Developer is moving forward

Mixed-use plan set for Zoning Board hearing next week

Opponents seek delay

Greenebaum argues for positive impact of 507-acre project

June 16, 1999|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

Plans to develop one of the largest mixed-used communities in Howard County since the founding of Columbia will move forward, despite a breakdown last week in negotiations between the developer and the community.

Stewart G. Greenebaum said yesterday that he will make the case before the Howard County Zoning Board next week that the mixed-use development he proposes on the site of a 507-acre turkey farm in Fulton would have a positive impact on the county and the state.

"What we're planning on doing will be very significant for Howard County," Greene-baum said at a news conference at his Pikesville office. "We are planning to attract high-skilled, high-quality businesses to the area and a diversity of housing types."

Greenebaum and his associates say that for the past few years, they have been forming strategies on the best way to build a community that would bring together business, social and residential life.

Using topographic maps and slides, they will argue before the Zoning Board on June 23 that the mixed-used development would be an economic boost for the county and would become a model for a sustainable community.

Greenebaum plans to build high-rise commercial buildings in an office park that he says would attract internationally known businesses to Howard. He said employees will want to live close to work and are likely to choose one of the 1,168 units he plans to build, including single-family houses, townhouses, condominiums, cottages and apartments.

"If we are successful at attracting the kind of people we want, and I think we will be, as much as 50 percent of the traffic will stay internally," he said. "People will be able to walk to work in five minutes. We will have a network of interconnected streets."

Fulton residents who oppose Greenebaum's plan have doubts. They are convinced, they say, that the influx of new residents into the area would crowd Fulton Elementary School and burden roads, especially because two other projects -- Cherrytree Park in Scaggsville and a Rouse Co. development in North Laurel -- are to be built three miles away.

"This is exactly what they said about traffic in Columbia," said resident Nancy Davis. "In theory, it's a wonderful idea, but in practice it doesn't always work."

In a newsletter sent to residents last week, the Greater Beaufort Park Citizens Association said its goals are to "defer the Fulton [mixed-use development] indefinitely or to delay it until concerns about road and school capacities are addressed, while advocating for substantial improvements in the design, if and when it is approved."

Greenebaum said he and the community were close to an agreement last week, but the talks failed when John Breitenberg, a lawyer for the community, urged the developer to request a delay.

"The thing they want most is to delay," said Greenebaum, "and we sincerely hope that the hearing is not delayed."

Some Fulton residents have asked county Councilwoman Mary C. Lorsung, chairwoman of the Zoning Board, to delay the hearing because many area residents, including Breitenberg, plan to attend a county General Plan Task Force meeting the night the Zoning Board hearing is scheduled.

Lorsung, a Columbia Democrat, said she will not postpone it. Protesters at the hearing could ask the board to vote on a delay.

"What I would like to see happen is if everyone could sit down and see if there is a way to reasonably accommodate both parties," county Councilman Guy J. Guzzone, a North Laurel Democrat, said yesterday.

Greenebaum said his proposal, which was approved by the Planning Board last year, is being targeted unfairly.

"There are people who have said, `We don't want this in our back yard, but it's OK if you put it in someone else's back yard,' " Greenebaum said. "It's been a bit of a civil war, but we're absolutely trying to do the right thing. I have an obligation to do the best job possible for the residents and for myself."

Pub Date: 6/16/99

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