Ellicott City panel could decide fate of Fels Lane plan Nov. 23 Final testimony heard from developer, opponents

November 10, 1998|By Alice Lukens | Alice Lukens,SUN STAFF

Ellicott City's Historic District Commission will discuss the fate of a controversial proposal to build 27 townhouses along Ellicott City's Fels Lane at a working session scheduled for 3 p.m. Nov. 23.

A vote is possible then, Steve Bockmiller, the commission's administrative assistant in the county Office of Planning and Zoning, said yesterday.

At a meeting Thursday night, the commission took final testimony from the developer, Michael Pfau, and from about 10 Ellicott City residents who oppose the proposed development because they believe it would destroy the character of the historic district, Bockmiller said.

The zoning would allow for townhouses, but the project must also receive the approval of the Historic District Commission, which reviews proposals to make sure they won't detract from their historic surroundings.

Pfau, president of Trinity Homes Inc., wants to build the houses on about 6 acres of a 7.25-acre lot across from the Roger Carter Recreation Center. One 70-year-old stone structure -- converted into an apartment building -- is on the lot, surrounded by woods and a stream.

Critics of the project worry that the townhouses would be visible from Main Street in Historic Ellicott City, cause parking problems and mar the flavor of the historic district.

"The issue is just the bulk size of it," said Sally Bright, a community activist who has lived in Ellicott City 35 years. " We think it's too big. We think it's going to affect the integrity of the historic district."

But Pfau has said that his proposed development of homes with facades of granite and wood would be "very quaint" and "quite pretty." He said he plans to plant trees to block the view of the townhouses from Main Street. "I want kind of a homey, 'villagey' type feeling with the trees and the natural setting," he said.

Bright isn't convinced. "It's bulky, it's improper materials, it's totally out of character. We feel that this beautiful piece of property deserves better," she said.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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