the board in October 1996.

"I thought that the plan that came back is very responsive," said board member Dennis R. Schrader. "In terms of last year's version, I'm very pleased with this one."

The plan outlined by Canton Builders and Winchester Homes, developers of the Cherrytree project, reduced the number of housing units from 252 to 171 single-family homes and condominiums -- 17 designated for moderate-income buyers.

It also called for 212,102 square feet of commercial space and 13.9 acres of open space on 42.4 acres at the southeast corner of U.S. 29 and Route 216.

Last month, the board approved a plan for a Rouse Co. development that would have 1,201 residential units, 89 acres of commercial space and 182 acres of open space on 516 acres straddling Interstate 95.

"I think the saving factor for this site is that it is a small site," board member Mary C. Lorsung said of Cherrytree Park. "The total time for development is not expected to be a 10- or 15-year process."

When the first draft stalled nearly 22 months ago, board member Darrel E. Drown said 252 units would be too many for the site. Yesterday, Drown tried to persuade his colleagues to reduce the number of homes to 150 but was unsuccessful.

Board member C. Vernon Gray expressed concern over the project's impact on the local road network.

"You're going to have a backup at Routes 216 and 29," he warned.

But the most contentious point during yesterday's work session was the phasing of the residential and commercial portions of the village.

Although county law permits developers to build up to 50 percent of the residences before constructing the employment sections, Schrader said he did not want to see the developer focus entirely on the residential portion.

"My biggest concern is that they get all these houses and forget about the commercial," he said. "Then they'll come in for a rezoning and all of a sudden, we never get the commercial."

The developers have proposed office buildings, a day care center, a bank and a service station with a convenience store.

The board members praised the development's blend of city-grid street patterns with suburban cul-de-sacs, the inclusion of two community parks and the focal point of a fountain and gazebos.

Robert Levan, an attorney representing the developers, said he was "delighted" with the board's decision.

"We put together a good plan," Levan said. "The fact that the board approved it without attaching amendments to the plan proves that the board members have confidence in us."

Pub Date: 7/30/98

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